I am writing this post from Bhubaneshwar where I am on  an official visit.

Having been to Bhubaneshwar a few times earlier, I am familiar with what the place has to offer by way of shopping options. But shopping alone is not fun. However, I realized soon enough that what was even less fun was to be stuck with a bunch of male colleagues who had absolutely no interest in any kind of shopping activities! I had to spend  about an hour encouraging them to venture out into the market place ( the  “Market Building” is the Champs Ely see of Bhubaneshwar) with me.  A couple of them reluctantly agreed to come along.

Orissa is a Mecca for handloom lovers- the Sambalpuri saris with the Kotki prints are available in every colour of the rainbow in the various state run and private run outlets. There are not just saris but also dress materials, dupattas etc

Now did any of this excite my friends? No!

I told them categorically that I would not let them leave the place unless they bought something for their wives.  I dragged them next inside Priyadarshini and  let the two salesgirls loose on them.. moving on to the  next shop to look at something for myself.
When I got back after a quarter of an hour I found that things were pretty much as they were when I had left. Both these gentlemen were standing uncomfortably in front of the sales girls.

So, what was the problem?

 They did not know what to buy!

Is that a big problem? What were the sales girls there for if not to help build some awareness about the different types of prints and weaves. But was lack of awareness about the fabric the problem?

I realized soon enough that these poor guys did not know anything about colours! I mean, they could identify colours but were somehow afraid to come to a decision on  which colour saris to pick. I decided that this was probably something that I should help them with.

“Okay, what is your wife’s favourite colour” I asked and waited for an answer… ! I wondered a little later if I had asked some kind of a complicated question because neither of the two gentlemen could answer it. I tried to make it easier for them “What is the colour that she does not like” – I mean one could arrive at a decision by elimination too!  Silence once again..!

I was getting irritated.. Finally one of them asked me to select. And  I did exactly that – selected two saris for wives of two colleagues –ladies who I had never met!

Gentlemen, does this sound familiar to you? How many of you have gone to a shop to buy something for your wives ( willingly or dragged by someone like me ) and ended up buying something through a series of guesses or through the advice of a good Samaritan like me?

I know that it must have happened a number of times with my father as also with my husband!! The few times that these men in my life have bought me gifts their choices  have in no way been close to what may have been my favourite in terms of colour or design. But I cherish them because they have been bought with love ( or so I imagine! I would not like to think that it was a result of inability to cope with the pester power of  women colleagues like me) However,  I must say that both these men have been consistent in their choice of colours. Both of them have bought me stuff always in pale shades of white or grey!!! My mother has also received saris in the same colours ( the few times she has received a gift  from my father)

I guess what men do when they are faced with dilemmas like this is to go for colours that are their favourites…!

Men often say that they find it difficult to understand women- much less what women’s  preferences are around clothes or jewellery ( besides the fact that women are reputed to like diamonds) . Men’s powers of observation (about their wife) deplete with every passing year of marriage. Whether I wear a silk sari with heavy brocade or my usual “uniform” of track pants and a T shirt, the reaction from my husband is often the same.., sure the silk sari may make him ask “Aren’t you feeling hot in that thing in summer” but that’s about it.. He may not notice that  the “thing” may have been the  sari  I wore when we got married…

I don’t know if this is a cultural thing?  As Indian women, we make least demands in terms of gifts. Sometimes we also scold our husbands when they buy us a gift on an “impulse”- telling them they spent a lot on something we did not need… We rarely tell them what we like and more importantly what we do not like, expecting that they will perceive it.

But take it from me friends- men are least perceptive about such things. Yes, they can sometimes sense our moods but they prefer to keep that fact away from us pretending that nothing is wrong. This entire attitude about ignorance around the home front with most men is rather surprising. For example, both my father and my husband do not know where certain vessels or cutlery belong in the kitchen – I wonder if it is ignorance?

Whatever, it is , I find that men thrive on this kind of ignorance. It keeps them away from taking responsibility for their actions.. ! So what cannot be cured must be endured . Great going guys . As a strategy ignorance certainly works !


  1. I may be an exception to the rule you just pronounced as I could shop sarees, nighties and what not from all kinds of places I visited so the first protest post, Meera:)

  2. Quite interesting! I have to agree with most if not all your points.
    "It keeps them away from taking responsibility for their actions." Here you hit the bulls eye, though exception to the rule as aberrations do exist. A typical male lion syndrome!

    Honestly, my spouse would choose the right colours for my shirts or trousers and even shoes. But as you mentioned, I ,when I opt for her will prefer the colours and fashion I like.

    When she laments that I'm colour blind or not conscious of colours , I hide behind the cliche, "well marrying you proved that long before"!

  3. "However, I must say that both these men have been consistent in their choice of colours. Both of them have bought me stuff always in pale shades of white or grey!!!"..Meera, I could so much relate to this. I have also recd saris of similar colours, neverthelss with lots of love. It has also happened that my father in law has bought three saris of SAME coour and shade.

    I must however say, Nikhil is one of the best shoppers I have seen. And Pakhi's thatha is now much into shopping for his little darling, so he is learning a lot.

    You know what, I never shop for these men in my life. I just cannot choose the fabric of their choice. They would stretch it and test if it is pure cotton or not. I have left this task to these men. At the most I play a companion in choosing but I dont choose on my own.

  4. hehe That is funny. I can see my dad in this. But, my hubby who hates going shopping does choose the best colors for me. He also knows which T Shirts to pick -- the size etc. But, he will be damn reluctant to go and do any shopping. Men hate to go shopping.

  5. :) ..

    I have been to bhubhneshwar a few times although i want to remove those memories totally from my mind.

    But I liked the way you have put it about ignorance and It is right.. :) and made me smile .. its better to be ignorant than have a argument .

  6. Meera,

    I agree that most of us are in that category. I do not know but if I crib, which is quite often, about something not being placed properly in kitchen / cabinets or some other house care thing, our d i l says that I behave more like m i l than man of the house.

    Take care

  7. @ Rachna, you are definitely a lucky woman! I wonder what is it about men that makes them hate shopping?

    @ Rahul and Jack both of you should run classes for other men on how to shop and how to manage a kitchen. Thousands of women will sponsor their spouse's atteandance

    @ Bikram,be observant- you will notice there will be no argument

    @ Anil, you are really clever- no woman ever complains about an important aspect of choice when it comes to their spouse- their selection of the woman they married

    @ Ani, yes, grand daughters are very special I guess- shopping with men is rather boring even when they are not buying anything for us - the colours that surround their lives are so drab. I wish they would wear green, blue or red like us :)

  8. Men!...where will i start from? Simply ask to be given the money...ahahaha...saves a lot of trouble.

    Thanks for the comment in my last post..the MIL and DIL saga cuts across borders.

  9. A controversial post...I do agree that most of the men fall under this category. However, my Dad was an exception. I lost my mom at a very young age, so Dad was the only one who took care of all our needs. He used to shop for us, take care of the household chores.

    My hubby still gets confused when I ask him to get something. He will call me a thousand times...and even after so many instructions, he will end up buying something which I would have never preferred. But as you said, the love with which he gets, makes me wear those sarees and dresses.

  10. very interesting insight!

    last night i asked my husaband''which color suits me''
    the reply was ''hmmmmmmmm:-|''

    ok ,i asked again ''what colors i i usually wear?'
    the reply was longer ''hmmmmmmm:-|''

    ok then which it color i was wearing the evening you said i am loking good ? the reply was ''hhhhmmmmm...oh yaaar ab mujhy nhin pta na tum achi lugti ho her rung main''

    you tell what can we do these innocent male folk:-)

  11. @ Gayu and Arooj... the experiences seem so similar. I think it is something in that Y chromosome!

  12. I agree, doing shopping is incredibly tedious and headache provoking.

    But there are so many facets to it. Like why do we need to keep on looking around and not take something we see and like, spend two more hours going around and come back to the first shop? Or worse, knowing that we don't want to buy something, go out for "looking around" in the shops? :)

    I was buying gifts for my wife - I bought the colours and things I liked to see her in - but almost always, the reaction were "why do you waste money on buying such things? You know I don't wear such things! I already have three of these!" So now when I have the impulse to buy something for her, I remind myself to be careful and think twice! :)

  13. Sunil it the fundamental difference that comes out of having two X chromosomes...!

  14. yes. Ignorance is a bliss for men. though I don't intend to be ignorant! Gifting a lady is tough though and hence Cash always workS!! :) nice read though through one more stage of life... :)


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