I had a relatively slow day. As the early morn sun rays shone through my bedroom curtain, I lazily crawled out of bed, bathed, skipped breakfast and made my way to the craft market. I am privileged to be greeted by the magnificent view of Mt Meru each morning! I took a mental note to always appreciate the fact that I will have the luxury to view this wonder as long as I live here for now.
At the market, I was greeted by various beautifully crafted wares. The beads are transformed into earings, neck laces, table mats, anklets to mention but a few. As I walked around and interacted with the women, I couldn’t help but notice how they worked with one bead at a time with no sign of ever tiring. I requested to try out the beading work. I was offered a seat, on the bench, in between two ladies. One was creating a fruit basket using wire and beads, while the other was creating a necklace. I was given my piece of wire and a bowl full of green beads to work with. The lady on right, carefully demonstrated how to do the beading. I fumbled at first and slowly realised the task at hand was no fun. It was hard work!
The beads are slipped onto the wire by some application of ‘probability technique’. As you swish the wire through the bowl, there is a chance you may slip 1-5 beads onto the wire and sometimes, the swish yields nothing. You have to push down the scooped beads before swishing again. As I made numerous unsuccessful swishing attempts, I was discouraged. However, the women patiently cheered me on and advised me not to let the failed attempts to get in my way. Thy were right, I slowly learned to ignore the failures and focus on the next possible scoops.
After a few minutes, my right hand was feeling like a work out routine. I then Imagined how tired these wonderful ladies must be, swishing the days away amidst warm chatter and interruption of clients, mostly tourists. The clients were bargaining almost all the time. I was of course a member of the guilty party. Earlier, I had negotiated to half the selling price. I felt ashamed. We are bargaining these cheerful ladies into loss!
I sheepishly thanked the women for their generosity and warmth, in spite of the hard work they have to endure days on end. As I bade goodbye, I was happy to have learned one lesson for the day: Thou shall not bargain! The beautiful crafts are a result of hard work. The least I can and will do, is buy at the quoted price as a sign of appreciation.