materialism

Inspired by Mulk Raj Anand.

Midnight.

The festivities continued. I find myself lurking in the nooks and crannies of the recently constructed temporary bazaars, covered in vibrant layers of cloth, translucent enough for the painful bright light to pass through and tint the floors with various hues.

The smell of sweet paan curls into my nostrils, I feel the warmth of the steam let off by a huge utensil, into which a thick layer of condensed milk and chai leaves are stirred vigorously by a bony old man, with skin like tissues.

There’s a vendor, exhausted from attempting to hypnotize his foreign customers with wooden toys he bought off a young boy on the street. ‘Specially carved by the greatest of our sculptors in Rajasthan’ he says.

Truth is, they were made in a Chinese factory.

I walk towards the food counter, and all I see is a menu full of bland sandwiches and ‘Lays’.

I walk further away from the stall and find myself going towards the Lucky Draw counter.

‘Ah medam! You’ve won a beautiful doll!’

It’s a blonde, blue eyed, pink dressed barbie with ‘Amy’ written on it.

Disgusted, I give the gift to the young girl standing eagerly in the corner, in her only brightly coloured purple dress, the fire in her eyes when she grabs the doll does not comfort me.

A women shrieks ‘it’s the perfect gift for her, So modern!’

It’s some wonky strappy dress made of the worst material I’ve ever seen.

I walk further away from this fare, or bazaar, or whatever you’d like to call it.

I walk up to the beaming, gloating fat man standing at the entrance of the bazaar with gold rings on his fingers and a stupid foreign flag pin on his silk buttoned shirt.

‘They’ve done it again haven’t they. Stripped off all our cultural pride.

we’re fools.’

-J

 

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The more the better my love.

With her forearm she gently pushed away the pile of clutter on her desk and placed another intricately carved pencil case. Plucking a tissue from the box of her Premier special face tissues she rubbed her case and blew through the carvings, ensuring that each nook and cranny was rubbed to perfection. She then pulled out a random selection of pencils from her glittery pencil stand and released them in the circular carved wooden platform. It was midnight, she ran her fingers through her long deep brown hair, gathering the strands towards the back of her head and tightened it together with a black band. She then walked towards her long mirrored cupboard, and found her hands fumbling through the cupboard door to pull out a lipstick. She glossed her lips with a deep violet and smacked them together and gave herself half a smile. She draped herself in a soft satin printed kaftan she brought from the streets of Fort Kochi Beach, and sat cross legged on her bed. A cup of green tea in one hand, and a cube of dark chocolate in the other. She took a deep breath, as she tried to find her calm and satisfaction amidst the chaos. And began wondering what else there was that needed change.