As we live in arguably the “most dangerous country in the world” (thank you, Newsweek!), we’ve all gotten into the habit of checking out security forecasts, issued by various diplomatic missions, before stepping out of our homes. While the very important among us get SMS alerts, or emails, warning us about the day-to-day “skority” situation, the less important -- like my husband and I -- have to make do with tid-bits which are passed on to us much like in a game of Chinese Whispers.
Often my husband and I end up giving our friends goose-bumps when we tell them about our escapades of the night before; and often, we suspect, they just cry wolf because they are plain jealous!
Today, I decided to ignore the “skority” forecast yet again and hit a perpetually out-of-bound area. My partner-in-crime was not my husband, but two friends, whose presence made the “skority” situation even more interesting.
The three of us decided to venture to Peshawar More (no, not of the Nishtar Hall or Kissa-Kwhani bazaar or, more recently the bomb blast, fame) but a weekly market in Islamabad which is famous for its “Landa bazaar” (that’s flea market in Punjabi) and which I am sure none of our high-society friends would ever approve of.
Peshawar More is a completely out-of-bound area for foreigners, even foreigners like us who have brown skins and who have to pinch ourselves to remind ourselves that we are indeed in a foreign land.
The weekly market is neat, organised and very well-stocked. Perhaps, the only market in Islamabad where you can spend up to three “ghentas” (hours) and still feel you haven’t seen it all.
Though it wasn’t my first trip to the market, I was just as much taken in by the glory of the bazaar as my two friends. Behaving like starved shopaholics, we stuffed things hungrily into our “shoppers” (polythene bags, as they are called in this part of the world), mostly loading items we could have done without.
We traversed the many acres of the bazaar, trying to strike bargains and good deals – and at each success giggling like high-school girls.
In between we took time out to respond to our husbands’ worried SMSs and phone calls asking: “Are you guys doing okay?”
Sure we did okay. But since all good things must come to an end, we headed towards the exit promising to do a “skority" breach yet again.