As a tourist really, wielding a dollar, I’m automatically a privileged class. A bumpy dusty rickshaw ride brought me near city center and a luxe store full of pashmina, silk, weaves and wall hangings, Kashmir carpets, and silver jewelry. Salesmen served me cinnamon tea in a china cup while I looked a wool and silk pashmina in a rainbow of colors, prints and embroider. Mysore is known for its silk, the fabric made in the factory here according to high standards and turned into colorful sarees and shawls.
More tea is offered but I’m also on a mission for gifts for the children of Operation Shanti and bangles top the list for the girls. Bangles, the colorful bracelets not the band, are hugely popular here and the range of colors, sizes and sparkles matches that of the silk. Stores selling bangles and bindis are as common as tea stalls. Ten bangles per wrist, pashmina over the shoulder, and a bindi on the forehead and you’re ready to go. Bling!