Growing up, one of my fondest memories was of going to a local market with my mom every month in the small town in India where we lived. We would spend the morning walking through an intricate maze of small stores and street vendors, stopping at her favorite spots where everyone knew her, discovering what fruits were in season and what kitchenware was in stock. She would spend hours examining things from all angles, quizzing sellers on their quality and where they came from. They would show her the latest tools and gadgets, picking the ones that they knew she would like. And we always walked back happy and satisfied, our arms overflowing with dozens of shopping bags having bought so much more than what we originally intended.
A decade later, as a college student in the bustling city of Delhi, my friends and I would spend a similar few hours every month on "Fashion Street," a euphemism for the row of small stores with the latest clothes at great prices. We would spend hours rummaging through piles of clothes, trying on dozens of trinkets, getting advice from each other on what looked good and what was on trend. We would then combine everything we had bought to negotiate a big discount. Each of us had different roles. One was great at putting the look together. Another one was better at negotiating the discount. And a third was always the timekeeper to make sure that we got back to school on time.