Gawsia /noun/: a hellish maze, designed by the Devil himself that every man has to traverse unwillingly at least once with their mom, sister or significant other.
Since being a Bengali means you have to drive a hard bargain for whatever god forsaken commodity you are buying even if that means paying one obsolete taka less, there is no other place that literally screams bargain price for clothes but the swamps of Gawsia.
Gawsia is the ultimate test of your adoration. There is nothing that says “I love you” more than accompanying your beloved(s) to the humid sweaty labyrinths of the deviously sprawling market on a hot summer day.
So here I present a five-step guide to Gawsia for newbies. This guide contains everything that you need to know before and after you set out on your most tumultuous journey. Men, take note.
TAKE HYPERVENTILATION TRAINING
The first thing you notice once you enter Gawsia is the lack of breathable oxygen. The moment you step inside, you realise how big a mistake it was to come without scuba gear. The alleys after alleys of stores crammed together with low hanging ceilings overhead create a deadly inescapable gas chamber. It is of utmost importance that you train yourself beforehand in order to survive the claustrophobic trap.
CHANNEL YOUR CANTEEN SKILLS
Once you have mastered holding your breath, you will now need to paddle through what feels like the entire population of Dhaka city jam-packed in the already overcrowded place. In order to do so, you are required to channel your inner glutton. You must utilise the shoving skills learned from all the years of trying to acquire the last shingara from your canteen in the midst of a raving crowd.
DIP YOUR TOE IN THE WATER
You are now ready to begin your scouting through the infinitesimal infinite number of stores. But in order to get the best bargain you need to first get a feel of the trending fabric prices. Therefore, you are required to first visit a few stores with no buying intent whatsoever and act all smug till you figure out how the “Fixed Price” system works.
KNOW YOUR COLOURS
All those times that you have joked about how girls know the million shades of grey and guys just see the basic colours, well, those will come back to haunt you. As your mom scavenges through the stores searching for that particular shade of blue despite every store owner's constant claims of their fabric being “same to same, ek colour” as the sample, you will start wishing that you had actually learnt all the shades instead of mocking the glorious knowledge. Know your colours well to speed up the process.
STRIKE A BARGAIN
Finally, you are now prepared to purchase. You need to drive a hard bargain. The key to mastering the art of bargaining is confidence. No matter what price the salesman asks, you offer one-third and walk away. More often than not, you will be left amazed how this technique works like magic. However, if you show even the slightest of hesitation in your road to becoming a miser, you will hand them the leverage. Shameless confidence is quintessential.
Hopefully this guide will serve as Ariadne's thread as you conquer the labyrinths of Gawsia and come out a victor like Theseus himself. Cheers.
Nafis Imtiaz Onish believes grinning is the answer to everything and avidly loves art, astronomy & all things nerdy. Send him Carl Sagan fan art at firstname.lastname@example.org