Shopping in India.
I like it but I'm only allowed a skimpy 23 kilos of it so have to be decisive and measured in my approach to acquisitions. But even if I'm not buying, I just like to see what there is.
And how it's made, packaged and marketed.
One thing is for sure, there is loads of it.
I wanted to take you shopping in India but it's a huge subject and whilst some of you salivate over food, for others it's fabrics and there's my personal favourite ~ stationery shops, then there's haberdashery and supermarkets and market stalls and pavement sellers and door to door anything and everything.
So, I'm thinking I'll spread this out over a few posts.
Get your grubby rupees out, we are going shopping.
This is Rashinkar's emporium. Saris in cotton and silk and polyester!
A three floored city crammed with skyscraper piles of colour.
And noone minds unfolding a tower's worth just to show you the full range.
The counter grows higher with rivers of unfolded cloth as I ooo and aaah over embroidery and colour and textures.
Heaven is here, in a shop.
There is a tailor in-house and this is him measuring out my cloth for a long shirt dress and a wrap around skirt. I've sketched him out my desires and he's pretty good at understanding my needs...but the choosing is agonising and he's quite adept at showing Madame the perfect solution. He's been around the block that one.
My bespoke garments will be ready in 4 days but he'll do speed making if it's required.
Me? I've got all the time in the world...
The above is a sweet little haberdashers I discovered today.
Full of wool and cotton and needles
and stuff in boxes that I didn't know how to ask to look inside.
No English is spoken in this part of town, most tourists aren't looking for crochet hooks. I seemed to be a novelty customer, fondling the wool and taking snaps. I puzzle a lot of Indians but they are very friendly and understanding of my curious English ways. Why on earth would Madame take photographs of our thread selection? To put it in some kind of perspective the wall to the thread shop is next to the guy's head that you can't see. He had to jump over the counter to become proprietor of all things thread. I scored three boxes of embroidery thread with approx 80 different skeins in each box at 130 rupees a box.
That's about £1.70.
And, if you don't want to visit the shops the shops will come to you. There are plenty of travelling salesmen who hawk their wares (I'm sounding positively Dickensian, it IS like that here) The hawkers come around the streets shouting what they are selling, fruit, veg, newspapers, milk, curd etc. The mobile garden centre is a particular favourite of mine. See above. There are often girls with pails of fresh from the cow milk and yes, they carry them on their heads. And there are loads of potholes round here. The plastic man has some really useful things. He's quite popular when he rolls through once a day. The Indian housewives love the plastic stuff. Hell, I know I shouldn't but I love the plastic stuff.
And as this is India and entirely random things happen, I bring you a picture of a painted yellow goat.
Maybe they put something in my chai, maybe I am dreaming.
Whatever it is, I wish you were here.