Sunday, December 18, 2005

The epitome of upwardly mobile India

I am in a pet store in Khan Market, a center in New Delhi renowned for its unceasing ability to attract white people who will spend ridiculous amounts of money on objects they can purchase far cheaper in other (albeit dirtier, more hidden) markets.

The kittens need little collars so if, God/Vishnu/Allah/Joseph Smith/Buddha forbid, they escape from the confines of our cushy flat, we have a hope of identifying the ubiquitous billis.

The store is crowded and I, standing in the corner hemming and hawing over elastic collars, plastic be-glittered collars, collars with bells, am jostled each time the door opens.

A rushed woman, straight from page three, breezes in, her perfect coif highlighted in honey, her nails manicured, her weekend-casual khakis wrinkle-free and hugging every curve. She walks directly to the counter, interrupting the proprietor who is explaining to an auntie how to treat her dog for fleas.

"I need to see your latest dog sweaters. Jaldi, jaldi."

He hesitates. Her face is frozen in a glare.

"Just the lastest. Don't you have anything new? New sweaters. For my dog."

Still, he does not respond. She turns, glides out the door.

I never knew accessorizing one's dog was so urgent.

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