NUR AMEERAH ABDUL AZIZ
October 17, 2012
I am ashamed to admit that in all my four years living in Perth I have never been to an Indian event – despite being half Indian myself.
When I heard about the Khazana expo happening over the last weekend in September, I was tempted to skip it – as per my usual whim.
I did, however, run a quick search about Khazana on Google and I was intrigued by the expo.
I changed my mind and decided to go.
It turns out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The first thing that hit me, or more specifically my nose, was the smell of incense.
Sweet and a tiny bit musky, the smell of incense welcomed me into the Osborne Park shop – which reminded me so much of the shops back home in Little India, Singapore.
The door tinkled slightly as I pushed my way in, providing an introductory note to the expo.
The owners of Khazana, Monal and Brinda Bagaria (pictured) welcomed me warmly into their shop.
Looking around, I was awed by all the colour I saw.
It was a quaint looking place but packed a punch for the senses.
There were racks of clothes and shoes on the left, and a collection of accessories and effigies of Gods and Goddesses on the right.
I must have stood there with my mouth wide open because Monal started laughing and told me to take a look around.
Now, who would say no to that?
Being an Indian fashion fanatic, I started sorting through the clothes on the racks.
There were saris in cotton, georgette, satin and my favorite, silk – some with beautiful stone embroideries and some plain, but they were all breathtaking.
Another rack was filled with salwar kameez in a variety of colour, embroidery and patterns.
But I have to admit, the rack that caught – and held – my easily deterred attention was the one with children’s clothes.
The children’s clothes were not only adorable but also wonderfully attractive.
Another thing I noticed while ransacking the racks was that the clothes had a Gujrati theme.
MONTH OF FESTIVITIES
Monal Bagaria told me that most of the festivals and events that coming up over the next few months, are Gujrati.
“In October itself, we have quite a number of festivals such as Navratri, which lasts for nine days,” Monal said.
“We dress up in our traditional clothes, the ‘ghagra choli’ for women and ‘chorno’ for men, and worship the Mother Goddess and her manifestations.
“We then, dance the night away with sticks.”
Brinda told me that since their first expo three years ago, more and more non-Indians had patronised the shop.
“We get a lot of Australians coming in to buy our jewelry and clothes, for an event or Bollywood night themed dinner and dances,” she said.
“More and more people are starting to understand and appreciate our culture, especially our food and clothes.”
I dived for the shelves behind Monal, which housed exquisitely-crafted jewelry.
Even though I have always been an earring person, every single ornament brought me to a whole new level of awe – especially the chudiyaan or bangles.
These bangles can be found in silver, gold or in a variety of colours. The sound of them softly hitting each other would add a whole new aspect to any sari or salwar kameez.
As Monal and Brinda explained the need to expand the Indian culture other than through Bollywood movies and songs, I examined the chapal or slippers they had on a rack.
I reckon it could have been what Cinderella would have worn if she were Indian.
“It is necessary for us to get the message across that India and Indians are not totally about Bollywood,” Monal said.
“There are so many people, so many states, and in those states so many cultures and religions, food and fashion and even languages.”
I bade goodbye to the hostesses and took one last, lingering look at the shop before me.
The door tinkled one more time as customers made their way inside. A welcome breeze of happiness and excited chatter filled the place once again.
The Khazana Expo is usually held every year, on the last weekend of September, and is situated at 15 Burgay Court, Osborne Park, a level above the Spice Merchant.
Photos: Nur Ameerah Abdul Aziz