11/04/2017 – Shopping in Surat and Navsari
I think the picture I had in my head of Surat was totally wrong. The picture in my head of Surat was a small town where agriculture is its main activity and the land ripe with fruits and vegetables.
Instead, Surat is a beautiful city. The architecture is up and coming. It’s the biggest textile city in the world. The contrast between now and then is clear when it comes to its buildings. And I love it. We see all that Surat was before and all it is now.
At 8am, our driver picked us up and we proceeded into central Surat to shop ’till we drop. The best part of Surat is hearing everyone speak Gujarati. I think Gujarati is so beautiful and hearing everyone speak it, is heartwarming.
Before beginning our shopping journey, we went to the Darul Uloom in Surat. The Darul Uloom was founded in 1870 which makes it 147 years old. This would mean that it has 147 years of knowledge that was imparted and you can only imagine how many ulamah and huffadh have qualified here. I think that’s an amazing feat.
I noticed that the Muslim Indians love the colour green. Green is a colour that is closesly associated to Islam.
A friend of mine back home told me of a place that sold really pretty clothes in Navsari so I was insistent that we drive down, buy a couple outfits, go back to the hotel and just chill.
Boy, was I wrong.
The drive to Navsari from Surat was under an hour long and I slept most of the way. We stopped on the way for sugar cane juice which was freaking amazing. It was sweet and chilled. To give it extra flavour, they add masala. This juice was the best and the fusion of the sweet and spicy was perfect.
The first shop we went to was a kurta store that was on the second floor of a building. It had a balcony that overlooked the streets of Navsari which reminded my mum of old madinah and it’s gallies.
Navsari was very, very hot. Temperatures reached 42 degrees but we were still offered chai at this store. It was hands down the best tea I ever drank in my life.
After the kurta shop and the amazing tea, we went shopping for Indian outfits. We walked streets looking for the perfect Indian outfits. These perfect outfits didn’t exist. I have this concept that if I don’t absolutely love it, I won’t buy it. I counted myself as lucky to find one outfit that I absolutely loved out of the hundreds I saw.
The salesman at the stores take out one dress after the other. Different styles, colours and patterns. You actually feel so bad because they take out so many dresses to show you but you end up not liking or buying any of them.
We had lunch at a restaurant called Dawat and the food was absolutely delicious. We ordered chicken biryani and mutton kadai which was prepared in true Indian style: spicy.
After lunch we drove back to Surat where we went to another market in search of desi worthy outfits but to no avail.
But we would not give up and our search continued in Surat. We went to Chota bazaar, G3, PARIS, Vivaah. You name it and we went there. But nothing appealed to the South African desi side of me. Thus our hunt ended and we hoped that we would have better luck in Mumbai.
We ate Subway for supper and hurried back to our air conditioned hotel room.
Step count: 9 762 steps.