A lovely moon-lit night, the big sprawling ground overlooking the sea, strings of bright yellow bulbs hanging on poles in a zigzag fashion, and then the small open stalls set up close to one another in the midst of traditional décor like three-seater swings made from logs of wood and wooden carts covered in flowers for that old, souk effect – the ‘7Market’ set up during the winter months made for a breathtaking picture, indeed!
The hip, heart-thumping Arabic music bellowing from loudspeakers, the bright lights, the brightly lit faces of shoppers and then those ‘window shoppers’ – the whole atmosphere pulsated with energy and excitement. The stall owners – Kuwaiti men and women, most of them young, budding entrepreneurs – had a variety of merchandise to offer, right from exquisite ethnic handicrafts, beautiful, traditional and contemporary jewelry, trendy apparel created keeping in mind a fusion of traditional and modern fashions, to intricately hand-painted pottery like bowls, plates and tea-sets in bright colors, and homemade sweets and snacks.
Stalls selling delicious traditional cuisines made a presence too. Mouth-watering aroma of scrumptious shawarmas, saffron rice, falafels and grilled kebabs filled the air. The ‘7Market’ held the interest of kids as well, with big bouncing castles kept for them to play on.
These souk-styled markets are on the rise in Kuwait, organized at regular intervals. For instance, the first annual ‘Marina Market’ held in January 2015, at the scenic Marina Crescent, ran for three consecutive weekends and drew a huge turn-out. The event offered a range of products, from food and beverages, fashion, perfumes, arts and crafts to home décor items and many more.
Markets like these, where the local entrepreneurs get an opportunity for the promotion and sale of their products, are aimed at promoting local businesses and small and medium-sized indigenous industries. Surely something to watch out for; many such markets are planned in the near future.
--- By Shireen Passi Chopra