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Suzanne Fisher Staples

Sibi Fair, The Bargain, and Shatoosh

Safari and The Bugtis

Sibi Fair, The Bargain, and Shatoosh, page 2

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Sibi Fair

Dadi and Shabanu arrive in Sibi. The fairground is a swirl of dust, bright colors, exotically dressed men, and animals decorated with tassels, mirrors, paint, and blankets. Shabanu notices that no women attend the fair, only young girls, boys, and men. She can hardly wait to attend the carnival, so she quickly tends to her chores: making camp, building a fire, and cooking supper.

In the midst of their work, Shabanu asks Dadi if he was afraid when the Bugtis stopped them. He replies that he trusted Allah to keep them safe. Thinking of Guluband, she asks if a person can make something happen by wishing for it. Dadi laughs and repeats that a person must trust the will of Allah.

After they build camp and feed the animals, Dadi and Shabanu go to the carnival. Shabanu rides a carousel, and she and Dadi ride a man-powered Ferris wheel. She eats her first paan, a grown-up treat with slightly narcotic qualities, served to her by a cross-dressing man. She sees a tent in which, according to the barker, beautiful women are dancing and "doing forbidden things." Dadi hurries her home.

When they return to camp, four sinister Afghani men are waiting for them. Dadi and Wardak, their leader, bargain over Dadi's fine herd. When they leave, Shabanu begs Dadi not to sell Guluband. Dadi says he will do his best not to. She is especially afraid, because she knows that the warring Afghani men will not treat the camel well.

The next morning, when Shabanu returns from buying fodder for the camels, she sees Wardak and her father talking. When Wardak leaves, she rushes at her father, sobbing that he has betrayed her. Dadi, angered at her impertinence, shakes her fiercely. He explains to her that the price he has asked of Wardak is far too high; Wardak will never raise the money to buy the herd. Shabanu runs to the canal to be alone and imagines what will happen if she runs off with Guluband into the desert, but she recalls the fate of the young Bugti girl who ran away and knows she has no choice.

When she returns to camp, Dadi is bargaining with a friendly herder from Zhob. Dadi offers the camels to this man at a much lower price than the price he offered Wardak. Shabanu begins to hope that, indeed, Wardak will not be able to afford Guluband.

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