Friday, April 12, 2013

Shopping

Before I came to India my friend Sayantani told me that, "shopping in India is the most fun!" I have to admit, at first I didn't see the charm. My shopping experiences in the early weeks mostly involved a huge, American style mall, and tiny, cramped grocery stores in my neighborhood. I preferred the grocery stores (at least they were new and different, if not entirely delightful), but I wouldn't call shopping in either of those places "the most fun".

Things improved when I discovered the Karnataka Crafts Council shop, and the fruit and flower market in Malleswaram. And they improved even more when my friend Bitasta took me shopping in Malleswaram! Our first trip was to buy petticoats for my sarees (all two of them), but after a few weeks I realized that I needed more things, and since shopping with a friend is more fun than shopping alone I asked Bitasta if she would go along again. Luckily for me she very sweetly agreed!

So today, in the heat of the afternoon, we set out. We couldn't find an auto, so we just walked down Margosa Rd until we found the shop Bitasta wanted-- some place that sold silk sarees. I didn't want a silk saree, but I did need cloth so that the tailor could stitch me a blouse to match the saree my grandmother gave me.

(Side note: this saree is beautiful. Pure silk in robin's egg/seafoam and bright pink with gold thread. It was given to my grandmother when she lived in Nigera in the 1960s by an Indian friend.)

It took a while, but we finally found a cloth that seemed a pretty good match. It's cotton, as none of the pure silks or silk/cotton blends were close enough. I'm nervous that the pink is too bright, but we'll see how it looks when it's stitched up.

After that we stopped in to another shop so I could buy a gift for my new baby niece, Ada. As we were leaving Bitasta pointed out that they sold children's sarees (which are really a skirt with pleats sewn in and a pallau, plus a blouse). Back in we went! Liel has been coveting a child-sized saree since we got to Bangalore, but I hadn't even seen one (in a shop or on a child), so I didn't think they made them! Liel chose a really lovely one-- purple and gold. We have 4-5 weddings this fall, so I think she will get good use out of it, and it looks completely awesome on her. As I bought it she squealed with delight and told me she was the luckiest bat in the world, and loved her bat mommy who bought her pretty sarees. Heh.

Our next stop was to buy glass bangles. I love glass bangles. They're colorful and beautiful and just fantastic! I amused Bitasta and the clerks at the shop by buying nearly every color they sold. Then we went to a stainless steel shop...but I can't say why, as I want what I bought there to be a surprise for the recipient. Which I feel is pretty likely, because (much like the Spanish Inquisition) nobody expects a gift of stainless steel!

So that was my excellent shopping trip. It was particularly idyllic today, despite the heat. The roads were pretty shady, and we passed tons of pushcarts selling fruit, and people shopping and selling on the sidewalks.I think there might be one more in my future, and that both pleases me and makes me sad. I can't believe I might only get to shop in Malleswaram one more time! 

2 comments:

Joanne Young said...

Your saree from Gramma, sounds beautiful! And, it tickles me that Liel is so pleased with hers.:)
I sure can relate about the fun of shopping when you have such lovely and unusual items to shop for!

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