The Daily WORD is BAZAAR
Nagpur’s Sunday street bazaar is a melting pot of cheap crap made in sweat shops all over Asia. My new $4 sandals may last a week or so, but I think they are kinda cute. I especially like the way they misspelled the name brand. They did not need to go so far to try to fool me. The gig was up when I tried them on. I wear a size 7 in that brand, not the size 10 that fit me today. My new 25 cent “designer” earrings will turn green before my new $2 “designer” skirt falls apart in the washing machine. Or maybe before I wash it. The first time I wear it. While giving a speech. The fun of cheap crap is the “oh crap” factor. Where will I be when the heel falls off, the skirt unravels, someone remarks, “er, is that mold growing on your earrings?”
When I think of “bazaar” I think of Morocco’s spicy souks, but the only smells at this bazaar were burned popcorn from a smoking pushcart and the usual poop.
The thrill of bazaar is the venue. Families charging down the street dodging other families, rickshaws, snack sellers, plodding cows, and some African guy I could swear I saw in Rome’s Piazza Navona selling the same plastic singing crickets. “Hi, Fred,” I said. He acted like he remembered me. Anything for a sale, right? He dropped his price as quickly as Drew Peterson drops his pants. But he failed in Nagpur as he failed in Rome.
I marched on to the used book corner. It was calmer there. Earnest students searching for used physics text books. Me, waving rupees for fiction, any fiction. I found a tattered book of lovely prose printed in New Zealand and UK — not in US. It cost more than my sandals. After the first page, I forgave Nagpur for not having a spicy souk. And I will forgive Nagpur when my heel falls off, my skirt unravels, and I throw away my earrings.
The point of this story is not the treasure of fine fiction or the seductive smell of souks; it is Fred and his plastic, singing crickets. I think he is an apparition. Please report any Fred sightings to this blog. If he shows up in Times Square, Red Square, Naperville’s Riverwalk, Cancun, or Piccadilly Circus, I am going to notify CNN.