Let’s Go to the Mall

Yes, I earnestly miss going to the mall!

Ah, do not presume that I adore spending all my hours aimlessly wandering inside the glitzy and glamourous blinding lights of a mall and do not erroneously assume that I devote all my energy indulging in window-shopping, faire du lèche-vitrines, literally licking windows as the French like to remark! But, truthfully, there are days of exception, and don’t exceptions effectively make the rule? Nah, I am not suggestively suggesting that we ought to don a graffiti coat, wear jelly bracelets and dance our way to the mall, something Robin Scherbatsky, from the American sit-com How I Met Your Mother, gleefully crooned! Alors, revenons à nos moutons, retuning, yes, I do miss the mall. Nay, not for the pressing crowd, not for the buzzing excitement, and undeniably not for the endless discounts. Rather, I miss the mall for the joyous and unexpected experience of chancing upon an enchantingly delightful song, a lovely tune, or an old favourite. Picking it up, without a warning, the ear relays it to the lips, which begins smiling heartily at the sudden bliss, and then cajoles the feet to tap a little, maybe more if no flabbergasted bystander is dangerously close!

While you gasp at my revelation let me tell you that the mall, not necessarily the alleys therein, has blessed me with so many songs which have found a forever home in my playlist. Not just the mall, the radio during those moments when I am not fiddling with the button to change stations while my partner drives through the traffic has greeted us with must-add songs to our longer than the magical bean-stalk playlist. Haven’t some many of us happily exclaimed when that old favourite plays on the radio, hummed along, pumping up the volume! Or hasn’t a song, when dining at a bistro, or shopping for essentials at a neighbourhood departmental store, caught us off-guard coaxing us to smile and sing along. Happiness!

And that brings me to the unanimous truth that happiness thrives in the most unexpected of places.

The delectable taste of a meal so divine invigoratingly dousing pangs of hunger at an inconsequential restaurant, the flavours exploding like a million dreamy fireworks upon our tastebuds! If I were to vouch for my claim a café in the heart of rural Bengal tantalised us with the best blueberry cheesecake.

A wrong turn during a road trip often leads to a surprisingly magnificent view as though Destiny had surreptitiously preordained that chance encounter, and slowly the earlier irritation at the wrong turn begins to dwindle and disappear. Curses which were met out to the one navigating metamorphose into praises and blessings and the earlier haggard group of travellers absorb the view, of perhaps an endless vista of hills, of a secret cascade, its gurgling sound gaining momentum with every approaching step, or may be of a field left unto Nature to embellish with purple and pink wildflowers.

An unexpected beep of a message, an email or a call from the long-lost friend from high school leaves us smiling and we find ourselves mirthfully laughing, as we reminisce with awe and nostalgia the days of yore.

Indeed, happiness in little bursts.

It is all around us-someone leaving her or his seat on the bus, the grocer not having seen us for days striking up a hearty conversation, that unreviewed let-us-take-a-chance homestay making the most cherished memories, our loved one surprising us with a chocolate ice-cream at the end of a busy day, or someone at WordPress leaving us smiling with an indulgingly encouraging comment! There is no dearth of happiness, of blissful encounters mushrooming everywhere, only waiting to be embraced and accepted. Haven’t we heard ourselves contentedly sighing that chance rendezvous are so much more enticing than planned to the tee events. Nevertheless, we go about seeking the right moment, the perfect alignment of stars and planets, a meticulous opportune time to be truly and maddeningly happy. Focussing on the controlled outcome, we have reduced the path to happiness a well calculated mathematical equation! If only we can, maybe, let the mantle of seriousness slip away, tread unexpectantly upon the unknown road of life, conscious and aware, and allow little miracles of joy to sprinkle us with fairy dust of happiness, we’ll be unwarrantedly joyous.

Certainly then singing in our croaky and melodious voice, maddeningly dancing we’ll scream let’s go to the mall!

Image Credit: ktphotography from Pixabay

61 thoughts on “Let’s Go to the Mall

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  1. I so resonate with your thoughts Parikhit. There are plenty of things which bring joy in our everyday life. Only that in our busyness, we fail to feel it. Like you rightly said, we look only for favourable outcomes of tasks to give us calculated dose of happiness.
    If we are receptive, there is plenty of happiness to bask in 😊

  2. My grandfather went to the mall every day after her retired. My grandmother asked him why he went there all the time and he said that was because all the pretty girls went there and when he gets too old to look, then he will be too old to live.

  3. This is such a delightful post that can only leave one smiling. Yes, a perfect example of finding joy in words and an unexpected place. You need eyes to see, ears to hear, a tongue to taste, but the will and heart to appreciate experiences as they come, out of the blue, unannounced, but carrying with them the excitement of randomness. I agree with you one hundred percent. So it’s off to the mall with a changed perception. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Terveen! It took me a while, a good while, to understand that happiness is in the random things around us and only now have I started seeing things with an open heart. 🙂

  4. The grocery stores in Canada play the best soft rock music spanning the 70s,80s, and 90s, which happen to be amongst my favourite genres for music. I’m guessing this is by design, as most of us trip through the aisles lost in song. Whatever the reason, it’s rare that I don’t walk out with a little diddy in my head for the rest of the day. Love that you are able to find so much appreciation and joy in the everyday experiences. A true gift. 😍

    1. I absolutely relate. I remember being at a departmental store in the States when suddenly the song ‘Just Like Heaven’ began playing and I deliberately slowed down my shopping to be able to hum along and as a side effect landed up buying more pies and chocolates 😀 They do have some great music.
      And yes, happiness is just in the simple things, a fact I have realised now. 🙂

  5. Yes! Happiness in little bursts…if we allow ourselves to welcome them.
    Blessings and Love to you, sweet Pari

  6. I must say this post sparked such inexplicable happiness in me, parikhit. You write so beautifully!
    And I completely agree with you- those pleasant out of the blue moments do offer the best thrills of happiness in our lives.

    1. Thank you so very much Shruti 🙂
      I am really glad that the fairy dust of happiness found you 🙂 Indeed the out of the blue moments can be pleasant surprises.

  7. Hah, this was a very happy reaf, I enjoyed your writing! I’ve actually gone to the mall quite a lot with my little kids to use their nice and free play areas in the winter when the weather is too drab to play outside. Embarrassing but true! It’s so convinient too, with kids: bathrooms nearby if needed, etc!

    1. And you can happily sit with a take-away coffee and ponder over the world, look at the world passing by. I have gone to the mall for sweet-nothings too 😀

  8. ” happiness in little bursts” “allowing little miracles of joy to sprinkle us with fairy dust of happiness,” these are my favorite ways of living life and I thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions and examples of the same. Pursuing true joy relentlessly is a good purpose of life, I believe and happiness our first responsibility. Heart open for miracles and mind open for perspectives makes all the difference. I agree with you how a mundane grocery trip becomes a happy dance within when a favorite song comes along just for us as if. I do enjoy my occasional and accidental visits to the mall putting me in touch with the glitz of glamor, made up beauty and the sea of humanity – all has this intention of happiness, and that becomes joy for me. Your post was very much enjoyable to read and engage in thoughts with.

    1. You are wearing the magical cloak of fairy dust and spreading joy already for I sense you have found out that happiness is all around us if only we see it and embrace it with an open heart 🙂
      Thank you so much for resonating with my ponderings.

      1. Oh how I love my magical cloak of fairy dust and enjoy it all the more if others are able to see it :)))) This resonance is such a delight, it is all my pleasure truly!

  9. Your ponderings are as light as the fairy dust you are liberally sprinkling on your readers yet such a deep write, Parikhit. Happiness is all around us, in little buds, blades of grass, snatches of beloved songs, well brewed tea/coffee. Thank you for reminding to spend a few moments without purpose everyday and life’s purpose will become clear. 🙂

  10. Now that is a positive mall experience! We don’t call them malls in the UK, we call them Shopping Centres (they are malls, but we’d never admit that! 😆). The one in my home town was down the road from my parent’s house, so I’d go down to take in the sights, the smell of exotic foods and coffees as well as buy all kinds of hippy trinkets back then too.

    1. I think ‘mall’ is a very American way of expressing it. We used to have Shopping Complexes earlier, the precursor to the mall.
      And yes going there is a sweet experience 🙂

  11. When I lived in another state there were three large malls to choose from that were relatively close. Now we’ve got one where I live, which is like a smile with lost teeth. So many store empty… but there are still some pleasures to be gotten from just walking around the main arms and smaller ‘alleys’. I like to observe people. It is harder to see smiles with faces masked. Though one can still see a smile in the eyes.

    Normal changes. It has since the first two different groups of hominoids fought for space at the same stream. One day I hope we can all find a ‘normal’ that is pleasing to us as well as to the world. We as humans still have quite a bit of work to do, but I have to believe we are getting bettter at helping each other as well as the world.

    Be well and enjoy the small things that make you happy. May those things expand the circle of happiness to others who will then ‘pay it forward’.

    1. How I adore this line “One day I hope we can all find a ‘normal’ that is pleasing to us as well as to the world”; you are right we have a long way to go and make the world a happier place if not a better place. 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words and rightly said let smile be that happy infection spreading from one person to another.

  12. I used to go to the mall early in the morning to walk when it was not crowded. If I made the full circuit into the different hallways, I could walk a mile. It was easy to do several miles and enjoy the windows.
    Now I just let my fingers do the walking on computer. 😉

  13. This post made me smile parikhit. You’re a great writer! I used to hang out at malls as a teenager. I can’t say I pay too much attention to them nowadays, but your post is a great reminder for why I should. Like you say, you never know when and where happiness will appear. 🙏

  14. You know, I miss the mall too. I feel like it’s almost uncool to say that because of online shopping and everything, but I have fond memories of shopping with my mom, sister, and/or friends as a bonding experience. There’s something nice about the tactile experience of actually trying on things (although it does get tiring after awhile), enjoying the music and ambiance, discovering something you weren’t planning to buy vs. the intentional, well-researched purchasing of online shopping, and of course, getting a buttery Auntie Anne’s pretzel.

    1. Oh yes!! The randomness of seeing something and chancing upon something seem irreplaceable when compared to online shopping. Even the bookstores inside a mall, or the coffee shop and a muffin seem like a luxury now. And nothing beats the company of friends and family at the outing that going to the mall used to be!

  15. a joyful but deep post, we need to grab all those little moments as they come along!

    WE only have one very small shopping mall that never plays piped music … but I have fond memories of my bus trips down to Kangra and the shopping malls there!

  16. I had to go to a mall a few months ago to get my phone looked at (and, happily, up and running again). I did enjoy being there. There were stressful things going on in my daily life at the time; what a diversion. Incidentally, I visited other shops while waiting for my appointment time. And I bought a new phone case at a Vera Bradley store, full of glitter and confetti — my old one was black and very practical besides worn out. (Boy I needed that.) The people who helped with my phone were quite pleasant, too.

    1. The malls can be such stress-busters. Aimlessly shopping around while waiting for something can be quite eventful and happy 🙂 I am glad you a sparkling new phone cover and that reminds me I need one too! 🙂

  17. Unexpected Joys, right? I loved this post, loved everything about it, from malls, to songs and definitely Robin!
    PS: I am really in love with your current reads even though I have not read all of them. How are you liking The English Patient?

    1. Thanks a ton Moushmi! Yes, the joys that greet us without a warning are the best. 🙂
      The English Patient grew with me. It took a little time to get used to the narration that keeps shifting from the past to present and to the past and as the secrets are revealed you cannot help but wonder. The ending rivetted me and it was so true, given the present circumstances and the war like situation I couldn’t help but think of Asia and Africa always being treated as the lesser continents. And the love for desert in the description was magical. It reminded me of Bejan Daruwalla’s short story Love Across the Salt Desert. I think The English Patient has to be one of the best books on war that I have read apart Catch 22

  18. There’s joy and happiness all around us only if we choose to see them. I try my best to see my glass as half full rather then half empty at all times. I feel more than happiness , it’s peace of mind that we must strive. And, that nobody can give us, it’s ours to discover and for each one of us it’s something different. The more we seek happiness the more it eludes us so finding peace of mind is easier. Just a change of perspective does it most of the times. But yes, there’s joy all around us – little bursts of it – like you describe so very aptly.

    1. “it’s peace of mind that we must strive”, you have summarized it so well. Peace of mind indeed is what we need and should strive for and everything else will fall into place.

    1. Yes! Only malls and that’s it. As crazy as it may sound I prefer O B Shopping Mall in Shillong for the simplicity and the Pizza shop opposite!

  19. Maybe one of the weirdest experiences of lock down was going to the mall (shopping center in Oz) and it being nearly deserted with most shops closed.. it really did make life so much less full of vibrancy and sparkle.. Thanks for celebrating the so called ‘material’ this world is full of so many amazing and beautiful things and as great as reading this is reading all of the comments.. Lovely to read a post that inspired so much interesting feedback.

  20. Thank you for sprinkling us with your fairy dust of joy and love, a beautiful reminder to be grateful for the little joys of life that come at no cost.

    What a heartening post dear Parikhit.
    Bless you loads.

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