To offer people from all walks of life the chance to celebrate Christmas, a non-profit organisation opened a two-day mini bazaar on Saturday, where gift items are available at affordable prices.
A variety of jewellery and Christmas decorations made of papier mache like bells, balls and eggs, handprinted gift boxes, colourful scarves, hand bags, linen and cards were on display at stalls set up by artisans from rural areas. The bazaar was organised by the Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy at their main office in Islamabad.
At a clayworks stall, 50-year-old potter Niaz from Saidpur village said, “I’ve come in the hope that people will buy some decoration pieces made from clay for Christmas.”
He added that the art has lost its worth in the past few years. “Now people are more interested in buying decoration pieces, kitchen utensils and crockery made of glass,” he said.
A foreigner shows a clay model from Niaz’s stall. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS
He recalled the “good times” when he used to earn between Rs8000 to10,000 per month. But now he is unable to even earn Rs100 to Rs200 per month from his claywork. “I’ve become a cook and as well as a butcher in order to sustain myself,” he said.
Tanzeema from Bhara Kahu had displayed colourful handbags made from polythene at her stall. “I’m trying to learn the art of making hand bags from polythene bags, which I collect from people’s houses.”
“I’m looking forward to starting my own business to support my family, which is passing through a difficult period due to financial problems,” she added.
Gablin, 65, dressed up as Santa Claus, warmly welcomed all visitors to the bazaar. He said he usually stands outside a church and distributes sweets among children on Christmas, so dressing up as Santa was right up his alley.
Gablin has been roasting turkeys on order especially on Christmas at his shop in Chatta Bakhtawar for the past forty years. What he does not like, however, is how prices in Pakistan go up on religious festivals, instead of going down.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2012.
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