The objective was quite simple. Find the nearest mall, buy a pair of shorts, and head to the NH7 Weekender. But, what ensued was a series of incidents that could potentially lead to a marathon of ‘What happens when three Iyers walk into a bar’ jokes.
Scene One: Outside the apartment
We rent out an apartment in Hebbal, or as we fondly call it, almost Andhra. And, this is what we see; a scene out a movie set in Texas where land is barren, there are plastic covers flying in the breeze and there is not a single soul as far as the eye can see. We contemplate booking an Uber, but from nowhere Iyer No. 3 spots an auto at a distance and convinces us that that’s a cheaper alternative.
As the auto heads closer, we notice that the autokaran is finding it quite overwhelming to drive in a straight line. But, a large hearted clan that we are (at the most avoidable times), we pity the old, shrunken man driving it and decide to join in.
10 minutes later, we’re three metres away from the apartment gates, still waiting for the auto to start. We remain large hearted.
20 minutes later, we’ve moved 300 metres. Just as we begin to demand God to add this gesture to our good Karma, speed-breaker happens and the auto stalls, half on each side of the speed-breaker. We get down to help push the auto but well, our man, our funny, funny old man starts the auto at ease and moves forward, as though trying to show us that the problem is not with the auto but with our collective weights.
We remain large-hearted and enduring.
30 minutes later, we’ve covered 2 kms and stop to ask a few pedestrians where ‘Esteem shopping mall’ is. A fellow autokaran pops out of nowhere and says, “Madam Helmet shopping mall?” And, Iyer No.2 goes into intellectual mode.
Iyer No. 2: No sir, E ’lement’ shopping mall. We don’t want helmets.
Autokaran: Madam, there is only Helmet mall. Which area you want?
Iyer No. 2: (trying hard not to read too much into his words): I want to go to Esteem Shopping Mall near Hebbal.
Autokaran (relentlessly): Take right, straight and Helmet mall. New mall. Shopping only no?
Iyer No.1 to Iyer No.2 (encouragingly): Let’s check what’s there. You can also wear a helmet to the concert. You’ll still get noticed.
And so we take a right, go straight and land up in front of what was, in reality, ‘Elements Mall’.
Scene Two: Inside the mall
What’s common between Puma, Domino’s Pizza, Derby and Levis? They’re all opening shortly.
But, we don’t give up. We spot Lifestyle and head into the western wear section.
Iyer No. 2 to the sales lady: Where can I find shorts?
Sales lady (with a straight face): We don’t sell shorts here.
Iyer No.2 (having slight Amma flashback): Err do you have three-fourths?
Sales lady: Yes, we have animal prints and cargos right there (Points straight ahead).
So, we gleefully go and search the whole rack to find one cream coloured three-fourths, naturally, in a size that one can only dream of fitting in.
Location two, Spar (yes yes, the hypermarket only). When Big Bazaar has a clothing section, why can’t Spar? What we found (or didn’t find) there is a different question altogether. The closest we could get to shorts was a komanam designed like pregnancy pants (you know, like the one Phoebe lends to Rachel when she’s pregnant?)
Disappointed and rather shaken, we head to the food section (which is actually what the place is meant for) and buy lays.
Iyer No.3: I know how to steal this pack of Lays out of the hypermarket without getting noticed.
And so, all three Iyers huddle up in curiosity.
Iyer No. 3 (continues): When you walk out, just stretch your hands up and hold the food packet in your hands. The detector won’t recognize it as you walk out!
Scene three: Outside the mall
Iyer No.3: What do we do now?
Iyer No.1 (points out to a T-Nagar style fashion boutique): Maybe we should try there; the mannequin has short clothes on it.
Iyer No.2 (bewildered): Or, there’s an Adyar Ananda Bhavan right down this road. Let’s head there.
And so, we do. After a round of masala dosai, oothappam, steaming hot sambaar and chutneys, we decide to head back to the apartment.
Did we find shorts? No. Did we find our way back? Yes, in a brand new auto with a smart young man who chose not to strike a conversation with us (even to check for directions).