“Dashain, childhood, ways of celebration, preservation of culture, sacrificing animals” it’s what the newspapers are filled with these days. Its Asthami (the Eighth day of the Ten day festival) the media tells me. I haven’t been able to figure out the difference between the first and the eighth and how it differs from other “holidays” either. Had gone to stroll in the New Road cum Basantapur area and I was shocked by the crowd. Everyone knows that the streets are crammed with people shopping for the festival but I was shocked anyways. I was looking at people walking happily carrying multiple plastic bags after their shopping sprees and wondering “Why people shopped?” My sister told me that I had gone insane to ask such a question but I was just unable to comprehend it all. Seriously. Must be because crowds confuse me. It often happens to me when I walk on the dusty roads in Araniko Highway where no pavements exist: there is traffic jams, the vehicles keep honking at everyone and there is too much dust and noise to comprehend anything. Its feels as though I am in another planet where I don’t know how to act!
Still the fact remains Dashain is synonymous to shopping. Now, if there is one thing I have known about myself since a kid that is I hate shopping. Earlier I had the choice to keep hating it but now I am too old to be that stubborn as it’s a need not a choice. Last year I had written an entry on Dashain saying I sulked every time “shopping time” came and someone had commented “I see kids like you sitting on the middle of the road and crying”. But I was never such a troublesome child. I would refuse to budge from my seat once my parents told me that we had to go out (it could be anywhere, hospital or shopping). I hated to be among people, it made me extremely angry. So even though I would be forced to tag along I would not raise my head from the ground to look at any place or person. It was a typical trait of children who stayed back at hostel “Hamra palama” (during my time).
Streets of Bangkok
Now, shopping reminds me one place: Bangkok. I realized how I grown as a person when it comes to shopping though I was unable to understand a lot of things the girls did. For instance they’d say “Ooooh Pretty shoes”, try it for a hundred times, walk in it and not buy it. Still we would drop by the very shop every time we passed that route, she would try the “Pretty shoes” and be thoughtful again “To be or Not to be” sort of confusion. I was damn relieved when she bought it a day before leaving. God! Pretty Shoes?? I still don’t know what they mean and do I have to say I am not interested in girly shoes as I have no feet for them. So I stick to the ugly ones that cover everything, no showing toe or toe nails whatever. How can that stupid plastic butterfly on the shoe be pretty?? It’s useless, isn’t it? Ma ta baulauna matra sakina!
The other headache for me was buying “pretty bags” there. I wanted to buy that for mom and it was the first time I ever even looked at such bags! I don’t carry them so I had absolutely no idea what I was looking for. I felt the material (as I’ve heard they need to feel it) but again how am I supposed to know if it’s good as I haven’t felt ‘any material’ before. Finally a man (from the Middle East most probably) took the bag I had been confused about for a real long time. He turned it inside out, felt the bag and I thought “No sooner he will let it go, I’ll buy it. Now if a guy spends so much time on it then it must be good!” I did just the same. Btw I didn’t know that they have mirrors in the shops where bags are bought! I was really surprised at that, I mean bags aren’t t-shirts??
The only shopping I like is “buying t-shirts”. I bought eight t-shirts for myself in a row, Can you believe that? It is the biggest number of clothes I have ever bought myself. They were rather cheap too, the cheapest was 55 Bhat which is (Rs 110) and the costliest was 199 bhat ( Rs 400). The best part of buying t-shirt is that you just need to like them. I don’t go into other details so its easy .I would have closed my eyes and bought every t-shirt I saw in the streets of Pratunam and MBK if it were possible! We girls had this plan of buying a “Fateko Jeans” ( Torn Jeans) as a memoir of the trip but they were too costly ( 600-700) bhat which is Rs 1200-1400 so we decided why carry the extra burden back home! And though a memoir would be great, we were perhaps more hopeful of such regular trips to Bangkok to do that!! I don’t know what makes us think that, from where we are now it seems so absurd. Still it never hurts to dream a bit, does it? 🙂
The only shopping regrets I have from Bangkok, not buying the backpack I wanted so bad. It was hanging in the Punk Shop and had these danger signs all over and a metal chain. I remember it so clearly. I thought mom would remark ” Ke yesto bhoot vako bag kineko” ( What’s this bag with ghosts everywhere) but I know no one would have really cared! It’s just that I was too scared to shop (apart from the t-shirts) in Bangkok (first time vayera kya). We were staying near Pratunam ( the cheapest place to shop in Bangkok , we were told) so I had this hallucination even after days of being back in Ktm that I would just step outside and go to Pratunam and buy the bag.
One thing I really liked about Pratunam is that they have these shops which specialize in only one kind of good. For instance, one shop has only shirts, the other striped t-shirts only, another for dresses, another for jerseys. Too many options to get you confused as well as make you go “ma ta baulauchu hola” as Kali would remark on seeing anything “Green”. Another interesting realization for me was how everything looks good in girls. For instance the same “Sando ganji” is ganji (vest) in men but looks great in girls. Btw the girls did a lot of Sando shopping too. I chickened out at the thought of trying it out despite having the figure (If I may) LOL (laaj lagyo) ha ha ha lau ja baaal ho.. kati tarsinu?
Back to Kathmandu, there is no shopping for me at least. I think it is only the kids who get all excited about new clothes these days. Not that my friends haven’t done any shopping (who would miss the opportunity to do so, they say). Hope I am soon in the festive mood myself. I am feeling kind of lost at the moment, lost in touch with myself and everything around. Desperate to escape this place for a while, go somewhere new, lie beneath the stars and gulp down one or two bottles of Bacardi and forget everything! (I miss the Bacardi in Bangkok yaar) Till that happens
Wish you all a very Happy Dashain !
And here’s the best wish I have received as sms till date, it reads:
Sukha, shanti, shakti , swaroop, samyam, safalta, sambriddhi, sanskar, suswastha, samman, saraswati, sneha, sampati ra sadhvav sahit Bijaya Dashami Ko Suvakamana!