(My women friends will relate more to this. But brave men can plod on.
And no, that up there is NOT a spelling mistake.)

The irresistible urge to splurge happens to the best of us from time to time. The fingers itch. The mind cannot concentrate. And credit cards keep jumping at you menacingly waving themselves in front of your face challenging you with their respective credit limits. Suddenly your wallet seems fat, the bank balance virtually overflowing and you know you have to do it. You need to spread some goodness around in the world of trade and commerce, you need to relieve yourself of some of the moolah and move on to a something close to a state of nirvana.
You have to indulge in retail therapy! And the quicker you do it, the better.

But times, they are a-changing.
Television newscasters grimly talk about the economic meltdown. Sensex charts look depressingly like sad smileys. Bar charts seem to be placed upside down. And everyone, but everyone, is busy giving advice on how to hold on to the money one has. To lesser mortals like us, that is a big hindrance. It prevents us from going in for that vital bit of therapy that is much needed for our emotional, psychological and even (yes!) physical well being. (And if you do go for it, there’s that many shopping bags full of guilt!)But fear not. In times of an economic downturn I now have the perfect solution. It simply requires an investment of time, it actually saves you money AND, hear me well, AND, it satisfies those irresistible urges to shop.
It’s called Detail Therapy.
It goes somewhat like this.
Let’s presume you have to urge to buy a bag (could be a lip gloss, but for now, a bag is fine). Now the rest of the world (largely consisting of men) will turn around and tell you that you don’t need a bag, you simply want one. But confess your heart’s desire to a fellow woman friend and she empathises. Friend B offers to join in (without telling you that she herself is in a ‘craving’ mode). And you set off with Friends A & B in tow armed with a mission.
MISSION. That’s where the crux lies. The MISSION is very important (note the capital letters?!). Before you embark on this particular beating-the-Sensex shopping spree, you need to get your MISSION in place. This is where the fun begins.
Let’s face it. You really don’t have anything to go with the lilac shirt with a lemon trim, you tell Friend A. Of course you need a bag for that shirt, says Friend A. Friend B pipes in, it would complete the outfit. The cavity in your heart deepens. Imagine till now your outfit has not been complete. What a disaster!
Lilac with lemon trim is your MISSION for the day.
Three shop owners don’t know what lilac is. One enthu cutlet of a salesman shows you something that’s distinctly lime green. You turn him to ashes with one look. You perfunctorily check out violets, purple and even mauve. But then that’s not what you want right? Stay with the details, hon. You need to ‘complete’ that outfit. You toss your Burgundy highlights in disgust as you walk away. Friends A & B do the same with Plum and Blonde.
You walk into Store Four. There’s promise here. (You don’t know whether to be happy or sad. Remember you are on that MISSION?) The PYT there is more than helpful. (You eye her lilac lip gloss with something close to envy bordering on irritation but you contain yourself. That can come later). With arched eyebrows you ask for your desire. She seems reasonably impressed with your request. Of course she has something that’s lilac with lemon trim. Now your heart really sinks. That’s not really the idea, is it?
She sashays around and gets you something that’s lilac with a lemon trim.
O0o yes! Friends A & B gush.
Oh no! you say to yourself.
MISSION ABORT? RETRY? FAIL?
Never one to give up, you eye the bag and take it out to check in the daylight.
Oh my God! You shudder.
Friends A & B gasp. Look what happens in the daylight, you say. They agree.
Miss Lilac Lip Gloss tic-tocs gingerly into the daylight on her 6-inch stilettos to check out the problem. Her slim jeans are already bothering you more than the price tag.
The lemon trim looks white in the daylight!, you tell her. This will just not do. She looks a trifle disappointed but her face brightens up again as she turns around and points a well-manicured finger at you. I do believe I have the right thing for you, this time.
This time it’s a lemon one with a purple trim. B…B…but, you stammer, because it is heartbreakingly beautiful and you need this one. The credit cards are beginning their jig again in front of your eyes: Gold, Titanium, Signature!
No… You can’t give up MISSION so easily. There’s got to be something. (You are beginning to fall in love with this bag. Tonight you’ll dream of it… but right now there’s work to be done!)
You look pleased. (You are good at this, aren’t you?) You start checking out lemon with lilac. You open the zippers and close them. Check out the pockets, open the zippers again with a whoosh that seems to irritate Miss Slim Jeans, much to your delight. And then you see it. I mean, you hiss, how could they? Friends A & B, who have been so far busy checking out the blues and greens crowd around lemon with lilac. They too shudder with horror. Purple thread to stitch the lilac bits? How could they?!
Miss Lilac Lip Gloss pales. She agrees completely with you.
You launch into a tirade that would put national politicians to shame. (And in today’s context, reasonably impress President Barrack Obama). This, you say, is what keeps the country behind. This lack of attention to detail. Don’t they know? God lives in the details? Indignantly the three of you walk out, once again with that practiced turn of your highlighted heads. You punch a fist in the air. You’ve done it!
You’ve shopped. You’ve not spent a penny. You’ve ranted against the nation. And tomorrow when the urge hits again, you can still come back to look for the lilac bag with a lemon trim.
Or that Lilac Lip Gloss?
For today, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Thanks to Detail Therapy.

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