Buying this, that, and a lot more, the thirtysomething couple seems to have figured out, is little price to pay for happiness. So, they proceed in further pursuit, and purchase, of pleasure. Taking the lift crowded with others like them, to be elevated to higher levels of readymade rapture in Delhi suburb Gurgaon's five-storeyed City Centre, a megamall chock-a-block with shops, restaurants, discos, pubs and movie theatres. Here, on a two-kilometre stretch on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, three malls, many cineplexes, a shopping arcade, a restaurant complex, scores of bars and nightclubs better each other at delivering the goods. To insatiable thousands only too willing to indulge themselves, have fun, live it up, and the figure on the bill be damned. Adds up then that nine more malls are in various stages of readiness on this stretch, toting upward of 31.3 lakh sq ft of retail space. In Bombay, 22 new malls are slated to open by the year-end.
Bliss, as far as the Indian middle class is concerned, is now buyable. A new generation of uninhibited urban consumers are snapping up enjoyment off the shelf, drawn by the magnetism of the malls, shopping till they drop, pubbing, eating out, discoing into delight and dawn, pampering their bodies at the salons, holidaying lavishly—fervently treating themselves to an extravaganza called Good Living. They are the Pleasure Seekers, for whom spending is more than a means to happiness. It is happiness.