My first ever visit to a typical jewellery shop, located in Durgapara, a crowded neighbourhood on the outskirts of Chittagong city. Residents of the area and some adjacent areas are mostly occupied by garment factory workers. The showcases of the shop were empty when I entered the shop in the morning hours. The empty showcases somewhat provoked me to ask the question to the only man present in the shop, Mr Dilip Das, if they sold any ready-made jewellery or is it that everything they sold was customized.
With a smile, he replied, ‘don’t worry, we have all the jewellery items like earrings, nose pins, bangles, pendants everything, tell me what do you want?”
I wanted to see their nose pin collections. While taking out the nose pins from the lockers, he told me ‘we display the jewellery in the evenings …when our customers come. Our customers are mainly the garment factory workers, so they usually visit in the evening after the factory closes.”
I said oh tai (oh really)! I think he may have read my surprised look. He then continued “they usually pay for the jewellery in small instalments, instalments start from Tk 500 to 1000, they pay instalments after getting their salary, and they only receive their ornament when they have paid their instalments.” He further added, “the most popular item here is an earring.” (28 December 2017)
Nazneen Shifa, is currently a PhD candidate, Center for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.