Souk culture: Shop till you drop, the Arab way

Stall owners are selling perfumes, bangles and shawls amongst other items.

Saadia Qamar August 07, 2013
The souk, set up on the fourth floor at Ocean Towers, is a rather unconventional platform for shopping in Pakistan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

KARACHI: Shopping malls and bazaars continue to be jam-packed in the last week of Ramazan as everyone gets in the Eid spirit. But if you are bored of the conventional shopping sprees and are ready to try out something fresh, then make your way to Ocean Towers and find yourself in an Arabian land of joys. From henna, perfumes and bangles to shawls, women’s wear, pottery making and even a tarot card reader — who claims to predict your future — the Arabian souk seems to have it all.

On the fourth floor at Ocean Towers, numerous stalls have been set up opposite the food court. “I have just set up my stall here. Otherwise I have one at Port Grand,” says pottery maker Abdul Khalid, who’s been in this profession for the past 15 years. “I am hoping some kids will drop by this evening or the next to make some pottery here with me.” Khalid is also selling some of his creations at the festival; clay moulded into animal shapes and figures.

Although there were barely any visitors on the first day, stall owners remain positive. Asim Shujrah, who is selling artificial jewelry, shawls and handicrafts at his stall, says that placing his products at Ocean Towers might be a great benefit to the crowd but “sadly, offering them our products, doesn’t seem to be the need of the hour.” Further elaborating on his statement, he said, “We have locals shopping around malls and bazaars but it’s high time that we request foreigners to drop by and visit our country.” He feels that the products he is dealing with are primarily souvenirs and thus, “What I am currently offering is not something for the locals but something foreigners would love to have.”

The festival, which began on Tuesday, will continue till Chaand Raat.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2013.

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