I always get baffled anytime i go out on the streets of Vadodara city in Gujarat state, Western India during weekends. Did someone ring a bell to call all citizens for a state parade inspection? Obviously no, because no one would even come!
During week days, you see the rickshaw driver busily moving around and picking passengers to their work places or destinations, whiles the numerous motorbike users would be meandering through the ‘networked’ vehicular traffic. Sometimes, it is quite interesting when watching the way each driver wants to outwit the other and ending up not making a meaningful headways because everyone wants to be leading.
During weekends, it’s really amazing on the streets of India, especially Vadodara where i live. On Fridays and Saturdays, the majority of Indians visit cinemas. Movie watching is a major activity in India during weekends. Therefore you get the fresh and best of all Bollywood and some Hollywood movies being premiered across cities. Friends, i missed the opportunity of watching the ‘Ape man’ movie two times. All because tickets were sold out days before the actual movie premiering and this is a normal thing in India.
Trust me; these times are always the best because if you’ve heard the worst news of your life, you would love the whole euphoria on the streets. Almost everyone is seen beaming with smiles. Groups of friends and families everywhere, figuring out which cinema to go and what movie to watch. It is so beautiful how this behavior has become part of the ordinary person in Vadodara.
My fondest moments are when i see four to five people on one motorbike. Folks, i am not exaggerating! Mostly, these passengers include a husband, wife, and two or three children who want to move together. For the sitting arrangements, you’ve got to see it. So amazing! Indians really live the life they want to live!
Though people still visit cinemas on Sundays, the main activity on the minds of the majority is shopping. This is awesome! During Sundays, friends, you need to be here to observe how friends, love once and families make shopping a part of their lives. For instance, i decided to visit a shopping mall one Sunday and i was really taken aback. I mean, there were over five hundred people in front of the mall enjoying ‘the spicy and good smelling’ hot pop corn and varieties of ‘thirst quenching’ ice cream. I thought that was all, i entered the mall and this was amazing! The four floor ‘huge and multipurpose’ shopping mall was filled by people who were busily shopping-not window shoppers as you are thinking!
This is a normal way of life during weekends. It is all about the Cinemas and the Shopping malls. During these periods, movies, clothes, appliances and Spicy foods have no place to hide. This way of life have become a part of life because you would find most shopping centers and food joints closing late on weekends unlike other countries where most shops are not opened on Sundays or closes early.
Though Indians love to shop, i also think that one positive re-enforcement to people’s attitude of shopping is reduction sales. Shopping centers take advantage of what people like; the weekend euphoria, festivals, special days and holidays to lunch very attractive offers which are not easily turned down, the moment you see it. For instance, you see promotions like:
Buy 2 shirts Get 2 free and 50-80% reduction on all prices of products, and this drove me crazy: Buy 2 shirts get 11 free…..how? Including other special sales and you don’t want to let this chance go without you being part of the history.
So why would you stay in India and be sad? After all, if you have no place to go after work in a week day, you are assured that your weekends would be lively because the shopping centers are there, an opportunity to window shop or meet new people and make friends, or you would perhaps grab a seat in a cinema, relax, with a pack of ‘spicy and hot’ pop corn as your companion, not to massage you, but keep your jaws busy, whiles you watch Delhi Belly, Murder 2 or that blockbuster Bollywood movie you’ve always been hearing of, after all, you’re living in a weekend ‘crazy’ India.
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Written by Prince Baah-Duodu for www.baahduodu.wordpress.com