Weekly trips to the D.H.A Sunday bazaar
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
I still recall when my elder brother and I were handed down the responsibility of buying the weekly provisions of fruits and vegetables. My mother had convinced my father to do so citing the reason that we were old enough ,and my father not young enough, to shoulder the responsibility. Well that pretty much settled it and off we siblings were on a weekly journey to the Sunday Bazaar continuing to this day. At first we alternated the trips meaning one week the two elder siblings (Obaid and I) and the other two younger (Abdullah aka Doctor and Abdur Rehman aka Abher). But soon Abher went to study in Dubai and the duty was ours once again (yaay?). Anyway it is a wonderous and dangerous place where one can find everything from groceries to undergarments to books. Its……what……Makro? No, it’s not Makro! Let me finish. It’s a place where people of all ages, people from all walks of life, rich and poor can be found. Its……..WHAT IS IT THIS TIME!?!?………..what?….Jumah……Friday bazaar? No, it’s not that place either. Patience my friend. Finding a place to park your car over there seems impossible sometimes. Its………..NO NOT SADDAR!! Its Sunday Bazaar!!!
*ahem* Anyway before I digress let’s get on with the post. Yes, you can find anything at Sunday bazaar. But not like real jewellery or cars or cellphones obviously. The pictures are of the newly constructed Sunday Bazaar which DHA must have figured out was way overdue given the countless times the bazaar was closed due to flooding after heavy rains.
Well the new Sunday market is, I must admit, constructed in a well thought out manner. The space between the stalls is ample enough to ensure that people can walk without have to bump into someone after every other step. Also the cross breeze is wonderful as well. The stalls are not the old rickety do-it-yourself ones the venders build themselves every week but permanent concrete ones. And each stall and street is numbered on the side of the huge shades installed above every stall so even if you get lost or go to the bazaar the very first time; you can still find your way.
The labour for hire or ‘Mazdoors’ have been assigned orange and yellow jackets to show that they are verified and approved. The approval process includes verification of the CNIC card of the mazdoor or the CNIC of his father or mother if they are underage. Meaning if you have to hire one then hire one with a jacket as if they get lost then they can be found through the number assigned to them or if they run off with your stuff then they raid his house or something similar. Most of my time in Sunday bazaar is spent fending off the mazdoors who for some reason think a young hot-blooded burly youth like me would not able to carry the stuff he buys to his car parked a few metres away. And they don’t leave me alone even after I decline their offer to carry my stuff; replying with the phrase “Saab, samaan uthaiga/Sir, ill carry your stuff” to which I reply “Zahir si baat hai, tu meri gaddi theek tau nahi karne ayaa na?/Well obviously, you aren’t here to fix my car are you?” If that still does not work then I fall back to the tried and tested “Kuch nahi le raha./Not buying anything.” phrase which does the trick unless they stick around to make sure which makes it very awkward when the vender starts confirming whether I bought 3 kgs of Mangoes or 2 kgs.
Also a new and welcome addition is the extra security which I must say is very vigilant if the venders are to be believed who profess to have seen pickpockets being caught every week. I personally have seen the police mobile leaving the bazaar with pickpockets caught red-handed. Also I have heard from a reliable source (aka mom) how they freaked out when they found an unattended motorcycle inside the bazaar and were on the verge of hauling the bike out of there or calling in the Bomb disposal squad when the owner showed up making excuses about why the bike was where it was.
My sole reason for going all the way to Sunday bazaar is to buy the weekly provisions of fruits and vegetables. And as with all straight and sane men that is exactly what I do. No wandering at the other stalls to check if their tomatoes are better and no roaming the rest of the bazaar to see what is on sale. My testosterone fueled body would not be able to bear the torture and I hope when I marry then it is to a woman who can accept that simple fact.
So every sunday I head straight to the vegetable stall first.
And proceed buying the required produce BUT not without some playful manly lewd jokes like…
Which is where most of the action is. You have Acrobatics!
The gay art of fruit arrangement
And last but not least, speed fruit packing
The fruit stall is very pleasing to the eye with all the colorful fruits adorning every corner you lay your eyes on. Since picking out fruits is a chancy affair meaning you can’t always get sweet fruits; I always make sure to sample the ones I plan to buy. This time the sampling affair was enjoyable as Mangoes are in season.
To sample the fruits I usually head around to the back of the stall..
So finally after I purchase every fruit I can think off, I get to the arduous of haggling with the owner of the stall. But before that I have to get his attention and that is not always easy with so many buyers clamouring for his attention. That is when I go around back and pelt him with seeds of apricots or peaches after which he finally turns around sheepishly apologizing for ignoring me and we get to the haggling. I must say the pelting with seeds is dangerous if your aim sucks as once I hit a lady and ,before she could see where that came from, I was already halfway across the bazaar in the under garments section(and boy did people get the wrong idea when they saw me breathing heavily in the lingerie section).
There is one person that irks me a LOT. I call him the ‘mithi wala/sand ummm wala?’. Why? Because he yells at everyone to come and buy stuff from him. And he pronounces mirchi/green chillies like mithi/sand hence the nickname. If he so much as gets a glimpse of me then I try valiantly to ignore him while he tries to get my attention yelling “BHAIJAN, BHAIJAN, BHAIJAN!!! COME BUY FROM ME!!!”
Also one can always find many wide-eyed foreigners roaming the Bazaar and I usually try to make them feel welcome by not calling the ‘Infidels’ or screaming ‘death to the whites!!’ and by usually buying them some fruit that I notice them eyeing hungrily. But ever since I grew my beard most of them don’t even bother looking at me. Like this one here who appeared out of nowhere while I snapped a picture of the melons. Maybe its cause I look angry all the time? Well can’t help how my face looks like.
Fruits : Bought and packed
Vegetables: Bought and packed
Mithi wala: Looking the other way
Time to leave then…
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P.S: All pictures were taken by the author using his new Nokia N86. I tried taking a panoramic shot but people don’t always look where they are walking(plus no-one will obviously stand still) and while trying to take this one someone bumped into me.