I visited the website Illuminations.com this afternoon to see what is left of my favourite business after our local store at the plaza was closed. The website said that it was thankful of my interest in their brand but with the recent economic uncertainties, they had to make the difficult decision of closing their doors forever. Strange as it might sound, I felt a weird sadness creep in though it had been a while since I grew out of the Illuminations shopping syndrome.
As a young bride and home owner, Illuminations seemed to be an alter ego to my off beat taste. I found the whole philosophy, product range and great customer service very attractive. I used to follow their sale patterns and buy loads of sconces, candles and other unique knick knacks. Lot of my friends used to ask me about my shopping finds and I'd slowly and surely acquired the status of an interior decorator in my own right. The candlescapes and the accessories the store carried were like none other and they inspired me endlessly to build my own creativity around what the store had to offer. Later on when I shifted focus form being a homeowner to a mom, I weaned off my Illuminations habit, but every time I was in the mall, I used to go to the store and check out their cool interiors and always desire to make my home smell like their shop. In a way, Illuminations helped me find my own voice, expression and aesthetics and spread its fame far and wide when I made it a point to gift their startlingly life like floating candles (often shaped like flowers and leaves) to my mom and aunts. Even to this day, I pride my collection of candles shaped like slices of watermelons and fall leaves. Now that I might not be able to replace them, I am sure I'll cherish them a little more.
As I ponder further I realise that closing doors is more like losing something more than a lucrative business. Just like Illuminations came to represent a lot more than a brick and mortar store, many businesses that find form out of some one's vision and passion, are more like human beings than money churning ideas. When I was a teenager, my family had to take a difficult decision to shut down the local newspaper our family owned. I knew from the day it took form, that it was my dad's way of realising his love for writing, journalism and making a difference in a little way than to make money out of advertisements and subscriptions. True to his passion, he ran the paper more like a charity than a business and at some point, the costs raised and the profits sank and we had to close doors on a very precious and passionate dream. From then on, I kind of mourned every business failure as they came to represent more than loss of dough, they were loss of dreams.
Just recently, a cozy little restaurant that served authentic north Indian food closed its doors owing to some lease issues. We went there frequently and four months after the doors are closed, I still miss Jeet's fluffly naans and yummy vegetable sides as much as I miss my mom's food.
Be it large corporations or little cottage industries, closing doors have a lot more to them than making a difficult decision in tiring economic times. They leave back the same void and pain a person would leave back when they exit the stage of this world. So Illuminations that advocated the idea of 'living by candle light' would always represent to me a light source that bought me joys of simple beauty and accomplishments. And just as with every closed door, I hope another window of hope is opened to illuminate the darkness to its Founders and employees and all forcefully and tearfully closed doors across the globe.