By Homer Garner Barnett
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Additional resources for Being a Palauan: Fieldwork Edition (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology)
In front of the counter, almost nose to tail with the meat, and giving the impression of an audience waiting for a performance to begin, sat my husband, Dean, two men I had just met—Mr Goggia and his nephew, Anuj—and I. Qureshi looked over to his customers, quietly awaiting instruction. Old Mr Goggia muttered a few barely audible words. The butcher selected a shoulder and rack of mutton, placed it in the centre of the tree-trunk chopping board, slowly sharpened his well-worn cleaver, then reduced the whole lot to a neat pile of pot-ready chunks.
As you emerge dazed from Chawri Bazaar station, you might wonder whether the city’s gleaming new metro system, as well as being miraculously efficient in the midst of all the madness, has been fitted with the power to transport passengers back in time. Many visitors return from Old Delhi depressed by the medieval chaos, filth and hardship of everyday life there. They’re appalled at the sight of glue-sniffing children, limbless beggars and the rows of day labourers hunched over their pots and paintbrushes waiting patiently, but usually in vain, for a few hours’ work.
At the uninspiring Mother Dairy kiosk, I bought milk and tomatoes. Everything else involved a car journey. First it was off to C Block Market—like an E Block Market with aspirations. Here was Shevik’s toyshop, a picture framer’s, a children’s clothes shop and a grocer who could whistle up pasta and olive oil. To buy the wine I needed I had to scramble down into a dingy basement to jostle with sweaty men in vests and lungis buying their quarter bottles of liquor and suffer suspicious looks at being a lone woman in such an establishment.
Being a Palauan: Fieldwork Edition (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology) by Homer Garner Barnett