Express Tribune 22 July 2013
My champa tree was a ridiculous little bare stump - and then suddenly, a leaf, then another and then another sprung from it. PHOTO: FILE
The location is good, but the store isn’t easy to spot because the sign above it isn’t large. It says in a narrow script in an almost off-hand sort of way: ‘Jafferjees’.
There’s never a scrum at the parking lot. The steps are clean and pleasant surprise, there is a ramp for wheelchair access. The door is opened for you, and you’re instantly surrounded by the scent of leather. A sales person appears to hone in on your presence and without hovering gives you his undivided attention while you’re there. He wears clean gloves when he handles the leather products.
It’s a well designed store using muted colours, nothing fancy or too large; just your average glass counters and display cases, a misfit in a city that measures it’s preferences in bling. It doesn’t push itself, you either take it, or you don’t, and you know what? You take it.
You can elect to have your purchase personalised. It’s done efficiently and neatly in the script of your choice, carefully placed inside a soft cloth bag, and slipped into a brown paper bag. Oh and your receipt is given to you in a tiny brown envelope.
Whether or not you keep this receipt, a Jafferjees product is accepted back for repairs years after sale without question, as a parent happily accepts a child. But the best part is yet to come: when you open your purchase at home, there, tucked away in a corner of whatever you have bought is a small card of care instructions, and visibly written on the bit that shows is a short proud statement: Made in Pakistan.
It never fails to hit me whenever I leave this store that this is how Pakistan could have been: quiet, peaceful, and professional, clean and well presented, considerate, reliable, taking pride in itself and its workmanship.
This was not an advertisement for Jafferjees. It was a yearning for what could and should have been, but isn’t.