Monday, July 31, 2006

Yes, I really needed a day off

And there is no better way to clear your head than to go to the Sarojini Nagar market. Sarojini trades in export seconds, and is probably better known to people outside Delhi as "that place where there was a bombing last year."

But to me, it's just one of those little endearing corners of the city that keep me sane. I find it particularly awesome on Mondays -- the day when traditional stores in the market are closed.

"Bhai saab, Sarojini market," I said to the rickshaw wallah. After asking me to pay double the meter price, I stopped argued for a bit with him in my broken Hindi, and he came down. Then, as we puttered out of Defence Colony, he caught my eye in his mirror.

"Madam? Sarojini Monday bandh."

I wobbled my head, yes yes, fine, I know, crazy white girl. Apparently my friend was unaware that Monday is, in fact, the optimal day to visit Sarojini, because that's the day when the sellers offer the best deals -- men and women spread tarps on the ground and unload masses of garments, each going for no more than Rs 30, most either priced Rs 10 or Rs 20. I suspect that this is because they have perhaps pilfered their goods, but that doesn't matter much to me; someone is getting paid, and I am getting something in return. The world works.

The sun was shining but not blazing, the sky was blue, and I frivolously bought things I fancied, though I likely won't wear most of them. I took myself out for a vegetarian thali and bought some yogurt, stocked up on some fabulous looking mangoes, and treated a little coolie boy to a kulfi. A great day indeed.

(In the picture: a cool circle skirt, a funky blue corduroy pleated skirt, and, the piece de resistance, a summery Kashmiri-embroidered jacket for a fetching Rs 10.)

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