The festive season is upon us and so are a million super-duper, bumper festive sales or dhamakas or extravaganzas. Every shop, every e-commerce website has switched to the festive mode, and the cries of my alarmingly empty wallet are drowned by the din of bright decorations, and big discounts printed and plastered on displays in bigger fonts. The “dhamaka sale” ads interrupt my televisionviewing experience almost every minute telling me that only a fool would not try to cash on these lucrative offers. Is it even festive season if you are not shopping? But then is it only festive season when you are shopping?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The festive season these days means shopping for any and everything.
  • Is it even festive season if you don’t shop?
  • But then is it only festive season when you go shopping?
  • Is the compulsive shopping spree that we embark on during season a result of clever marketing ploys?

Every shop, every e-commerce website has switched to the festive mode, and the cries of my threateningly empty wallet are drowned amidst the din of bright colours, big discounts printed and plastered on displays in bigger fonts.

Yes, shopping goes hand in hand with festivities. As kids, we used to await Diwali not just because we would get school holidays, or to eat delicious treats, but because we would also get new clothes. Parentswould keep the strings of their purses tight for the rest of the year, but come festive season you could ask for anything and you’d get it, as long as it was in the festival budget. Many people still stall buying electronics and householditems for the better part of the year, because it was auspicious to buy such things during the festive season. Who needs extended warranties when you buy a fridge on a “shubh din”. A lot of us still do this. I buy atleast one new outfit for my daughter or a toy every Diwali. All things to perk up the household, to revive it and give it a fluffing up of newness, are stalled till the festive season.

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But these days, it seems that festivities have become synonymous to just shopping. It is not about waiting to buy a new microwave because you need it. But about exchanging your phone for a newer model, because you can and since it is on sale why not? We no longer await festivities to buy new clothes. But then we do go out to shop because it is the festive season and everyonearound us is doing the same.

While the catalogues of websites in throes of mahaextravaganza sales look tempting after browsing for a few minutes it all begins to look the same.

The compulsive purchasing spree that a lot of us embark on during the season, does the auspiciousness, or a marketing gimmick that reduces festivities to shopping govern it? I no longer see the enthusiasm for things that I associated with festivities when I was young, even in people of my age group. Having lunch with family on a holiday, which lasted hours, because we would be too engrossed in a discussion to even get up and wash our hands, for instance. Or embarking on DIY projects to decorate the house or to impress friends. Or as in my case, not stepping out of the house and demanding a refill of chaklis and mathris from mom, while mindlessly watching a film or reading a book. While I may have forgotten every new outfit that my parents bought for me during festive season, these memories are still fresh in my mind.

These days, people rarely ask what your plans are for the festival season. What changes are you making in your household. Perhaps a new seating arrangement for the drawing room? Or a fresh coat of varnish on those garden chairs? It is mostly what you intend to buy. And honestly, while the catalogs of websites in throes of mahaextravaganza sales look tempting, after browsing for a few minutes it all begins to look the same. Aren’t there better ways to spend the precious festive season than chasing discounts?

Picture credits: Softfeed.in

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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