On visits to India, my “shopping” usually goes like this:

I need a Telugu book. I ask my uncle if there is a shop that might carry it. He gives me a name. After everyone in the family battles with water geysers, showers, and meals, their family driver frees up to take me to said shop. We sit in 30 minutes of traffic, after which we arrive at some hole-in-the wall shop the size of a bedroom (I know enough now at this point in my life not to expect anything less). I ask the shopkeeper if he has the book. Shopkeeper screams for his (child) helper and asks him to go look for it. I sit on the stoop for 15 minutes (enough time to witness 2 scooter accidents and buy a dozen guavas – 3 minutes of haggle-time included). I check back with the shopkeeper. He yells for his helper again. The kid comes back with 5 books – none of which are what I’m looking for. I ask shopkeeper if he can tell me the name of another shop where I can find it. He shakes his head (I don’t know why I even bothered asking him that last part). I try to find the driver and finally locate him at a tea stall sipping chai. He finishes and we sit in more traffic on the way home. For the 3 hours spent looking for my book, I have nothing to show but guavas.

Needless to say, whatever the nationalistic economic pundits say, I am extremely happy about Amazon India. In the past month alone, I have eyed Telugu books to my heart’s desire, Disney movies dubbed in Telugu, Krrish toys and activity books, clothes, purses…all to be delivered in a giant box to my in-laws’ house in Mysore.

Oh – and they also carry this gem-of-a-product: Keep Calm Toilet Paper (where the British flag goes you-know-where…) – need I comment?


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