“His first sensation of the bazaar was of its smell, a pleasant aroma oozing from so many unpleasant things, drains, grains fresh and decaying vegetables, spices, men and women and asafoetida. Then it was the kaleidoscope of colours, the red, the orange, the purple of the fruit in the tiers of baskets which were arranged around the Pesawari fruit-seller, dressed in a blue silk turban, a scarlet velvet waistcoat, embroidered with gold, a long white tunic and trousers; the gory red of the mutton hanging beside the butcher who was himself busy mincing meat on a log of woof, while his assistants roasted it on skewers over a charcoal fire, or fried it in the black iron pan; the pale-blond colour of the wheat shop; and the rainbow hues of the sweetmeat stall, not to speak of the various shades of turbans and skirts, from the deep black of the widows the the green, the pink, the mauce and the fawn of the newly wedded brides, and all the tints of the shifting, changing crowd, from the Brahmin’s white to the grass-cutter’s coffee and the Pathan’s swarthy brown.”


When I initially read this, I marked it for commonplacing; it didn’t occur to me that this entire passage was one¬†really¬†long sentence until I was actually typing it out. I do love this passage though. I think it portrays the sensation of being overwhelmed by worldly/cultural wonder extremely acutely. I once walked through a street market in Portugal and felt much the same way – surrounded by strange and wondrous sights, smells, and strangers; it is a very humbling experience.