Meet Sunita - my Newman
The picture above is my friend, and nemesis, Sunita. In this picture she is stitching together a sample bag for my personal use from all the vintage banjara pieces she's collected, and sells at the market in Goa.
If you've ever seen the T.V. show Seinfeld, she's my Newman. Slightly less portly, of course. My interactions with her always involve a heavy bartering throw down, me giving in and then her stealing my designs! I get so frustrated by our exchanges but, I keep going back because she's also very charming and has the largest collection of Banjara. This is how a typical conversation with Sunita will go:
Me: "hello, Sunita"
Sunita: "hello, madam"
We'll size each other up.
Me: "How much for this piece."
Sunita: "1500 rupees. good price for you."
Me: "Sunita, this is not a good price for me. This is way too expensive. I can get a piece like this for half that from the guy down the street."
Sunita: "Take other piece madam. Cheaper." Pointing to a piece next to the one like
Me: "Sunita, this is faded."
Sunita: "Sun fading, madam. It's good, vintage. Trendy vintage."
Me: "It's damaged. I don't want a faded piece. So, what's your best price?"
Sunita: "How much you want to give me?"
Me: "i'll take it for 500 rupees."
Sunita: "Madam, you give me 1200."
Sunita: "1100. Best price."
It's a stare down. It's hot, I'm sweating and hungry....she's got me.
Me: "1000. Best price."
Sunita: "Ok. you take for 1000. Good price for you."
Me: "Ok, can you make this bag for me?" I draw out the design. "I would like to put this piece here. And, I want that coin piece on the front" (We get into another pricing debate.....)
Sunita: "Yes. Coin piece looking good. You want jingly coin or no jingly coin?"
Me: "Um...not sure, I think no jingly coin."
Sunita: "Madam, jingly coin good. Looking good with jingly coin."
Me: "I don't think I want the jingly coin. How much.?"
Sunita: "Madam, you take jingly coin. Jingly good, I give good price for jingly coin. Madam?"
She keep jingling the coins for effect.
Me: "ok, ok, I'll take the jingly coin piece."
We pull all the pieces together and I come back the next day for the bag, which looks great and I walk off with it.
A few days later I walk past her shop. She yells out to me "Madam, look." pointing upward to a row of bags hanging. "Sunita, that's my bag. That's my design, you can't sell my design."
She laughs. "you very good designer madam, good for my business."
My bag now jingles so much, it's annoying and every time I use it I think ......"Urgh.....Sunita...she got me again!"