Sunday, 24 February 2008

Thoughts from a weekend of mall-ratting

I spent quite a bit of time this weekend at 2 malls near my house, shopping for groceries, eating a couple of meals and generally watching the populace since that seemed like a wannabe-writer-type thing to do. Came up with a few random thoughts, which probably don't merit entire posts on their own- that just clutters up the RSS feed - so instead, I'm going to lay them out as part of a single, rambling post. So here goes:

Thought 1: There's something very endearing about watching grown people travelling on escalators for the first few times. This is a sight you still see pretty often in places like Bangalore and Mumbai in the malls, especially on the weekends. As they get onto the escalators their faces express apprehension and excitement in equal measure, and then their expression changes to one of wonderment and joy as they get borne up (or down). There's something very child-like and innocent about that, about seeing people find wonder in something that others consider mundane.

Thought 2: The fact that ice-cream sold in the food courts is over-priced may be a good thing. Since any craving for ice-cream is purely for taste, not nutritional value, the marginal utility gained from eating more ice-cream beyond a single scoop is very small. On the other hand, it does impose an additional 'cost' on the consumer in terms of filling him/her up with 'empty' calories and preservatives. The high price of the ice cream at the food court therefore (however unconsciously) internalises these negative aspects, causing the consumer to buy a more optimal amount of ice-cream. At least, that's how I rationalized the fact that I was paying thirty bucks for a tiny little half-scoop of ice-cream at the Swirls stall.

Thought 3: I saw this middle-aged woman with her daughter and (probably) the daughter's boyfriend, waiting to buy a sandwich at Subway. She had the sort of bad haircut (really short and straight) they give women when they've fallen badly ill or got some sort of mental disorder (I hope that's a politically correct way of putting it), and she just seemed rather lost, singing some kind of song to herself. I gave her a bit of a half-smile which no-one else caught, at which point she started smiling back at me. The daughter didn't see me smile, so she scolded the mother for smiling at a stranger. I thought I'd step in and explain, but then I figured he daughter seemed to be having a tough enough time holding it all together without having strangers tell them when it was okay for her mother to smile. It can get pretty tough taking care of people who are ill.

Thought 4: I realized I'm usually very polite to strangers like sales-people and auto-drivers. I'm not sure if that's because I'm just generally a nice guy, or if it's because there's a competitive streak in my Good Mallu Catholic Holier-than-Thou blood that wants to get a few extra points on a scale of relative holiness.


  1. Brilliant! This post really fell together well. The bit about escalators could easily have sounded condescending, but you treated it quite deftly.

  2. Thank you yohan. You're becoming quite the fan.I'm honoured.

  3. opportunity cost of smiling at the elderly and relative financial attributes of buying hagen you to marry the mundane with the serendip(tous)

  4. yes, but ice cream company wants you to eat more ice cream!

    they should price lower.


    check out my latest post. its a bit of self realization. *sigh*

  5. For some reason, wordpress blocked a comment you put on my blog a while back. Weird.

    Anyway. Yes, I am becoming a fan! Or maybe I always was one. I still describe you as the one of the best quizzers I've ever seen.