Never mind ‘When in Rome…’, when in India, you shop!!!
After being in Jodhpur for 3 days, I was disappointed by my lack of purchases, consisting of a total of one carton of orange juice. No longer! I flashed the cash today and still have lots of rupees left to spare… – the wonder that is shopping in an Indian Market!
But first, let me tell you all about my morning. Today was the first day that another intern was due to arrive, Esmerelda, who is a lovely Australian girl who also went to Oxford University. Ez has already been in India for over a month travelling and couch-surfing in Delhi. I really admire that and love having some company to share the excitement of an Indian adventure with. Plus she showed me how to work the shower!! YES! You would never know she has been living out of a backpack however, as she turned up in the most beautiful kurta and Punjabi style trousers which looked amazing and she has the stunning long flowing brown hair! From that point onwards, I knew I had to go and buy myself some Indian garb! Luckily for me, Neeta has invited us both to a family festival this evening, providing me with the perfect excuse 😉
After convincing Manju to come to the market with us – who better to go shopping for Rajhastani dress than a Rajhastani? – the three of us trotted off towards the big market in Jodhpur located by the clocktower, Sarwar Market. It’s a busy bustling square, with motorbikes zipping in and out of the people whilst cows meander around the area, deciding to sit down and rest whenever and whereever they choose. Stallholders beckon you to come and look at their wares and Jodhpur is famous for its exquisite glass bangles, so Manju took us over to one stall to have a look. I love shopping in England anyway but the best thing about shopping in India is you can haggle on practically everything! 50 rupees per bangle the man said, then 40, then 30, then I told him I wanted it for 20 a bangle, then he offer 25 rupees per bangle. That’s about 30p! Manju keeps telling me ‘everything in England expensive, but in India cheap cheap’ and she wasn’t lying!
Next stop was an upstairs clothes shop that Manju recommended. She said she buys all her clothes from there and as the owner made buying ‘simple simple’. As soon as we walked in we were literally shown EVERYTHING. Every colour, every style, “you look, you try, you buy!”. The man who owned the shop was lovely and coincidentally very good at convincing me to try things on. It was like a mini fashion show!
I have no idea how much time we three ended up spending in the shop but every time we said we liked something or didn’t like something, the owner ordered his staff to go get it in different colours, different but similar designs, to see if we liked it! One thing I have learnt is to be friendly but firm with many of the shopkeepers. They really want to show you everything they have to offer – but sometimes you just have to say no! Lots of ideas of what to wear to the Indian weddings I am attending thought! J After seating me in the ‘chair of honour’ – ‘you are very honoured madam’ – we drank chai and chatted to the shopkeeper and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t remember the shopkeepers name properly for the life of me – but it sounded kind of like Permadum?! It could be the complete opposite! I told him I would be back however and to remember me for next time! I shall have to ask him again. I ended up buying a salwar kameez set in burgundy and turquoise, with top, trousers and scarf for 950 rupees (around £11.00 back home) – I don’t care if I could have got it for less -I think it was a great price and I’m very happy with it!! Both Ez and I also bought some Rajasthani print fabric to take to the local tailor in order to make a dress too, which cost 700 rupees. Getting the dress made costs an additional 200 rupees or so, the tailor originally said 300, but Manju says she will go back on her own and get Indian price! Ha!
Then we went to beauty parlour nearby to have a pedicure (200 rupees) which was so relaxing. The sign outside made Ez and I laugh however, as they had made the Mona Lisa Hindi!!
Okay, now its time for me to go and grab some Chapatis to tide me over til tonight, when I can gorge on Indian food! No Delhi belly so far so I’m feeling confident haha! ALSO Neeta is my new best friend, she thinks I look like the bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai – I wish! biggest compliment ever though haha 🙂