The Indian Best Buy
Slowly I descend, down, down, down the electronic staircase. C-R-O-M-A is lit up in neon white lights, hanging from the ceiling above me. Glossy images of light skinned women donning cameras and i-Pods adorn the walls. We start to enter the store but a small older woman sitting in the front of the store next to the escalators behind a counter with a series of cubbies behind her stops us. She takes our backpacks and gives us a number, 42. We approach the counter with the cameras- Nikons, Canons, and Olympics. A man with long black slicked back hair stands behind the counter, his white button down shirt rolled at the sleeves. He sees us approach and gets into position. I walk over and begin picking up cameras, examining them and looking at prices 12,900 rupees, 4000 rupees, 8500 rupees. He takes the cameras from my hands and begins to talk about them. This camera is HD, this one has a nice zoom feature, this one is good in low lights. My friend discusses the camera capabilities and I look around the room. It is compact, a small space stuffed with the latest gadgets and appliances. Couples look at refrigerators and a pack of men stare at the latest cell phones. We decide on a camera, silver, HD, good in lowlights, and the right price. We tell the salesman, “We’ll take three.” He nods and takes us to a new counter, types a series of numbers into a computer, prints receipts, leads us to a new counter where another man rings up the cameras and prints more receipts. People stare as we walk from counter to counter back and forth, back and forth through the store. Our guide, Ganesh follows us three paces behind staring at the people who stare at us. He watches the man behind the latest counter take our money. He walks back with us as we return to the first counter to pick up our three cameras. The original salesman picks up the first box, opens it shows us the camera, the charger, the USB cable, the case, and the memory card. We nod each time he removes and item from the box. After he is done with one, he puts it aside and repeats the process with the second camera box. When he is finished with the second he does the same with the third. The boxes make it into a large brown bag with the letters C-R-O-M-A written in black letters on its outside. We retrieve our belongings from the woman, she the items in our paper bag aganist the our receipt. Then, we make our way back up the electronic staircase. The signs of small stores in the rest of the mall, lit up with neon lights. --Rachel
P.S. I am writing this blog post in the reception area of the Cricket Club. Songs by Celine Dion, Michael Buble, and Johnny Cash blast over the loud speaker.