Skip to main content

Birthday Curtain

There is a school concert coming up in the girls' convent school.  Mel is in the choir, so the only costume she will require is a pristine school uniform.  No problem there.  But Trish is in the Hawaiian Dance Group.  I know it is going to be wonderful.  (One of my favourite bloggers, Angela Norton, blogs from Hawaii!  Hi, Angela!). But last week, Trish came home and told me that while the top of the costume (a white spaghetti strap tee shirt) may be purchased in a local drapers, the skirt was to be made of a red and silver material called 'birthday curtain', easily available in a place called 'Aminabad'.

There are shops all over Lucknow, but Aminabad, in Lucknow, is the ultimate market.  It has traditionally been the one market where you can get anything.  It is a very traditional type of market and apparently, if you have the skill, you can haggle with the shopkeepers to get a better price.

But while every Lucknow housewife may have served her time negotiating her way around the lanes of the Aminabad Bazaar, as a foreigner, I've not had that privilege.  I live too far away for one thing.  Another thing is that being a foreigner, in the absence of a fixed rate, I can be quite heavily charged for routine items.  It hasn't really happened much.  My in-laws are protective enough of me and that works well at times.  My few visits to Aminabad have been in the company of sisters-in-law.  However, neither they (the sisters-in-law) nor I, have much time to browse in the bazaar.  So when the teachers in the school cheerfully inform me that  I should not worry, it's available in Aminabad, that is a cause of deep worry for me.  My in-laws try to avoid that distant market as far as possible.  And I don't know my way around it.

But thankfully, the day is saved!  Some of the parents have loudly protested to the school about the inconvenience.  So now, Trish informs, the school is going to send someone to Aminabad to bring the material.  The parents just have to send the money.

What a relief!


  1. What a relief, I would have been annoyed at having to get material myself.

  2. PS
    I will take your advice re Christmas, and God willing this year it will be special as I have a new grandchild on the way, due on the 21st.

  3. Gaelikaa,schools always come up with something,don't they?
    That is a very crowded market but I love to shop there,lots of things on display & not expensive at all.It would have been difficult for you to go by yourself,glad the school is doing the needful.
    What fun to have both kids in the concert!Hope you all have a great time.

  4. Well, that makes perfect, economical sense! I am glad they thought that up. It's nice your in-laws are protective of you and help you around. Shopping can be quiet an adventure.

  5. Haha! I know how shop keepers can charge foreigners, it is pretty much the same thing here as well! I really like bazaars, they can be crowded and packed up though!
    Well good to know you didn't have to pay it a visit!

    And thanks for the lovely advices. You are one of the best blog readers ever!! :)

  6. well, my best wish for you..

  7. I'm glad the school got its act together! I hope you can find the book!

  8. A lot of people, one being my daughter and sister-in-law, love to haggle and shop. I have know them to go shopping for 8 hours and not buy a thing! Jennifer loves Ross and Nancy loves QVC-believe me, she only buys the bargains! I, on the other hand, do not enjoy shopping. Even though I lived in Okinawa for a year, I never got the haggling down, mainy because I was unsure of what amount to start with. I always wanted them to make money, etc. Glad the school is buying the material!

  9. What is Halloween like in India?

  10. What a sensible solution. It pays to speak up.

  11. Hello my dear Gaelikaa!

    Please stop by my blog. I have an award for you! :)

    Angela from (Angela's Soliloquy)

  12. Hey Gaelikaa,

    How can I forget your blogs? The present is for your blogs too :), both of them. Take it!

  13. I never heard of 'birthday curtain', it sounds fascinating any chance of a photo of the finished outfit?

    Enjoy your daughters' talents at the concert.

  14. Learning a whole new culture is tricky even the first time round ....

  15. Such a sensible solution - it makes you wonder why the school didn't think of that in the first place.

    Enjoy the concert. I'm sure it will be brilliant.


  16. Schools have a habit of making life difficult for doesn't seem to have changed since my children were at school.

    Pity they couldn't have come up with the solution in the first place.


Post a comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog


Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind.

We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together would…

Five Ways Social Media Has Changed Our Lives

Has social media changed the way we live? You bet it has! I’ve been in India for 22 years and have visited home in Ireland maybe half-a-dozen times. The biggest challenge about this, for me, has always been coping with the difficulty of making contact with old friends and family. However, that’s all over now, thanks to Facebook. I check my phone every morning and read that uncle Ned in Dublin is furious over the biased referee in the boxing match or that my cousin Paula in Dublin went to see Take That in concert (or whoever!). I speak to my cousin Veronica in Scotland every few days thanks to WhatsApp. We haven’t spoken this frequently since we wrote to each other as kids. Social media has definitely changed our lives forever. I can think of at least five ways that social in which it has affected life as we know it.

Social media makes the world more accessible to us. This is a fact. The world is at your fingertips. Find out which of your friends and family are on Facebook and once you …

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture?
I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really.

The Journey
I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after I arrived in India, I was struck by the number of people who said things to me like ‘in the …