The abundant collection of three pieces at Chandni Chawk.
The Everything Places
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
The constant hustle and bustle of the city seems to be increasing day by day as Ramadan is going by quick and steady. Stores all around Dhaka are buzzing with people on the verge of ending their Eid shopping that had started a week before Ramadan had even begun. Yet, nothing seems to be satisfying enough. One question on everyone's minds-- “where to get the perfect outfit?”
Different fancy stores around Dhaka have always had what most people want. But at some point you realise that all that shopping from such high-end design stores may just make you a little harsh on your wallet and, to add to that, your whole financial stability. Before you know it, you are broke and do not have enough money to buy your school books and stationary for the new term and after holiday school rush. And being the proud Bangladeshi university students that we all are, asking for money from our parents have become a big 'no-no' for this generation. The question remains but now with an addition-- "Where to get the perfect outfit at a reasonable price?"
Last week, I had quite the experience trying to figure out an answer to that question myself when I stumbled across a little place I like to now call, 'the everything place' (and for good reason), better known as Chandni Chawk. The apparent hubbub that we see on the gridlocked roads with cars sticking to each other was here too, just that the cars were humans. There were people every where I looked and I did not understand the hype at first until I hurriedly entered one of the stores to take a breath. The place, literally, had everything! The variety of clothing in the stores was unbelievable. There were three-pieces of every design and colour imaginable. I spoke to the store owner and found out that what I would normally get from a high-end store is available here too, as a matter of fact, better ones with amazing prices. The greatest part about getting three-piece garments is that you can make it with your exact fitting and add a little extra 'something' to it that makes it suit your personality better. The most common ones being sold right now are the long kameezes with lace or silk borders. These dresses seem to have hit the fashion scene in Bangladesh with a big bang. And getting a three-piece set of one of these for prices that start from only Tk 400 is definitely worth having to tackle the stampede of people in the bazaar. These three-piece garments can start from a comparatively low price and go all the way till the thousands depending on the design, material and intricacy of the work done on them.
As I was stunned with the prices and thinking about which three-piece set to buy for myself, I realised that most of these outfits are for women. I asked my friend, who was a boy, where they would get such brilliant varieties of outfits with such prices. All he had to do was point to the left. I followed him from Chandni Chawk, to Gawsia and finally came to Elephant Road (Science Lab). For years, I had known that Elephant Road was only famous for it's varieties in shoes and sandals since that is the only reason I would ever visit the place. On the contrary, I saw at least 30 or 40 different stores with abundant collections of panjabis for boys. I walked in each store, amused with the collections they had. With prices starting from Tk 400 all the way till Tk 3000-4000, these panjabis cost according to design. The most famous ones this season had to be the plain white ones with delicate embroidery work (karchupy) done on the neck and sleeves.
As I left the area, surprisingly, I was not annoyed by sweat trickling down my forehead or mud on my trousers. All I could really think about, on my rickshaw ride home, was which three-piece garments to buy for myself, my mom and sister from Chandni Chawk and which panjabi to buy for my dad from Elephant Road (Science Lab). I cannot wait to go back already and to those who have not discovered the wonders of 'the everything places' yet, it is time to get yourself prepared for some serious shoving and pushing as you come out of there with the shop of your life!
A young student choosing from the varieties of panjabis available at Elephant Road.