Baubles, Bangles and Bindis!!!!

Look at all the lovely bangles! If you’re going to a wedding or any event, you must have bangles and jewelry to match your outfit. There are many small bangle shops, stalls really, along Commercial Street and the side streets that lead from it. Each shop has thousands and thousands of bangles, necklaces, earrings, hair ornaments, and bindis to choose from. My favorite place is “Trin Kets” . It is owned by a young man named Mujahid Khan.

When you go to buy your bangles, you must bring your dress, saree, or salwar suit to Mr. Kahn. He asks you what kind of function you’ll be attending, how elaborate you want the bangles, how many you want and so on. You sit on a little stool in the shade while he and his employees ruffle through the stock finding just the right shades for your outfit. You don’t have to worry if your hands are large or small, all his bangles come in sizes, from the tiniest baby to largest lady. He has every color–with sparkles, stones, gold, silver, copper, little dangling tassels; he has it all.

Tom’s office manager and personal assistant, Rashmi, is getting married on Friday the 11th. There are several parties to go to and I need new bangles for the dress I’ll wear to one of them. I brought the beautiful ghagra cholis I wore in February to the shop. Lucky for me, there weren’t too many other women in the shop at the time. My dress is made from several different colors of two-toned silk that is popular here this season. ALL the employees were keen to work on the project. You would think that the shop assistants in a bangle store would be women, but that isn’t so. It is almost always men!
Sorry the pictures aren’t so clear, I took them with my phone.
Since I’m going to a wedding party, I want the maximum number of bangles possible–48, 24 on each arm. The first step is to select several shades that match the dress and organize them in an interesting pattern or blend the shades to create a shimmery complement to the outfit. Mr. Khan thought a blend would look the best, so that’s what we did. These guys have the best eyes for color I’ve ever seen. First, he takes a couple colors and holds them next to the material. When he finds a pleasing combination, he rapidly arranges them on his fingers and thumb. He is very, very fast. After a few colors and textures, he takes an empty spool (normally used to display the bangles) and uses it to sort and hold the bangles. As he sorts and selects bangles, he continuously consults the fabric and the customer’s skin color. He calls out colors and combinations and the assistants run back and forth with more bangles.
Eventually, he has to see his selections and the fabric in the “wearing position”.

Here he is, wearing my skirt while an employee holds the bangles up for inspection.

“This is a very beautiful dress, Madam. How much did it cost?” In India, it is not impolite to ask the cost of something beautiful; in fact, it is a compliment! I don’t always feel comfortable with the question, especially if the item is costly, but I do tell from time to time. It’s a bit like saying “Wow, I love that dress! Where did you get it?” Sometimes I shop at Escada and sometimes Target, and we know the corresponding prices!
I was lucky today because I was the only woman shopping for an event. I got the complete devotion of the owner and was finished quickly. I have been there when he had a lot of customers, it can take forever.
Here’s the lovely set he made for me:

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