We visited 3rd Edition of Made in Pakistan on March 24, 2012, (Saturday) in the evening. It was jam-packed. Rich and wealthy thronged to see the consumer exposition. Cars and cars occupied the slip road outside the Himachal Bhawan in Chandigarh, the exhibition venue, and the parking area. It was hot inside the venue. However, even astrologers and palmists found place for themselves. In alfresco area, Pakistan singer performed in dark. We could not see his face.
Crowd is a cure for craftsmen, but it was curtailing our enthusiasm. We looked for empty stalls, which were uncommon. At many occasions, the bodies came close and touched without any mala fide intention. The vendors just rolled and stuffed clothes sold in carry bags. Once the sale was concluded, money changed hands. That was it. Attend the next customer and then next… They did not have time to fold the clothes properly. Rumpling beautiful clothes was disappointing.
Many fat ladies, especially middle aged, ran the stalls. Their bleached faces to acquire perfect white complexion, died hairs straightened in saloons and bulging stomachs drew our attention. However, some women were really pretty. Black veils, unique to the Muslim community, were conspicuous by absence. The heads of some women were covered. Two women wore black traditional veils. The women spoke reasonably good Hindi. The accent was not strange either.
I was wondering, what was the difference between India and Pakistan? I find none. The people from Pakistan and the people from India have more similarities than dissimilarities. Their craft is similar to ours. This brief introduction with the Pakistani folk definitely narrates a different story.
Men wore diverse attire, for example, salwar (a few), jeans or pants. Only a few supported traditional beards, characteristic to the community.
So, does India-Pakistan animosity exist just at political level?
Salwar kamazee (both designer and ordinary) dominated the merchandise consisting of printed and embroidered fabric, white fabric with cross stitch embroidery, white georgette and chiffon fabrics, hand embroidered saris, bed sheets, pajamas, jootis and other handicraft. But sizes were not standardized. The kamzees were oversized -wide and very long. Although fully embroidered kurtas were affordable at INR 750.00, the apathetic vendor did not let us measure the size or check the colors. He was probably tired.
Another big issue was lack of trial rooms. Some visitors tried clothes in open stalls, which was not convenient. Discrepancies in the price of same items required haggling. For instance, price of a dry fruit basket made of shisham (Indian rosewood) with same style of carving ranged from INR 750.00 to 1000.00. The food court was a complete rip-off. Price of a water bottle was INR 30.00, double of the actual MRP. Did they bring water from Pakistan?
I did not find anything unique to Pakistan barring onyx tableware and show pieces, and Pakistani pajamas that reminded me of the geographical boundary. Then, why are we two separate nations that always keep fighting?