Sari shopping is an experience.
Ashlinn and her boyfriend, Havie, recently got engaged and they’re going to have a marriage blessing at one of the local temples. I am so happy for them and they are both absolutely amazing people. We also saw this as an occasion to go sari shopping.
Swargashram where our yoga school is located is actually not in Rishikesh city proper but rather a spiritual suburb. Last Wednesday, we walked across the Ram Jhula bridge to the auto-rickshaw/ tuk tuk stand and hopped on a ride 3 km to the city market in search for saris. After being in Swargashram where there only motorbikes and a few jeeps that function as taxis, it was kinda chaotic be to be back in a city. There were no more cows and a hell of a lot of vehicles!
We went to a sari shop in the busy city market and Schulpa, our classmate who is from Mumbai and I am probably completely misspelling her name, helped us. The small shop is divided into two sides with a mattressed show area and cushioned benches on each side. It is ceiling to floor shelving filled with packages of colourful, silky saris and any extra spaces are covered with mirrors.
The show area quickly becomes covered, thick with saris that are shown to us. At first, we thought there were so many staff in the shop – like 8 just sitting around.
After the number of saris that were unfolded to show us, I started to understand why there was so many staff! Some staff were in a loosing battle, refolding one sari for every six that was shown to us. Staff were throwing sari packages back and forth from one side of the store to another. Another staff was carefully embroidering jewels and sequins on another sari. It was a blur of colour and sparkle. They modeled saris for us to see them fully and wrapped them around us when we wanted to see how the colours would match our complexions.
They wine and dined us – or well gave us water and tea – to keep us going. Afterwards, it felt like we had run a marathon!
We went back today to pick up the saris as the blouses had to be made to our measurements.