- The following descriptive article is an extract from a series of writings called “Peeps at Pakistan.” It is the bazaar streets as it appears to European eyes, and the sights which appear striking would be quite familiar to most Pakistanis. The style is simple, direct and an excellent model.
The shops in the bazaar are, as rule, of the simples nature-anarchway, a booth a hole in a wall. Upon a low platform the trader spreads his wares, squats beside them, and waits for customers. Let us stroll along a row of shops and see what they have for sale. The first shop has a crowd of customers, for it is confectioner’s and the Muslims, big or little, old or young, has a very sweet tooth, a liking for sweet things. The confectioner spreads his waresn tiers of shelves or on a counter made of dried mud and rising in steps, and at the back of his shop is a sugar-boiling furnace, where he is busy on fresh supplies, pulling candy or making cakes of butter fried in butter. He sells toffee covered with silver-leaf, candy flavoured with spices, and many kinds. of a sweet called laddu, made of sugar and curdled milk.
Opposite the confectioners is the flour-seller, and he too, is a very busyman, far from his stall the every-day wants of the people are satisfied. Great numbers of Muslims seldom touch meat, and the grain-seller furnishes the whole of their food. He has a great number of basket, and these are piled high with barely, wheat, lentils, flour, sugar, peas, rice, potatoes, nuts, dried fruits, and the like. He also sells ghee and sour milk. He has a big pair of scales to weigh out his flour, sugar, peas, or whatever may be called for but no bags to pack them in; he leaves that to the customers. One brings a cloth, another a basin, another a brass ewer for milk.
Many have nothing and they carry-away their purchases in their hands, or, if that be impossible, flour is poured into the corner of a shawl or the fold of a robe. One man unwraps his turban and knots his purchases into various corners of its, twists it into shape again and goes off with his day’s supply on his head. Butter and milk are carried away in a green leaf dexterously twisted into the form of a cup.
Here is struck at once that note of colour which enlivens every street scene in Pakistan. The people wear robes of every shad, and turbans and caps of every hue-black, white, red, green, yellow, purple, pink, and every colour of the rainbow-and a hundred shades of every colour meet and mingle as the crowds flow to and fro.