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We spend our times on our personal computers, tablets, and mobile phones, often letting the whirling pace of information drag minutes to hours of our time away. We seek to nourish our minds, yet as a fly is attracted to lights, we get sucked into the illuminating brightness of the digital world. And we forget. We forget to take notice of what happens if we shut ourselves away from our compelling schedule that lies within the tap of our fingers.

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With the grappling modernity of our time, we tend to overlook the finer details found away from our computerized built world – the vastness of our senses tuning itself with people and interactions.

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Spending a day at a local market brought me back towards the fleeting feeling I have placed aside, the buzzing excitement of finding myself amongst the locality of a traditional marketplace. Taking in the sense of nostalgia and the rowdiness of honking cars, shouts of the vendors and customers bargaining, and the tempting aromas from the food stalls nearby. All elements which are toned down in a modern settings of shopping arcades.

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Although the scorching heat gave my team-members and I a reason to stay indoors, it was the exuberant colors from the objects encountered that gave us a reason to explore. Standing proudly since the 1960s, Mayestik Market or familiarly known as Pasar Mayestik has been a place of trade for generations. Inside it, I could easily find any of my daily needs, everything from textiles, stationaries, fruits to cosmetics was available at proper navigation of the market.

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For years, as other great traditional markets, Mayestik has given Jakarta its vibrant identity. A sense of its culture, inhabitants, and rooted tradition found through its Indonesian snacks of Kue Cubit, Kue Apem, Es Doger, and other tantalizing treats.

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Contemporary marketplace might still be favored for its convenience and sealed air-conditioned rooms, but nothing can ever beat the feeling of going through patterns over patterns, buttons over buttons, or rummaging over the endless amount of colorful textiles and seeking collectible finds of home display.

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Whether I needed what I bought and discovered was later to be evaluated. What I knew was traditional marketplaces led to the imaginative possibilities of piecing together crafts that I probably wouldn’t experience through a digital search engine.

Pasar Mayestik
Jl. Tebah, Kelurahan Gunung,

Kebayoran Baru,

Jakarta Selatan

– Athina Ibrahim

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Photos by Shalimma Robbiaswaty