You women are scatterbrained, penny wise and pound foolish, remarked my husband when I showed him the saree I bought in a sale and the discounted price I had paid.
Aye, don’t make such scathing statements, if I tell you how much I saved in the bargain, you will just not believe me, I retaliated.
How much? he said.
Well, the original price of this Kanjeevaram saree is Rs.5,000 and I got it at a 20 per cent discount which means a neat Rs.1,000 less, I said, running my hand fondly over the smooth silk. See, even the sari has a broad zari border, I added.
Have you checked if there is any damage, like a tear here and there or the colour is not even? he asked.
There was no need because I saw all the women just grabbing the sarees they could lay their hands on and making straight to the billing counter, I said.
That’s why I said you women are scatterbrained, blindly following what others do. I am sure there will be some flaw somewhere in the saree you picked up or it must be old stock, otherwise you wouldn’t have got such a discount, he reiterated.
Just because you don’t believe in buying clothes in a sale assuming that they are all seconds, it doesn’t mean no one else should, I said quite annoyed.
Suddenly, I remembered the suit he had purchased in one of those big shops in Brent Cross, in London when we had gone there the first time.
Do you remember the suit you bought in London? I said.
Oh, yes, that was years ago, what about it now? he said after a long pause.
Do you remember how much you paid for it? I asked.
May be some 150 pounds, he said without much hesitation.
Do you remember what our hosts in London said when you told them about your purchase?
You don’t expect me to remember all that, do you? he said impatiently.
But I remember every word of what your friend had said because I couldn’t get it out of my mind for a very long time.
By the way, what did he say (he sounded very casual).
He had said he picked up something almost identical in a sale for two-thirds the price and I remember you scoffed at the idea saying they must be seconds, which was not true.
What are you trying to get at? (he appeared upset).
Only that women are wiser when it comes to using their common sense, I asserted.
Instead of making such sweeping statements, why don’t you open the saree and check if there is any flaw? he insisted.
O.K. I will do so if it satisfies you, I said and promptly started inspecting the full length of six yards even as I was closely looking at the zari border. I was shocked at what I saw when I was still half-way through. The zari appeared dull and tarnished on the remaining part of the saree.
Now who is penny wise and pound foolish? he asked sarcastically.
Neither of us, because it is a win-win situation, I said.
What do you mean by that? he said raising his eyebrows.
I mean the concept of a sale in London seems to be different from that in our country, I said in an attempt to justify my purchase.
Perhaps it is so, but still I feel you are the loser considering that I can proudly flaunt wearing my suit even after years of purchasing it whereas you can’t do the same with your so called “new” SAREE, can you? he asked.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao