Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday, May 23, 1997

The last day in Bombay I got to spend with Sunita and I loved it!

She took me shopping first off. Who wouldn't love that? We went to a place called Cottage Industries. It kind of reminded me of a two story flea market in Branson, but with actual bargains and truly awesome stuff. This is were I bought all of my souvenirs. They weren't tacky stuff like what you'd normally find. Or maybe they were and I just didn't know it.

After that was my favorite time in this city. We went sari shopping at the bazaars. Sunita took me to the best sari man in town and, to put it mildly, it wasn't what I expected. It was better! The shops were set up outdoors and (I hate to use this analogy again) like a flea market. Instead of being a store it was more like a booth. The proprietor sat cross legged in the floor and had saris stacked to the ceiling (tent top) on shelves. He had a helper that would shimmy up the shelves to retrieve and then refolded and put away. The owner was there strictly to barter and collect money. He never stood up the entire time I was there.

I showed Sunita what I wanted and she bartered her ass off. Those two were just going at it. When she was satisfied, she nodded. I got some of the most beautiful fabrics I've ever seen in my life and got it for a song. Next, Sunita said I needed petticoats and a protective binder to protect and create a hem for my fabric. I ended up getting those, yards and yards of silk, and five packages of bindis for about 27 American dollars. Unbelievable.

After that she took me to get some sugar cane juice. There was a cart set up and long stalks of sugar cane laying around. To make the juice, the vendor took stalks of the cane and put it through a press. Juice would come out the end and into a cup. Then he halved a lemon and squeezed the juice into my cup. It was very mild-not nearly as sweet as I anticipated.

Sunita lives in a 'joint family with my in-laws and brother and co sister-in-law'. She has a three year old son that loves lions. We sat and swapped family stories and even though we live across the world from each other it was amazing how similar her life was to mine. She was my age, had a job similar to mine and kids the same age. I just didn't feel that different from her-other than the physical. She kept lamenting the fact the only thing I would see of India was Bombay. 'I wish you could come to my home. There the air is pure and we are surrounded by great beauty'. I'm kind of bummed too. But I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

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