Delhi Diary- Everything

„We have to cheer you up“, says Mrs Rajasthani and no one would argue with Mrs Rajasthani. We are going to the market, says Mrs Rajasthani and it is a firm statement. I hurry up. At the market you can buy everything. Everything means not a plain, ordinary everything but everything implies here, everything that was ever produced on this earth. There are stalls over stalls, shops over shops and of course various vendors running around with more goods, including shoelaces, colored blinking torches, bags in all shapes and sizes and washing machine covers. I stare at the washing machine covers with unhidden fascination. Mrs Rajasthani snorts loudly. „You are not that kind of girl“, she says “ that bothers herself with such things“ and of course she is right. When we met for the first time five years ago I laughed out loud at her proposal to bleach my skin to get a fairer complexion. This happened even before I asked her husband to give us a hand in the kitchen. „A nightgown“, says Mrs Rajasthani, „I do really need a new one“. I nod. Two minutes later she shows me a horrible thing with a rabbit printed on its print: „I need more sleep.“ I shake my head. The vendor brings more nightgowns. Most of them  black, but not black as in black lace but black as a bag full of coal and similar shaped. The other ones have horrid flowers printed on them. I sigh. „What’s wrong with Indian men, making you wear black nightgowns that let you look like a black widow or a silly petal? Mrs Rajasthani giggles: modesty, she says still catching for breath. „What happens in bed, stays in bed“, say I and Mrs Rajasthani cries: „You are impossible, Read On.“ In the end we find her a pretty nightgown with pink polkadots and spaghetti straps, when the vendor hands the bag over to her, Mrs Rajasthani blushes. We eat freshly made Momo with chicken, vegetables and incredibly hot masala sauce before we look for shirts for the children. We buy pink shirts with butterflies and red ones with motorbikes, green shorts and yellow trousers. The shirts and shorts you buy here, you will never see in European shops, not even in those who think it is the good right of every European to buy a shirt for three Euro and a pair of shorts for four without lying awake at night wondering how this can be and who pays the price for the good bargain. All the shirts and trousers you buy here, have stains and lopsided seams, missing buttons here or a missmatching set of colors there, all clothes you buy here have been sorted out as „rejected goods.“ The European consumer is very quality orientated someone told me a few years ago and when he laughed it sounded bitter. Mrs Rajasthani complains that I insist on paying but as the impossible one of the two of us, I get my way and we are getting sweets for dinner, I bargain hard for dried fruits and Mrs Rajasthani bargains harder for fruits and vegetables. The vendor asks Mrs Rajasthani if I am in sales as well.  „No, says Mrs Rajasthani, she is just impossible.“ The three of us smile and we are not allowed to leave without trying most delicious dried kiwi. When we leave the market with all our bags and things two Moto-Rickshaw drivers are getting into a fight, pulling each other’s hairs and making good use of their fists. A group of men, women and children gathers quickly to have a look. They fight about the value of 50 Rs , a ridiculous sum one might say, but that’s easy to say and here nothing is easy, neither to be said nor to be done.

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