I have been in India for almost 5 months now. I am finding my footing although recent events had plunged me into a small depression. I was feeling powerless and kept asking GOD the power to let me accept things I could not change. Now, before you worry, it was nothing major but still I felt frustrated. I am not sure I am there yet but I hope that the worse is behind me. Letting go is never easy but sometimes it helps you reached peace of mind.
Now there are things I have power over here like shopping. Although, I have to say that I am not really satisfied. Pune is a small city but it has many malls that have name brands that can satisfy shopping addicts like myself. However there is no rapport between quality and price. I find that the finer things are often overpriced, and the not so fine things are cheap. It is almost hard to find something nice for a reasonable price. I am cheap shopper and although Japan was expensive I could find great deals at places like Gap, Zara and H&M or at thrift shops. But here, I hesitate to enter Zara because it seems so overpriced. And there are no Gap or H&M in my city.
Another problem I experience is that I cannot find my style here. For example, right now I am craving for a maxi dress but I looked everywhere without success. It is not that they are not (I found a cute flowery one at Next) any around, but it is just that they are way too expensive for me.
Maybe I am looking at the wrong places. I am sure things maybe cheaper at markets and such. I have to go explore places like MG road, Laxmi and FC road. The problem I have with markets is that they are often messy. You cannot find a decent place to park and there is no air conditioning or cover to protect you under the heat. You may look for hours for something you want without finding it. And what are the chances of finding a fitting room. Nevertheless, I am willing to give them a try because I cannot stay in this shopping rut for long (although my hubby may enjoy it). It is not that bad as I found alternative in shops like Max, Central or Reliance trends. The products although for a younger market, are trendy and very affordable. I can see myself wearing many tops and some shorts dresses from those shops. The Indian wear is also very diversified.
The thing that I enjoy the most about Pune when it comes to shopping is fairs. Once a month (or more) a fair will open somewhere in the city, whether on college ground or at a hotel. Vendors selling arts, crafts, jewelry, furniture, clothes will come from all India to gather in Pune. The fairs usually last a week or two. The week ends are packed but there are almost nobody during the week. We have been to three fairs already and bought good stuff like my bed cover from Gujarat or garden lounging chairs. I enjoy those fairs because they allow me to travel without moving. I get to discover new things and let me tell you that people in India are talented and creative. If you are into Indian arts and crafts, those fairs are a good place to start. First of all they are not that expensive (compared to shops around town like the Bombay store), plus you get to bargain (I am sure being a Firangi, a foreigner, I will always pay a bit higher than Indians but it does not hurt to bargain). The sellers are also very friendly and like to start a conversation about their art.
If you are around town this week, there is a fair on handicrafts going on at B.J. medical college ground in Camp.
Scarf- random 100 yen store in AEon Honmoku
Lacy top - random shop in Ishikawacho (now closed)
Bag - Daiso
Shoes - Sahara Fair in Pune
My new sandal bought at a random shop during the Sahara fair in Camp Pune. They were only 100 rupees (around $2)