Monday, December 5, 2011

A Day in the Bazaar

     Amy and I spent all morning in baby-love land.  Okay, Ananya is the third cutest baby EVER, after Clarabel and Sophia.  I know I am saying this with a midwife's objective eye.  I helped Amy take a bath with her baby for the first time, instead of bathing her in a little pastic tub thingie.  Mother and baby loved it.

   Finally she had nursed enough for the meantime and we decided to go out to a craft bizarre to do a little browsing and shopping.  As soon as we were in a taxi, pulling out of Amy's quiet back streets onto the main road way, it was like, oh yeah, we are in India! My eyes were again working at warp speed to take in all the amazing sights flashing by us.  People pulling ridiculas loads on bikes, like ten mattresses piled on top of each other, little markets and stalls, crazily careening auto-rickshaws, food being cooked on the street, horns blaring.  The women are all so colorful and beautiful in their saris and salwars.

  My sister took us to a special bazaar that only the Indians know about.  It is not in the Lonely Planet guide. It is a government-regulated market, and it costs 20 rupees to enter (40 cents) so that keeps beggars and touts out.  All the stalls are run by the artisans themselves, with crafts and beautiful things from all the different parts of India.   Crowds of beautiful Indian families were there to shop. It was festive and colorful. Ananya happily slept in her Baby Bjorn as we walked around.
     My sister can look at things and say, these shirts are from Lucknow.  These things are from South India.  They make these in Kashmir.  She also has the ability to dicker and discuss in Hindi with the shopkeepers, which came in handy.  Everything was already very inexpensive but she bargained everythng down . Every time I was about to make a purchase, no doubt at the 'tourist' price, she walked up and spoke loudly in Hindi and suddenly 300 rupees were knocked off the price.   It was impressive, to say the least.  I am not much of a shopper, but it seems I will make an exception to that rule during my visit here.  And I will definitely do my big purchases with Amy-ma at my side. 

    Women do not breastfeed in public here so my sis is naviagating how to manage being out with her baby.  We found a quiet corner in the back of the food stalls where she nursed her discreetly and we ate corn roti and almond ice cream. My sister will probably become Delhi's first Lactivist.  She can be an example to the middle class professional women who do not breastfeed their babies.  Her friend told her that only the beggar women nurse their babies in public. 

      There are no big box stores in India.  None.  No walmart, no Target, no drugstore like Longs or grocery store like Safeway.  Everything is picked up at little markets and bizarres.  In a city of 9 million people, isn't that amazing?  That is one of the reasons that Delhi feels like a village - no strip malls!       What India does not have in 'things',  it makes up for it in charm and character.   I wonder how long they will keep the big box stores out....

that's all for now,


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