Blue Shoes in the Pink City

February 12, 2009

Johari Bazar

It had to happen one day.

I keep claiming that our prettiest clothes should be worn every day, and not kept for some “occasion”. After all, isn’t life the greatest occasion? Shouldn’t we celebrate every day?

Yesterday I went to the bazaar. To the jewellers’ lane, at dusk, when the narrow street is bursting with men and bikes. I was wearing flare blue jeans, a blue cardigan. And my electric blue Sergio Rossi flats. An utterly inappropriate outfit. If you add the oversized gold-trimmed leather handbag, you get the picture: I looked like I was a pathetic candidate to “Who wants to be Serena van der Woodsen”, only I was walking down a pretty atmospheric but nevertheless dusty, dirty  lane of Jaipur’s old city, at the time when the sun sets and the girls get locked in.

I had not planned to go to the old city. I went out for V.’s wedding-dress fitting and to pick up some dry-cleaning. Yes, I wear Sergio Rossis to pick up the dry cleaning and may I just ask: why not? I believe that life is a feast. I think that if you make an effort, life will make one too.

Now do you understand why I gave up philosophy?

Right. So does my Marxist college professor.

I really needed to pick up some jewellery tools: scale, tweezers, ring-sizer, etc. You only find these tools in the bazaar.

The jewellers’ lane, Gopalji ka Rasta, if you care to visit it, is not too bad. It’s a little congested and strictly male-populated, but it’s not scary.

Far down the lane, I finally found the tool shop. One of these tiny little spaces where guys sit on the floor. I was invited to sit down. But for this, I had to remove my shoes.

I bit my lip, overcome by a dilemma.

If I didn’t remove my shoes, I’d have to keep standing with the men at the entrance of the shop. They’d get curious, I’d get irritated, there would be some sort of scene. Now if I did remove my shoes, would there soon be a polyester-sari-clad Indian woman shopping for vegetables in electric blue Sergio Rossis? Because hey, that would be pushing my sense a humour a little far.

No, I thought, nobody was going to grab my shoes. Have faith, darling.

I went about buying my tools. It was fun. I got this stone-grabber that looks like a head-massage thing. I got a real scale. I drew the line at a Rs 20,000 gold tester. But maybe one day.

When I left, it was getting dark.

My tools packed in newspapers, I walked through the sea of bikes and men and honking cars pushing their way through the mess.

My pretty blue shoes, I thought. Well done. You surely have seen the world.

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