The drive to Aurangabad airport was fun. I was a bit nervous about being alone after JP and Maggie left to return to CRHP. It was totally fine and I feel like the people I did speak with, especially the front desk clerk, were friendlier and more inquisitive than they were with JP there. Anyway, the driver spoke excellent English and asked me many questions. Where are you from, what did you see here, you love India of course (not so much a question as a definitive statement) and are you married. That last question created quite a flurry, well my answer did. this is time to get married, he said. Everyone wants boyfriend. Next year, you get married and bring him back here on your honeymoon. You call me. I give you my business card. You call me, I drive you everywhere in Aurangabad on your honeymoon. Yes you get married next year.
Well I’m glad that’s settled.
Then he took me to a silk shop. This happened because he asked me what I will do in Delhi and I mistakenly said shopping. He said and I quote, “Delhi is not a real city. Aurangabad is real city.” He went on to say they make silk, Himroo, famous all over everyone comes to Himroo for shawl, saree, something-somethings… He didn’t say something but I can’t remember the names of everything he listed. Best shawls. You get good price first customer of the day. Don’t buy in Delhi.
Everyone here is a salesperson. They will always give you the best deals.
So half skeptically I said yes thinking what’s the worst that could happen? I am taken to some factory and beaten within an inch of my life and chained to a wall to rot to death or get eaten by wild dogs? And that’s so bad because…
But I always pray Thy will be done and apparently God’s will this time was for me to buy the most beautiful shawls in Aurangabad. Oh excuse me, Bhima, my driver, said in the world. And they were quite lovely. It’s astounding to me that they are handmade. When you walk in the shop, there is a weaving machine and I got the idea that it was there for show mostly. There is a bigger building behind the store area where I imagine little children and women on the floor weaving like maniacs. They sure have mad skills. I loved all of them and the storekeeper was very kind and helpful enough to tell me which ones i liked the most. My driver had a good laugh when I told them I would come back for my wedding saree. The storekeeper’s eyes lit up and he smiled wide and said, oh for wedding you want THESE sarees! He was thinking… Score! The most exquisite fabrics I have ever seen, not that I’ve seen exorbitant numbers of fabrics. But man, they were gorgeous and beautifully crafted , again all HANDMADE. Etsy has nothing on this stuff. Some had gold and silver weaves throughout and the most intricate patterns. One was this totally unnatural shade of blue and silver and green, with a floral pattern around the hems. Yep I could see *someone* walking down an aisle in that getup.
I bought a few shawls and a table runner with an elephant and lion pattern, after the caves, so I was told. And a darling little purse with elephants on it. And altogether it cost about $80, not a huge discount but then again this wasn’t Pier 1 or whatever.
Bhima was very kind and funny. When we got back to the car he said see what you miss. Then he asked what I bought for my boyfriend. He said how much is the first thing you bought, then he asked how much was the last thing. The one that was more money, that’s for your boyfriend. Then he laughed and said he would like this. Doubtful he would like any of the things I bought … I mean if I had a boyfriend.
At the airport he gave me his card and he said see you next year. Stranger things have happened, that’s for sure. I said, ok. See you next year.