Today we went to the Hadri (pronounced heh-dree) bazaar. The taxi driver knew that mum and I were visiting (maybe just me, he didn’t specify) but he was a lovely bloke and made sure to take us safely and talk to us – we were with two of my aunts to guide us through the maze-like bazaar. He pointed out as we went, a school outside which a grenade had been thrown. The school looked unharmed, but there were rows of news cameras in front and reporters all around.
The bazaar is a crazy place. square shaped but with pathways inside. Everywhere there are shops of different sorts. One bit will have all of the food shops, there you can get gol gappe, dhai bale, samosas, drinks of all sorts; another sells unstitched cloth, like the fabric shops at home but there are probably at least fifty to one hundred here in one place, and they’re all next to each other. They often sell similar things, but each will have something slightly different, so for example, they will almost all sell three pieces of cloth together with which you can make a shalwar kameez (an eastern style ‘suit’ comprised of trousers (shalwar), a shirt (kameez), and a dupatta (scarf). But shalwar kameez come in different styles and fabrics – search ‘shalwar kameez’ in pinterest and see what comes up. Then there’s the tailor section, where you take your unstitched, flat fabric to have it made into the assembled clothes. That means that you get to decide how it looks, whether there will be any extras (eg piping, cuffs, a decal on the front, a stiff collar/neck), how fitted it is etc. It’s definitely a great experience – if you get the tailor for you. The biggest thing people complain about here, when talking about clothes, is whether the tailor made the clothes the right way. Sometimes they do their own thing, sometimes they don’t follow instructions well enough, and sometimes they ask for too much money etc (this could also mean that you didn’t explain what you wanted well enough but shhhhhh!).
We spent half an hour with a tailor one of my khalas prefers, giving him mum’s fabric to have made to her measurements and desires. I snuck a picture which I will try to post. It was boiling in the bazaar, because the air was still, and we quickly grabbed water afterwards. As I sat at the back of the shop, more of a kiosk really) I looked across and realised that about all of the tailoring shops, was a rectangular gap through which you could see a room above the kiosk, just tall enough to sit in, in which men were sewing clothes. The main guy who serves you and tells you what s possible to make is called the ‘Master’, and the blokes upstairs work for him.
Around the bazaar there’s a mixture of people, those buying, those selling, those wandering, and often those who simply live there. Homeless people, one of who I saw had such severe bodily deformities that he couldn’t walk, and so crawled on his hands and knees. He had tied some sort of rubber to his hands and knees to protect them since this was his only way to get around. I’m not sure whether he will, or can, get any governmental help, but to be honest it didn’t look like he ever had. That said, people are often generous with their money and support those who need it – but it probably doesn’t help that much.
On our way back we took a rickshaw – the guy who drove it was actually a reporter for a newspaper called ‘Geo’ I think, as well as being a rickshaw driver. He knew what was happening around the city quite well as far as I could tell, but no one broached the topic too much.
Actually, tonight the whole family gathered around the TV. A man has been caught and sentenced to death for killings related to politics. I won’t say more because I’ve been warned not to, but I will remember what I can and write about it in England.
The viewing was interrupted so that, at the stroke of midnight, we could celebrate Bhabi’s birthday. My cousin planned it all and bought a cake with her picture on it, and sparkler type candles too – they almost brned her eyebrows off when she lit them they went up that high! What I didn’t know was that my family had also bought me a cake, for my birthday which was only a few weeks earlier. We decided that it could be mine and my cousin’s, since we both turned 21 this year, and birthday wasn’t so long ago either.