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Ihr Lieben, dieser Text stammt aus meinem Tagebuch aus Indien und ist daher auf englisch verfasst. Bis es den be better Blog auf zwei Sprachen gibt, hoffe ich, Ihr könnt meinen Erlebnissen auch so folgen und wünsche Euch viel Freude bei unserem gemeinsamen Ausflug zum indischen Weihnachtsshopping! 

The market in Mapusa is a loud, hectic, smelly place.

About 45 minutes from my haven home by the beach there is no trace of the peace and quiet I have here. Bigger cities in India represent pure chaos. It is hard to imagine how many people on mopeds, in rikshaws or in honking cars fit on a street. It is a constant honking and squeezing in four lanes where you normally could only fit one single lane. So already the way to the market requires a lot of concentration and takes a lot of energy from you. The market itself is even more turbulent: comfortable chilled shopping- not to think of! Every single milimeter is covered with stalls selling EVERYTHING: vegetables, fruit, underwear, kitchen items, lottery tickets, spices, bags, shoes, incense, jewelery, saris, fabric, blankets, fish, meat and at the moment- christmas deco! It glitters, rattles and smells in every tone you can think of. Here you really get an impression of the overflow of impressions on your senses in India! Old ladies sit on the ground offering their harvest, protecting themselves from the sun with umbrellas. On each corner you hear: „Madam, Madam, buy nice Pashmina, good prrrrice, only 300 Rupees!“ … „Madam, Taxi?“… „Madam, want to carrrry bag?“ (That is how young boys offer their services to carry your shoppings). „Madam, eat some apples, oranges, chikoos!“ (Chikoos are very yummy fruits looking like kiwis but tasting a little bit like marzipan, my favourites!).

„Madam, Madam, buy nice Pashmina, good price, only 300 Rupees!“ … „Madam, Taxi?“… „Madam, want to carry bag?“

My first visit here was a shock, ich paid too expensive prices often and spent hours to get rid of the vendors and carriers. I think, i spent half my money on shopping and the other half went to the beggars who reach out with their skinny hands from everywhere. The old women begging, small children and crippeled men still break my heart. But i try to pull myself together. Because i have learnt much in the past few years: how the women with babies on their arms often „rent“ these babies to then do their „job“ as beggars. The poorest of the poor families make some money with „renting out“ their children. The crippeled men often are put in this state when they are kids to make sure they „make more money“ like that. It is shocking and very hard to not want to take them all home. Every time i am travelling here the feeling gets stronger of wanting to do more, to help more!

Nowadays i do not see the market with tourist eyes any more. And today i am actually on a „business-trip“: i need to buy deco for the resort and want to get cushion covers made for the Yoga shala. The tailors and fabric vendors are located on the little road with shops that frames the market. I do have my regular tailor by now. He does a good job and he is reliable. I have brought a sample and pick the right colour directly. Actually very simple, you would think. But i am in India: … The fabric vendor calls his tailor and the ritual begins: for about 15 minutes there is measuring, moving fabric and discussing going on. To do things easy and direct is just not their piece of cake. As I ask for the price at the end he wildly tipes on his calculator to finally present a number to me. I ask my usual question (that is part of the ritual and that i had to learn first): „Can you give me a discount?“ The obligatory shaking of the head follows, i ignore it professionally. After that he generously says: „Ok, you pay 2300 Rupees. This is my best price.“ Deal done. This is the way how almost every purchase functions here. Except you are a tourist and pay first price all the time.

Nowadays i do not see the market with tourist eyes any more: I ask my usual question (part of the ritual I had to learn): „Can you give me discount?“ Obligatory shaking of the head follows, i ignore professionally. After that he generously says: „Ok, you pay 2300 Rupees. This is my best price.“      Deal done.

Those times are over for me. Same with my friend Greta from England who came today to support me. She and her husband (and now their baby boy) have been travelling to India often. After we have done all neccessary things we slow down a little to do some christmas shopping for our beloved ones. At a pashmina stall Greta reveals the bargaining professional in her. Generally one rule counts: the more you buy, the better the price gets. Quantity discount indian style.

The offer on christmas deco seems to get bigger each year. Tinsel and Santa Claus have moved in to the indian market place. And so it is sparkling and shining on every corner. From a tinny sounding speaker they sing „Santa Claus is coooooming to town…“! And slowly some kind of christmas mood starts to bulid up inside me- even at 30 degrees celsius.

The offer on christmas deco seems to get bigger each year. Santa Claus has moved in to the indian market place. Some kind of christmas mood starts to bulid up inside me- even at 30 degrees celsius.

The only space on the market that provides a little bit of tranquility and coolness is the flower hall. Here all the numerous flower garlands are made that get used for decorating the temples, doors and deities at home. Inside the hall young girls and older ladies sit on the floor in front of huge baskets filled with blossoms in all shapes and colours. The smell is divine and there is a nice atmosphere. The women that nonstop put flowers on strings and thereby create little pieces of art look very graceful. What a benefaction to take a short break here! We buy a beautifully smelling jasmin garland from an old lady. She puts it into our hair. The price: 10 Rupees, about 20 cents. She must have been working on that for at least half an hour…

I buy a beautifully smelling jasmin garland from an old lady. She puts it into my hair. The price: 10 Rupees, about 20 cents. She must have been working on that for at least half an hour…

Finally we go to a music shop that is not right in the market but a little into the city. I want to buy a „Shruti-box“. An instrument that imitates the humming sound of the tanpura. But this one is modern and electric, you simply plug it in and get the calming background sound for your meditation, your chanting our your yoga lesson. Or simply the „sound of India“ for your home. I buy the last „Shruti-box“ off the shop and am now the proud owner of an original indian instrument!

A successful shopping day it was indeed…. back in the village i cannot wait to unpack my goods. But first i need a deep cleansing. Because a day in Mapusa does not only make you tired but also very dirty! Luckliy the ocean is right in front of the door. And thank God i make it just in time to jump in with the sunset…..