September 23rd, 2006 – by: clearviews
Back in Delhi and the hotel and we thank our driver for the trip. During the journey he managed to find us a toilet that was usable and continued to keep supplying the cold water. He did get a tip from me when he came to my aid changing a large banknote to pay the vendor but not having the 50 rupees to give me at the time but it was too hard to explain! In the evening we went to our favourite restaurant ( the formica cafe) and tried some new curries. Next day Andrew went out to get a disc made of our photos and told me that there was a fabric shop he thought I might like to look at. On the way we stopped in a chemist and bought some cortisone cream for his hand and ended up buying lots of herbal tablets and lip creams for this, that and the other!
The fabrics were lovely but I really needed ready made stuff as I am not a seamstress.
Continued on towards the Channa Markets and spotted a barber working in a rudimentary tarp covered shop and Andrew popped in to have his hair cut. The price was 100 rupees ($AUS 3) and when the guy offered him a head massage and a shave he went for the works! I sat on a wooden bench just beside the 'shop' and watched the traffic squeeze past and the dressmaker's shop across the road. Five young women were there with fabric and were getting measured up. Andrew suggested I go and see what the go was but they had pastel fabrics that they wanted to sell me as I had pale skin and I wasn't taken with them at all.
After the haircut and a little chat with the barber's offsider who came back from lunch with his four year old son, we went back to the fabric shop.
a decorated water buffalo for the festival
It was now about 3.30pm. I enquired if I had enough time to get an outfit made up as we were leaving next morning at 3.30am! They said I could and would I like two? At 450 rupees each set of fabrics it was a bargain. I chose two sets of fabrics in strong colours despite the shopkeeper trying to once again get me to buy pastel colours. Really reckon with my fair skin I could have commanded a decent bride price in my younger days! I really wanted some lengths in a cotton fabric but they insisted that it was only for local consumption and not suited to my country. I tried to explain that it was hot where I came from but it was clear he didn't approve so I bowed to his suggestion. Then the guy asked if we were up to walking to the dressmaker.
Off we set at a brisk pace and the fabric man translated my request. The man said that the outfits would be ready at 7pm and we should return then. He charged 500 rupees each outfit as it was a rushed job and asked me to choose two necklines from a display card for the two outfits as he measured me up. We paid a deposit of 500 rupees and gave him the card for our hotel and room number.
Back at the hotel we were getting ready to return to the tailor shop at 6.40pm when there was a ring at the door of our room. There was my man with the two outfits! We were amazed and very happy with the outfits and paid the balance. One buys three ready cut, lengths of fabric and from the plain piece the pants are made.
They have a flat panel at the front which is in the patterned material which has pleats coming from the panel and has a draw string waist, interfaced cuffs at the tailored leg and are eminently suited to a full 9 months of pregnancy. The top is a long shift with short (long for winter)sleeves and the patterned length of fabric is used for this. Both of mine had glittery bits in the fabric. The other length is made into the long floaty shawl (dupatta). They are stunning. I have since found out that they are called salwar (sometimes shalwar) kameez's.
Dinner was at our favourite restaurant and it was early to bed for the pick up at 3.15am. Travelling at night time in Delhi is much easier than by day though the poor people were still visible asleep at the sides of the road. We are really counting now and there are only 4 sleeps to go after this before we are home. Hong Kong here we come!