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September 27, 2020

Today’s shopping in malls miles apart from the past

Islamabad

September 27, 2020

“Growing up in Amarpura and now living in Bahria Town, somehow makes me sentimental about things that I saw when I was a kid. Back then, unlike many other kids these days, I spent most of my childhood accompanying my parents shopping in a traditional market,” says Aiman Batool.

I still remember quite perfectly, how I always accompanied my mom or my dad whenever they wanted to go shopping, and once we arrived, I would be all excited with the people, the colors, and of course, the food that I found in the market,” says Afsheen Abbas.

“I know how this sounds so unpleasant, compared to what the market has today, with the gigantic malls and supermarkets, but believe me the traditional market was interesting. There was so much going on within a traditional market — starting from seller preparing their goods, people negotiating, making transactions, people sitting around and laughing with their friends,” says Noor-ul-Huda Kazmi.

“From all the unique things in the traditional market, what attracted me most was the way people intermingled, smiling, and trying to make conversations. There was a human touch; there was a relationship that had been built,” says Beenish Fatima.

“When I wanted to pick up wheat bread and eggs for breakfast I just reknit my hair into a tidy roll, dusted the creases off my outfit and told my husband I’ll be back soon then walked down to Raja-ki-Dukan, a few yards down the road,” says Najaf Ali.

“My Kirana shopkeeper not only spoke to me in his local Potohari language, he also knew precisely what I wanted, did a few odd jobs for me to generate goodwill and was concerned about what’s happening in my family. He opened shop at 7 am, shut at 10 pm and also home delivered on a yell from across the wall of his house,” says Irum Ali.

“I can never think of trading this kind of comfort level for the modern-day trend of shopping in an air-conditioned mall, where impersonal touch-operated glass doors open silently and escalators carry you to even more materialistic pleasures,” adds Irum.

“I know we were no match to the residents of today’s posh localities who identify their dresses by styles and other items by brands, but still, we were happier going to the humbly anonymous shops in the city,” says Sadaf Zahra.

Sehrish Naqvi says: “For a woman like me the rate at which modern marketing megapolises are devouring the small, roadside Kirana and cloth shops is reason to worry. I shudder to face it, that fading signposts of a small beautiful city that my generation grew up in, are disappearing so fast that soon they will exist only in our memories.”