Finally got to bed at dawn, vainly trying to adjust my biorhythms to a suddenly polar cycle, so it was early afternoon before I really got myself down to banjara alley. I clambered up on the platform and sat amidst the piles of old textiles, diving on in. It’s increasingly clear that the old style banjara textiles are done, just disappearing from the markets. I did find 16 pretty nice old pieces today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s my biggest score of the trip, banjara-wise. On the other hand, I can’t wait to get back to Jaipur where I can get even closer to the source of the gorgeous vintage Gudri cotton blankets I love. The fabrics get my blood moving, somehow.
Tomorrow I hire a car ($20-25 including driver and some mileage limits) to take me in the deep Delhi ‘burbs, Tughlaqabad Extension, to hunt for antique furniture. If it doesn’t eat up my entire day, maybe at night I’ll get to visit some folks with whom my sister Jenny recently connected on her first trip to India, family of friends sort of thing. I’m loaded down with gifts from Jenny to them, so better I see them before lugging their goodies all over Vraja and Rajasthan.
Feels like the week is starting slowly, but actually I’m ticking some things off the list too; got my bindis and bangles all taken care of today, tomorrow get the furniture ball rolling, and Thursday go to Old Delhi for musical instruments, statues and a visit to the fabled Gulab Singh oil house.
The big question now is: next stop Jaipur, or Vrindavan? Holi is coming up in about a week so that’s a factor in timing: it’s like Christmas in the States in that work utterly shuts down for one or more days. In plenty of places, the unusual temporary release from the restrictive norms that the color festival of Holi allows also breeds an element of chaos or danger that can be more than I feel like dealing with on the streets. Then the question is, where to hunker down inside a room or a compound for a few days? Vrindavan gets first dibs on that, I think, for now at least.