Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thank you Emma!

Your donation helped fund my birthday present… which is quite possibly more wonderful than even a laptop. Especially when buying it. I've never enjoyed shopping, but this was enjoyable.

Mom and I have wanted to buy a sari (or saree, depending on your preferences) in India since… forever. So on December 13th, our second full day in Delhi, we went shopping, leaving late and coming back much later.

After taking a bus and a metro and walking a while trying to figure out the map and make mom stop and wait for us, a nice man stopped and helped us out, advising us to take a tuk-tuk for ten rupees down to the shopping centre.

We arrived at Nirula Handicrafts Bazar House of Cottage Arts, directly into what looked like a storage room for fabrics. It had wooden floors and wooden walls, and shelves and cubbies up to the 12 foot high ceiling.

A man came up to us and asked us if we'd like to see the carpets, so he took us to a doorway to the right and led us into a storage room which must have had… a thousand carpets? All stacked into large cubbies. We looked around a bit, then went back into the fabric 'storage room,' and then went to see the jewelry. It was very pretty, but not for us. (Eventually we bought some jewelry— 3 pierce-less nose rings for 1000 rupees, $20)

A woman in a black sari with purple embroidery came and asked us what we'd like to buy. Since we'd discussed this before, I said a 'punjabi,' which is basically a long shirt over leggings. She took us to the decorative ones, before Mom explained we were looking for something practical.

After looking through about three dozen tops, we each found a punjabi that we liked, selected the leggings, and dragged Dad over to pay. (Dad and Ioan probably saw every corner of that store in the time we were there.)

After Dad had paid, the saleswoman asked Mom what she would like, and Mom smiled shyly yet excitedly at the same time. "I would like a sari." She says.

All my spirits plummeted. We'd already paid for the punjabi. I needed a sari (I need to buy very few things. About 80% are necessary for my continued happy existence.  The other 20% I only really want. This was in the 80% category.)

After wheedling and drawing the 'fun-donation' card (We only received SOOOO much money! You can spend this for my birthday present! I only turn seventeen once!), Dad and Mom relented and I started looking for a sari.

The fabric storage room actually stores hundreds of saris and punjabis, all in clear plastic bags about the size of a MacBook Pro, only a bit wider and less long. There are about 20-25 saris stacked one on top of the other, and about three stacks per cubby. There are about eight or ten cubbies, and the saleswoman tells us that there are many grades of quality, and that it's best to buy one grade above the 'cheapest,' because it lasts much longer but is only a little more expensive. We nod understandingly.

She asks me which colors I like (Mom has already selected hers— a two-tone pink and orange with silver embroidery), and then starts pulling saris out.

She takes them out of the bag to show us the workmanship, the design, everything.

A sari is about 5.5m long. These saris also have the blouse's material woven on with them— once you buy the sari, you can cut off this material and make the blouse that you'll wear under the sari. Optionally, you can have the store make the blouse for you. In total, the material we're looking at is about 6m long and 1m wide, embroidered with flowers on the visible parts (the part that goes over your shoulder, for one).

After looking through a variety of aqua greens and emeralds (I like blue-green. A lot.), I decide on one that has gold weaving at the ends. It's mostly aqua green, and has small flowers embroidered on it.

After getting fitted for our blouses, and ordering a petticoat as well (this has a string which the sari is tucked into. When not using a petticoat, one can use a shoelace. Both are very comfortable.), we drag Dad over to pay.

The saris are due to be delivered the next day, and while visiting more Delhi sights (the red fort), we try to head home before 7pm, when the saris are due to come.

It's 8:30pm when they do come, but Mom and I rush off to try them on while Ioan and Dad rush off to buy some food.

As my sari is starched, it doesn't hang down quite right in the middle— this will be remedied when we wash it. By hand. I'm not sure where it will hang up to dry… or where we'll wash it, but so far I love it. A lot.

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