Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Haberdasher's Row

There is something about ribbons and threads that I find utterly irresistible. Peter complains that they bring out the textile whore in me! I confess that I have no restraint when confronted by them, and I succumb to buying yards and yards even when I don’t have a specific use for them. My addiction kick-started when I was little and was fueled by a row of jewel-box-like shops overflowing with ribbons and lace and buttons and floss, tucked away in a dark, far corner of New Market in Calcutta. 

Over the years, the merchandise in Haberdasher’s Row has evolved with the changing fashions, but the crotchety old men selling the wares have remained constant—frowning curmudgeonly from behind ancient registers that make startlingly loud clanging noises every time a key is pressed and the cash drawer is shut.

When I entered the Mullick Brothers establishment last week, the proprietor, as always, didn’t feign any interest in serving me, and barked at his pliant assistant to take out the boxes of Anchor floss that I asked to see. I instinctively gravitated towards the tray of oranges and corals and selected a few skeins to embellish a cushion that I’d sewn for Peter a few months ago.

Just when I thought I was displaying admirable restraint, I eyed a delicious stack of brocade ribbons by the door.

And that was my undoing. For the next 30 minutes, I played with the shiny, glittery rolls while poor Peter looked on the growing pile with increasing alarm. But there was no stopping my floss-fueled adrenalin rush—I emerged triumphantly with close to 50 metres of ribbon!

And when I inevitably feel the urge again in a few weeks, I’ll be far from New Market, but I can trot up to M&J Trimming or Toho Shoji in the NYC garment district to satiate my craving.


  1. I have to add my 2 cents- the Market is great and there are a host of other shops there, including Chamba Lama- one of the coolest shops I have seen. I can't also forget the bakery too- Tastey Boy strikes again!

  2. I use a length of your pretty ribbon as bookmarks. This way, your ribbons can show their ribbon-ness all the time!



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