Thursday Hops #14

This week, I stepped out to buy an outfit for a family function next month. I was quite excited, as I was visiting a shopping mall after a gap of nearly eight months. I enjoy a shopping expedition even normally, but due to this long, Corona-induced abstinence, I was determined to savor every moment of it.

The good news is that maintaining social distancing was not an issue. At all. The mall was practically deserted. This pic is of Sunday afternoon.

Shipra Mall in Ghaziabad (Delhi NCR)

In normal times, you sometimes have to queue up to enter the mall on a Sunday. Considering that the festive season has begun with Dushehra just around the corner, the mall would have been teeming with people in a normal year. Shops in the mall would have been vying with each other to offer bigger, better sales. In some of the busiest showrooms, you would have been elbowing your way through the crowd to get at the dress you had your eyes on.

In contrast, no one entered the mall at least till ten minutes after I entered. I could see some visitors scattered here or there, all masked and sanitized. But I had a feeling that if you would line up all the mall employees and the customers, the employees would far outnumber the customers. This, even though the malls have been open for over two months now.

How are these businesses even managing? They must be facing huge losses just to keep the showrooms open.

I glanced into the food court, and only two or three tables were occupied. After I had made my purchase, I went to the Ladies’ restroom on the top floor and found it locked. Only the restrooms on the lower floors were kept functional, possibly to minimize on operational costs.

The corridor leading to the multiplex was empty, only the personnel who check tickets were around. This was still expected, as cinemas had opened only two days earlier.

Deserted entry to the multiplex within the mall

It was all quite sad and depressing.

Copyright © 2023


Published by Leena T Pandey

I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure. In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on. As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more. Write to me at

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