Our favourite hangout throughout the holiday was the plush Colaba Market. Near one end of it was our hotel, while the other end was close to the fabled Taj Mahal Palace. Colaba market is known as much for its generous sprinkling of cafes and landmark restaurants, as it is for being a popular tourist hub. No wonder it was lined on both sides with shops and stalls selling typical touristy stuff - comfortable pajamas and baggy tops, purses and totes, boho-chick jewellery, bangles, trinkets and earrings. From little Eiffel towers, owlets and feathers to Greek-style anklets, printed tees and shorts, there were endless displays of charming stuff all around. But at really exorbitant prices too!
I found 350-400 rupees to be their standard quote for the tiniest of things, right from a bracelet to a T-shirt. Now whenever an Indian hears a price that seems to be a little over the estimated worth of the product, they can judge that the seller is testing them. And then the classic Indian process of bargaining ensues - you stage a walkout, the shop-wallah calls out after you with an offer to reduce the price. You return with a haughty air and quote an outlandishly low price that makes him curse you inwardly. But he negotiates some more because looking at your clothes and camera, he knows you're a potential customer who shouldn't be let go of that easily. So he haggles and you haggle some more, and finally come down to a price on the lines of 150-200 rupees. With a smug satisfaction on your face, you gladly pay the price and collect your spoils, only to make your way to the next haggling joint - determined to get an even better deal.
Admit it, that's us.
Wondering if I bought anything or not? Well, a pair of baggy pajamas for myself and a really great handbag (with another smaller sling of the same colour inside it) for my sister. And needless to say, I got a great bargain on the bag and my sister really loved it. So Colaba market had a happy ending for me.
Stay tuned for more Mumbai Magic!
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