- Waiting at the bus stop with Ashok
Yesterday we had to go to Hubli, the nearest big city as we had to pick up elastic for the children’s trousers, chose some buttons & source material for a new design. We met Ashok at the bus stop, jumped on the rather rickety government bus & drove for over an hour to reach our destination. We drove through endless cotton plantations & mills with tonnes of raw cotton laid out waiting to be packed. We passed Ox carts laden with bundles ready to go to the mill & huge brightly decorated trucks packed full of cotton on its way to the bigger cities, where it will be spun into fabric.
Hubli is like most Indian cities, where cows wander around rather lazily, holding up the traffic & generally getting in the way. Pigs scurry in the ditches looking for food & people like to honk their horns very loudly & pretty much constantly. Anyone who’s ever been to an Indian city knows that they are deafeningly loud. [caption id="attachment_226" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Hubli"]
[/caption] Our first stop was the button shop, where the shelves were packed with box upon box of buttons in white & black. If you want coloured buttons, Hubli isn’t the town for you – you’d have to travel another 18 hours to somewhere like Mumbai. Luckily I was after plain white buttons, so I was spared a day on a hot, sweaty train. [caption id="attachment_223" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Button Shop"]
[/caption] Next stop was the elastic man; not much to report, apart that it was stretchy & white & elasticy & I bought 15 huge rolls of the stuff!
I’ve got a new design for a smart pair of silky, evening Marzipants, or Smartipants as I call them. I’ve already got a few advance orders from friends of mine who saw the sample & fell in love with them. As it was a last minute design that I only completed a few days before leaving home, I didn’t have time to order any fabric in advance. The wonderful thing about India is that you can find pretty much any fabric, in any shop, in any colour that you can imagine…… unless you’re in Hubli, on a tight schedule & you’re after something specific. Then, as I found out, it tends to be a bit of a pain in the a**e! [caption id="attachment_221" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Fabric Shop"]
[/caption] We trawled round every shop in Hubli but no-one had what we were looking for. It was getting dustier, hotter & louder & I was beginning to think that a trip to Mumbai was going to be on the cards after-all. Eventually we found a man who said he could help, but we had to wait as he was short staffed & loved the sound of his own voice. What would take a normal person 2 minutes to explain, took him 10 & he had a tricky customer in front of us. So we waited & we waited & we waited – for 2 hours in total! After a lot of chat on his behalf & a lot of head nodding from me, he bought out the fabric I had been looking for. It was perfect; the perfect weight, the perfect shimmer, the perfect drape & the Smartipants would look amazing in them. Only problem was, he only had one colour & didn’t know what other colours were available. Back to a lot of chatting from him & even more head nodding from me & we eventually agreed that he would order a colour chart (which takes 5 days to arrive) so I could have a look at the colours & chose the ones I need. After a bit more chatting, he said he would then order the fabric for me, but that would take one month to arrive!!! I told you India teaches you patience.