I see everyone, every morning, dressed to impress – waiting in long lines for their ride to work.
Who are they trying to impress? Themselves? The random strangers on the street that will see them? That special person at their destination?
Does it even matter? They look beautiful – fresh faced, with perfectly blended shades of skin-colored powders and eyes designed to mesmerize (with a rock steady hand, holding eyeliner, to trace the curves flawlessly in record time).
Their shirts perfectly pressed, the trousers like smooth chromatic falls from their waist to the ground.
A good vibe and enthusiasm for the start of the day.
* * * * *
Then I see them again, later that day, in the evening. The colors on their face now faded and smudged, their hair frayed around the forehead (a natural halo).
The shirts are now wrinkled, the trousers sport the evidence of hard-work and toils of the day.
They may look tired, but their eyes have hope, and the drive to wake up and face the next day.
The one place where everyone’s materialistic desires can be fulfilled – the Alpha and the Omega for all the stores in the city. Every little quirk of every single individual has been tolerated and celebrated.
Walking through Chikpet/City Market is an experience in itself. The main road branches off into countless little lanes, like a gigantic river feeding into the land through its numerous tributaries.The wide roads seem narrow due to the sheer number of people spilling out of the footpath, fighting for space with immobile street-hawkers. The pedestrians curse the vehicles that carefully navigate the roads, and the drivers/riders curse the foolhardy foot travelers, as everyone rushes to get their hearts’ desires fulfilled.
The buildings have the most modern exteriors with neon-lit signs and brightly colored advertisements featuring (illegal?) images of the current crowd-favorite celebrity. But above these gaudy attractions remain the roofs buildings that carry the remnants of a by-gone era, the one you only hear about in stories of your parents’ childhood.
My favorite thing to do is walk through the labyrinthine side-streets. They seem to be a never-ending network of nerves that power this part of the city, and the deeper you go, the more surprises await. I walk through a select few every time I visit there, and even though the stores are the same, it always has something new to offer. Something that makes me second-guess my certainty that this was where I was the last time I was there.
This place will always have new façades that encase old souls.