How to buy sh*t from India:
1) Drop a line to your Indian contact, who you met in Mysore, who surely doesn't have a website, let alone an option to order anything online, but is happy to be "making small business" with his "American yoga friends." Sure, you could buy wholesale from an American company but—guaranteed—you are buying rugs and bags that THEY purchased from an Indian shopkeeper.
2) Now, how to pay…credit card? Forget about it. Too convenient! No, you will pay viaWestern Union. Other than sending money to my new Nigerian friend to help him get his riches out of the country (to be split with me), who even uses Western Union anymore? And yet, they show no signs of slowing. This is because they make a KILLING on Indian transactions. Think about it: 1.2 billion people times anything is a lot of $$.
4) Don't get squirrelly - keep waiting.
5) Ok, better contact the seller. He says everything is good on his end. Try the post office. Nothing. Hm.
6) At last!
7) Part of the reason the shipping takes so long (probably) is the charming Indian system of
packaging. All materials to be shipped must first be taken to your neighborhood—you guessed it—tailor! It's all sewn up into a colorless, cloth Christmas present and then sent out via sea or air. It's almost too cool to open.
8) But when you do break down and cut into it—oh, the sights and smells! It sounds like a punchline, but truly the silk and cotton products shipped from India smell, well, like India.
Mostly like spices: curry-scented bags and rugs. You'll look in vain for a little spice pouch, but in fact that scent is right in the stuff (until you wash it and/or practice on it, replacing the scent
with your own…)
9) Pastels. They like things bright and loud in India and boy do they ever like pink. Who wouldn't? Who wouldn't want to walk into Mysore class with, say,that second rug on the right there? Brian? Jeff? *Note to self: specify colors in the future*
10) Mark up, mark up, mark up! The sky's the limit!