The other day I realized when I was looking for an umbrella that there are no more fancy shops these days. I guess for the 90’s generation this may be as alien as the “goli soda” and the “pepsi cola” among others. But for those like me they were the one stop shop for everything.
What is a fancy shop? For those not aware these were the shops usually run by Muslim shopkeepers from Kerala who stocked and sold anything school kids may need from maps to junk jewellery and all in between. If there was a school requirement I would head to the nearby fancy store and the shop keeper usually never had no for any requirements that the school may come up with. If there was a social function that required a gift to be purchased again the friendly neighbourhood fancy store which also sold the wrapping paper for it along with greeting cards.
Landmark and Archies happened much later and probably led to the demise of these fancy stores. Today the swanky air-conditioned gift stores are a far cry from the humble dark fancy store (where only the shop keeper can unearth the things you need and so also reduced impulse shopping to an extent) and the surviving shops seem to be managing by expanding their product lines to include mobile recharges among others.
During a visit to my old area of Chennai 28 I was quite pleased and happy to see the then famous Kani Stores still surviving more than two decades with few changes to the outward appearance of the store. This shop sold most of what I wanted for a bigger range it usually meant a trip to Luz Corner where larger fancy stores with even more fancier names like “Millions & Millions”, “Crores & Crores” supplied all our needs. Our favourite at home was a store called India Stores which was another unending treasure trove of goodies. I am not sure how many of these are still around.
Anyway back to the present with the help of a friendly local I located a neighbourhood fancy store and found my umbrella. I left the place with a smile on my face. Life goes on...
Image courtesy Google Images
P.S. The image is of a fancy store that is up for sale. Pity.