Double click! Double click! Double click!
“Such beautiful fabrics.” Said Pallavi.
A boutique owner in posh Greater Kailash pocket 1, Pallavi Bansal was in her mid-forties. She was fine-looking woman, slightly plump, and full of bling in her clothes, and in her jewellery. She loved decking up.
She was wife of Mr. Pramod Bansal, owner of Bansal & Sons. Based in the industrial area of Ghaziabad, the company dealt in gear shafts and EOT cranes. Bansals were all about getting orders, delivering orders, marrying off daughters with grand weddings and executing Jagran once a year during Navratri.
All Bansals in the family had similar built up – short height, dusky, signature Baniya belly, and shrewd eyes well blended with money mindedness. Life of Bansals was like this. Pallavi was nothing different but just that there was a sudden wave of empowerment hitting her. Ever since she got married at 19, she never thought of doing anything constructive other than laying 2 kids. Now in 20s, her son and daughter were pursuing higher studies. Life of Pallavi was sorted.
But, time was no more getting killed on its own. Neither was Pallavi having any job. She never had any. Guess she never pursued any degree after intermediate. She had the best of her life before and after marriage.
Renaissance then! Sudden rush of authorization!
Thus came Bhabiji’s Boutique – Designer Wear an year ago. Meticulously procured from different parts of North India, Pallavi got the best fabrics she could assemble. Fluorescent coloured walls were echoing potential of the boutique. Mannequins were set up, Saint Gobain glasses were put, designs and prints of all choices were installed in a queue like they waited for someone. Chotu was hired to put a full stop to all the preparations. He was specifically asked to wear an inch tape around his neck to make ‘always-ready-to-measure’ feel. A 22 year old boy, Chotu worked previously in Shahpur Jaat for a wedding themed boutique. Thin boy with beard growing irregularly, Chotu had two pairs of shirts and pants and three t-shirts but a fancy Chinese smartphone.
He was a caretaker cum local designer cum masterji cum client persuader cum everything after Pallavi at Bhabiji’s.
Clientele was limited but seemed glossy. A handful was seen during the house warming ceremony and for a few months after that. Some high-class women did come who were fancied temporarily and bought a few cloth pieces. Mr. Bansal and the kin were last seen at the boutique some months ago. Daughter had made a Facebook page, a Twitter account and an Instagram profile. Needful was done.
“What did you find now?” Asked Chotu while tracking flies during his customary cleaning process.
“These young fashion bloggers I tell you. They wear all dresses. Lot of old world charm coming up.” Said a swooned Pallavi while fiddling with her Instagram account on iPhone.
Just when both were talking on recent fashion trends emerging on Instagram, a classy lady entered Bhabiji’s with her Gucci’s first copy bag. She was fat, fair and fake. She entered like a gush of heavy water and quickly submerged in the apparels that hanged in line.
Adjusting her pearls, Pallavi gestured Chotu to go after her. Chotu wore his inch tape hurriedly and decided to transform into a guide. Pallavi pretended to be busy while she wasn’t at all.
“Yes! Madamji, how can I help you?” Inquired Chotu.
“Umm! Something for a wedding?” Answered the lady.
“Oh yes! We have just got a new collection for the upcoming wedding season. Florescent is in.” Guiding light Chotu was in his full form.
“Oh 5K, pretty economical. I got some stuff from my last UK trip. Spent a fortune.” Said the lady while reading the price tag.
“Han. Mehenga hoga. Hmm.” Murmured Chotu analysing the names she mentioned.
The fair and fake lady toyed with the fabrics with no intention of buying. Pallavi observed everything in utter and helpless silence. Chotu walked behind the lady like an innocent pup.
Pallavi suggested, “Did you find us on Instagram? We have our account and we keep showcasing our latest collection. I have been so busy with my clients all this while, I couldn’t share our Kalamkari products. You see, clients keep buzzing me for my supreme quality material.”
The lady nodded in affirmation and continued walking.
Just when the fair and fake lady zeroed-in on an orange colour cloth material, her phone buzzed. She picked the call and said, “Oh! You have come. Yes, yes, Bhabiji’s is the landmark. I am coming out.”
She left in hurriedness and the orange fabric lay as it is.
“Oh not again!” Responded Chotu in a disappointment.
Life at Bhabiji’s was this – minimalistic visitors and rare clients. Pallavi was putting her relentless efforts in finding the most preferred assortment of fabrics and apparels of different designs. She handpicked ‘stuff’ as she often addressed the material like that. To accelerate the engine of sale, she did everything:
Home delivery service
Cloth material of all prints
Chotu did the rest. He did the cajoling part.
Pallavi was super social, she knew how to brag her outlet and she least understood how it got the reception. She often strategized with Chotu on how beautiful she could make her outlet or do something with the mannequins. And like that, her day used to end in Bhabiji’s with just words of wisdom.
It was just another day at Bhabiji’s and the ever seemingly busy Pallavi arrived at her boutique.
“You got hurt again Madamji.” Inquired concerned Chotu.
“Oh! I tripped at the edge of the door.” Answered Pallavi, while trying to hide her wound in the right toe.
“Acha!” Curious yet calm Chotu answered.
The day passed by in aimlessly roaming around the boutique. Chotu cleaned the place at regular intervals and brought food for himself and Pallavi.
The day ended just like another day. Nothing in glory! No clients! And thus, no show.
Another day arrived.
Another bruise appeared and this time way more noticeable.
“Madamji, where did you trip today?” Asked Chotu.
“Don’t ask. I didn’t realise while walking. there was a stool in front. I tripped and fell flat. Got hurt in the forehead.” Explained Pallavi while sorting the packets of her new fabrics.
“I see.” Chotu retorted in slight anxiety.
Just when the conversation was going ahead, a young and pretty woman entered.
Sunglasses and make-up laden, the woman was assisted with someone, may be that was her sister.
“I am getting hitched in a matter of week. Bought nothing. I want to buy some stuff quickly, enough to manage the ceremonies.” Said the young girl while looking around.
Delights and smiles could be seen on the faces of Chotu and Pallavi. Both looked seemingly ecstatic as if flowers had blossomed on a barren land. How glorious life looked now!
Without wasting anymore time, Chotu got seats for the guests. Pallavi sat with her notepad on the things they needed. Bhabiji’s was never this busy.
“Let me get you something from our Patt silk collection.” Pallavi said as she got up and moved towards the shelves dedicated to silk.
The phone buzzed.
“Chotu, pick the phone. Your sahab must have called, tell him I am busy.” Pallavi commanded as she continued shuffling the sarees.
Chotu touched the call button and even before he could say “Hello”, there came a loud reply:
“Repay the loan I have given you for your stupid boutique. No profits ever since you have opened. If one more time you ask for money, I will beat you black and blue just like yesterday. Hope you haven’t forgotten? Stay at home, I say.” The brash call got cut instantly.
Just a few eye conversations at Bhabiji’s and nothing more.