Monday, January 4, 2010

A trip to the land of low cost brands

Starting the day with betrayal from a fixed up cab driver, we were almost at bay with the idea of traveling on board to the neighboring country, Nepal. Fortunately, we met another cab driver though he was not known to us but was experienced enough to tackle the casual custom checking. After being relaxed on the checking part, we had a concern on the measurement of how far would the Naxalites allow us with safe shopping. We settled on traveling till Bhairva which was 15 Kms away from the Sunauli border located at around 90 Kms from my native. This was the safest periphery according to our cab driver.

We started for our destination quite late in the early afternoon.

After three hours of traveling, we realized that not withdrawing enough money was one mistake which could delimit our shopping budgets; not only because there were no ATMs on the way but also it would be a cross currency trip.

Money crunch was resolved when I came to know that mom had enough cash to facilitate shopping for both the couples, but there was another welcoming. There was a huge traffic waiting for us at the Sunauli border, which intimidated me with time crunch as well. But luckily, the cab driver had good connections at the border which got us way in sooner than expected.

There is something weird about the cross border trips. Every security guy would take you in suspicion provided you act smartly to blow them off. So, the cab driver was constantly asking us to behave normally and keep talking. Being extra smart at dramatics, we managed entering in the foreign country without hassles. No longer that we entered the border; the scene changed, the dogs were unchained and they were free to run to grab the bones from everywhere. We were like dogs, chained by security checking and the cab. Cab stopped for permission ticket and we grabbed on the cheapest deal on the nearest available selling product – apples. We moved on with the plans of bigger bargains and entered the Bhairva market covered with jackets and shoes and cosmetics and gadgets. The plan of approximate shopping with no list was a bad idea. Shopping in Nepal is like a monopoly, planning could get you good bargains and a very satisfying shopping experience. We wasted first hour wandering and window shopping for good jackets. But subsequently, the hunger increased and the mad rush begun with grabbing three jackets at stretch. The clock ran fast, leaving more constraints on the time left. Market in Nepal is amazing; it is like a mini China not to ignore the fact that China is an adjacent neighbor. The Chinese impact is high in Nepal esp. on electronics goods. Every chink-chi brand can be seen in the market. Where else can you get Reebok and Nike for 800 bucks? Oh…the furry jackets for 700 bucks, Denims for 400, shaver for 350, stylish handbags for 450, all branded cosmetics at half the price. A complete transformation of the looks with chink-chi brands in 3000 bucks only. Yes, Xerox no doubt but as my personal experience, I still have the childhood Nepali paraphernalia being inherited by my smaller cousins.

After a tireless and thirst less shopping for four hours, a sense of happiness lingered in me, firstly because I have invaded a market of dreamy brands at much lower cost, secondly I have no idea about how was it possible and thirdly…I am a foreign Return now ;)


  1. "So, the cab driver was constantly asking us to behave normally and keep talking. Being extra smart at dramatics, we managed entering in the foreign country without hassles." -- HeHe!! Looks like your cab driver was sure that he was transporting a group of inexperienced smugglers across the borders.

  2. hehe...Thanks for the comment Arindam.The same way as you got to know the mystery, the cab driver was equally smart too!!


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