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Confessions Of A Shopaholic

By Namrata Sehgal

shopping addiction
“How about that green shoe?”
“How much did you say that tee costs?”
“I think I’ll take that neon pink bag.”
“So, here’s three hundred bucks. I’m not giving a penny more for those flip-flops.”

Even with only a couple of thousand bucks in my sling bag, I felt like the Queen of all that I laid my eyes upon. A pair of moss-green shoes, transparent fibre flip-flops, a neon pink saddle bag, an embossed Homer Simpson tee in burnished rose, and a fabulous Gucci knockoff in patent black leather; I felt like I had bought everything that I had craved. But had I actually craved it? The question had started to buzz in my head long after the euphoria of my purchases had worn off.
 
shopaholicMy monthly budget was in tatters and my allowance had dwindled down to loose change clanging merrily inside my pocket. I hadn’t actually ‘planned’ on buying all that stuff. I wasn’t even in the mood to go to the market. I doubted if I would ever carry the garishly pink bag, or wear the green shoes. They just didn’t match with anything I had. Wait. I could buy myself a green outfit that would complement the shoes. Oh! And I could also get myself a similarly hued pair of pink ballerinas which when worn with classic blue jeans and a white shirt would also afford some class to the bag.
 
I was getting carried away. Carried away by the mere thought of shopping. And this wasn’t the first time that this was happening to me. No, it wasn’t even the last. I have been struggling with this ‘addiction’ for nearly eight years now. I know the exact duration because it was the precise moment when I realised that I had the freedom to buy whatever I wanted to. It was the moment that I was handed my first allowance. There was no caveat as to how I should spend any of it, and that to me spelled AWESOMENESS. Financial freedom should have meant imbibing of wise saving habits for any right-minded adolescent, but for me, it meant an ‘all you can spend bonanza’.
 
Even if it was a measly sum, I was spending it faster than you could say ‘Thanks Mom’. Trinkets I had no use for, earrings that I would never wear, and clothes that looked good only on mannequins; I bought it all without a second thought. And all I knew was that as soon as I would exchange money for commodity, I would be awash with a feeling of utter buoyancy. In my head it felt similar to a hundred percentile in my Board exams. This heady rush of emotions triggered my need to buy more, spend more, just shop and shop and shop till I dropped.
 
Down the years, my tastes changed. My eye became more discerning and my allowance increased exponentially. This only meant that I now went for a better brand than before. It only meant that I was buying more than earlier. And all because of a compulsive need to shop. I just needed to feel the weight of shopping bags in my hands. I longed for the burning sensation in my shoulder blades when I walked around carrying goodies from the market. I craved for the warmth that washed over me when I tried on my stuff and peered into the mirror. Even a bad buy didn’t do much to dampen my spirits. It just meant another visit to my Mecca.
 
Yes, it was Mecca for me. The single most pious place in the world. Be it a flea market, or a high-end mall, they all just sang to me. They sang a song which echoed in my veins and vibrated through my entire being. I was most alive when I was bargaining with a foul-mouthed hawker in Karol Bagh, or politely discussing palette options with the nice lady in the chic boutique in GK-I. It all just made sense to me. I sometimes thought that this was what I had been created for. That there was divinity in what I was doing. That it was a small part of God’s big plan for me. And it all made sense. It still does.
 
But as is wont, with the passage of time, the thrill of the conquest faded into a deep and vivid feeling of guilt. ‘Why had I spent so much on a blouse that I would probably never look at again?’ ‘What had possessed me to buy this obnoxious fedora?’ ‘Did I really spend half of my month’s salary on this skirt?’
 
Doubts began to creep into my head. A feeling of remorse barged into my idyllic mindscape like an uninvited, creepy aunt. The euphoria was considerably shortened from those earlier days. It felt horrible.
 
But did that stop me? Did any of it curtail my shopping sprees?
 
No. It didn’t. Now I craved the sudden dip in my emotions. From euphoria to melancholy; from sublime happiness to wrenching guilt. I didn’t hesitate in splurging on even the most expensive and inconsequential commodities. And all because I needed the pleasure and the pain; the elation and the depression.
 
I recently purchased a Gucci scarf. I hate scarves.
 
But I cannot fight it.
 
I am a shopaholic.

 

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