Category Archives: Fresh Market Narratives (34)

fresh produce markets, flower market, Sunday markets, country /farm produce, local people, culture, food habits, dress

Postcards from Nagpur: City Market and a Town Market

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I take you through a photo journey of two markets, one in the city and other in a small town. One in Nagpur city, other on its outskirts on the highway in Kanhan. One brings out quiet, authoritative mood, the  other a lively, colourful ambience. Oranges, the winter’s bounty was  abundant in both, yet the city market stocked the round, unblemished oranges neatly piled high. In the street, roadside stalls, pushers and peddlars made brisk business.

Situated in central India, Nagpur is not only the winter capital of the state of Maharashtra but also the orange capital of India. It has the right winter temperatures, light rainfall and proper soil to grow this fruit. Famed for its juicy, thin skinned, sweet oranges this home grown mandarin fruit finds its way to local markets as well as the international stalls. Haldiram’s, a popular food enterprise has specially made an ‘Orange Barfi’ a boiled milk and sugar syrup based sweet dedicated to this city!

Photo courtesy: http://fnw.com/everestorangebarfi

Behind the Nagpur railway station stretches the fruit market. Logistic proximity to the trains that criss cross entire India, with Nagpur as its route centre makes this site more convenient than SitaBuldi market, which caters more to clothing and cotton products.

In the winter season when fruit is bountiful, the best crop is often sent to overseas markets or other parts of India. Sadly, the inferior quality often finds its way to the streets and push carts in Nagpur city, lament the locals. Prices range from Rupees 120 -180 per dozen, and are in fact nothing cheaper than other city price.

In contrast, here is a street market in the small town of Kanhan.

This industrial town takes its name from the river Kanhan that flows  through. Kanhan lies on the state highway route from Nagpur to Pench Tiger Reserve. Every weekday the market sets up in different sub areas, thus known by names of the week ‘Som bazzar, Mangal bazaar etc, Wasn’t I lucky to be at the right place at right time!

Street stalls, cycle peddlars, kiosks and push carts all made for a dramatic and hectic scene. Mounds of green peas, white cauliflower buds tight in their green flowery stalks, clusters of neatly arranged ginger and garlic pods sat on jute mats on the street.

In the midst of it all, the mild winter sun made a peep in and out of the clouds.

In and out wandered women in traditional border Nagpuri sarees and bright synthetic modern sarees. Old locals clad in dhoti or shirt and trousers haggled over prices to seek the best bargains.

As my camera took the better of me, passers by looked strangely..’click, click, click.’ Just one more, one more. Finally, a young vendor posed long enough for me, and I snapped up four kilo pea pods in return. Phew! what a task lay ahead to shell the pods for those little, crunchy, sweet peas on my train journey home! 🙂

For a spicy Nagpur style peas snack click here

Peas vendor

Nagpur ….I loved all the fresh vegetables and cotton dress materials much more..than I did your oranges. Didn’t get time to taste that ever so popular Barfi too. So next year, juicy, sweet Nagpur oranges will be bought fresh..right in my city!

Have you ever been to Nagpur? What did you see or buy?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.

Festival Market: Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum (Mahashivratri Celebrations)

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Har har Mahadeo’ chants fill the streets in India today. Loudspeakers  blare musical songs ‘KailashNath ki jai’ and ‘Shiv Aarti’ as Hindus gear up for  a night long celebration or for the spiritual seekers an ‘Awakening.’

Today is Maha Shivratri – the long night of worshipping Lord Shiva, (one of the three Gods of Trinity Brahma, Vishnu,Shiva). It is the day when Shiva is said to have performed the mythical Tandav Nritya– the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.

Special days bring a festive cheer and colour at any market, isn’t it? Here in India today, fruits of many colours – red and green watermelons, golden rock melon, purple grapes, brown Dates, reddish sweet potato tubers fill the street stalls. As many Hindus fast on this day partaking fruit, Dates and milk and honey – so the markets cater to specific needs.

Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram – Truth, Goodness and Beauty.

Lord Shiva the mystical, celibate, powerful of mind, the God of the yogis has much mass appeal. Call Him Mahadeo, Bhairav, Kalanetra,Gangadhara, KailashNath, Pranava or Rudra… or any one of the 108 names, it is HE whom one’s mind should dwell upon tonight, to gather up the upsurge of energy created through meditation and prayer.

Photo courtesy: Internet( Times of India)

To capture some photos of the colourful spring flowers, prayer items on sale and feel the synergy of devout people thronging to the market, was indeed a fruitful morning. Black clay pots and Palash flowers (Flame of the forest) were unique, specific ‘buy of the day.’

street market outside temple

street market outside temple

Spring time stalls selling melons, bananas, rock melon and winter leftover fruit of grapes and apples was a good mix. Sweet Potato tubers and Dates are specially consumed during fasting providing quick energy.

Street stalls selling fruits and sweet potato tubers

Street stalls selling fruits and sweet potato tubers

Black earthern Matka /claypot

Black earthern Matka /claypot

Special grass buds, crimson -red Palash flowers for Shiv puja, milk bottles, black clay pots for carrying payasam (a milk and jaggery pudding ) made an interesting addition to the usual mounds of orange marigold and white tube rose flowers. ‘Palash flowers are offered to Lord Shiva and Parvati ..special today ‘ said the woman vendor, prodding all the married women into buying it specially today.

Don’t worry if you forgot to bring a bag. This little fellow, wants to make a quick sale, as it’s a school holiday.

Vendor boy selling plastic bags for Rupees 10/ each

Vendor boy selling plastic bags for Rupees 10/ each

By night, twinkling lights will decorate temple exteriors, loudspeakers will blare musical chants, people carrying pots of payasam and plate filled with coconut and flowers will await their turn patiently at the temples. Street markets get brighter and busier as last minute business intensifies. It’s a hard day’s work, especially if one has to do the ‘jagran’ spiritual chanting and singing tonight.

Photo Courtesy: Internet ( Times of India)

Mahashivratri has many symbolisms and stories attached to it, explains the Isha Foundation:

  • Among householders, it is considered the night when Shiva married Parvati.
  • Among the ambitious, Shiva is said to have defeated all his enemies on this day.
  • For spiritual seekers, this is the day when Shiva merged with Mount Kailash.

My puja plate is ready for tonight. Many worshippers will throng the temples, others will sit or attend quiet meditation, and still others may try to find out the meaning behind all these celebrations and rituals.

Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum. The beauty of Self Realization.

Plate of puja offering

Plate of puja offering

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

In Pursuit of Self Awareness …..in 2016

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This morning on my walk, I looked up at the tall Eucalyptus or Nilgiri tree. It soared high. A faint aroma from the leaves filled the air. Parts of the old, silvery bark lay on the ground below, while the tree almost weeped as the trunk was peeling away. Tender, beige new skin making its appearance from within.

Nilgiri tree bark

Nilgiri tree bark

Taking in the aroma, a thought passed my mind. Can I too shed my old, negative and weary thoughts? Can I bloom with rejuvenated spirit into the New Year ? Can I too have aroma in my life and share it with others?

Come December, another year closes upon us. We are busy with resolutions, reflections, travel plans, financial notes, meeting our loved ones, doing charity, finish reading a book or adding the last row of stitches to the cardigan … a rush to complete the unfinished!

Year 2016 brought me a fair share of happy and challenging times. Quality time spent with family, caring for elders, learning new recipes and listening to (other’s) travel tales (for a change:) Crochet, books and friends brought the respite during stressful moments. Reciting my stotras or prayers while making small hand made gifts made time meaningful.

crochet-lace-edge

As a girl, I remember standing in a queue to buy movie tickets or sugar from the ration shop. That was in 1970’s! Of late, standing in long snaking queues outside banks or ATM’s seems to be the need of the day in India. Thanks to the bold move of de-monetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 by the government, the country is bent on eradicating corruption and black money. I admired volunteers who distributed water and biscuits to tired people in the long queues as well as praising the over worked staff. Reach out wherever and when, don’t wait for some exotic place.

India’s Currency Crunch:What are People in the Vegetable Markets Saying?

New Year, new ideas, new resolutions! But how many do we really succeed at? Well, at the beginning of 2016, I started a new series:Focus 12 with much excitement. Apologies, dear readers. I have not completed the intended 12 posts.

Focus 12 : Markets as Fun, Outdoor Classroom

Focus 12: Feel, Smell, Eat What’s in Season at the Market.

‘At the table with friends and family, you do not become old’… an Italian proverb.

Indian hospitality is known for inviting people to their homes. In fact, it’s rude not to burp after a meal in some communities, as it shows the host has not fed his guest sufficiently! At home, I’ve been busy trying out new variations to old recipes. The fruity twist I gave to a simple kheer, rice pudding was delicious. Though the kheer doesn’t freeze /stay fresh for many days, the pulpy sitaphal or custard apple lent a good flavour.

World Palate Recipes: Nawabi Style Sitaphal Phirni ( Custard Apple and Rice Pudding)

Festivals add cheer, colour and uphold traditions. Be it Halloween, Diwali or Christmas.

Year End and Festive Christmas Markets

Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

As we fill our own homes with twinkling lights and invite family and friends to plentiful food, a thought goes out to those in need – homeless, disjoint families, children of war zones or devastating earthquakes. Now’s the time to look up worthy NGO’s and organizations and make our contributions. Share and care.

poinsettia-bloom

That brings us to Christmas and New Year. The bright red Poinsettia, in my neighbour’s garden is in full bloom, its red leaves(bracts) adding much Christmas colour. The story of a poor boy who offered roadside weeds to the God in church is a remarkable story of pure love and humble spirit. It was those weeds that bloomed into red and green flowers, known as Poinsettia!

A  VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR  2017

Dear readers, fellow bloggers, family and friends.

May we all try to emulate the Eucalyptus tree. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India’s Currency Crunch:What are People in the Vegetable Markets Saying?

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‘When it rains lemons, make lemonade’ is an age old saying. In my case, it was tomatoes. Vegetable prices had dropped 20 – 50 percent after the demonetization of currency. The evening of November 8, 2016 made financial history in India as Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 suddenly became just paper! The nation was in shock – a sleepless night for rich and poor.

Television, radio and social media were abound with stories and jokes within minutes. Two days later I heard of truckloads of vegetables lying in docks and containers in a waste as traders had no cash to buy and no time to stand in long queues to exchange old notes for new currency.

A visit to the Bowenpally wholesale market in Hyderabad would give me the current picture, I decided. I parked my car and decided to explore the big storage and distribution yard. The market yard is open all days of the week from 4 am. The local municipal corporation has made adequate provision for a canteen and resting rooms to  ease traders, farmers and loaders.

market-entrance-gate

 

canteen-building

The canteen building

The canteen offers subsidised Telugu /Andhra meals and tiffins. Large trucks heavy with vegetables in jute sacks stood parked one behind another. The central courtyard was surrounded with raised platforms housing trading shops that were storage and distribution points.

This morning, around 10 am I sensed an air of uneasy calm, instead of the usual hustle bustle. Over morning cups of chai loaders and traders were discussing cash and sale issues.

  • How do we buy our daily bread?
  • What do we do with the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes?
  • What will be the impact on vegetable sales? A dip in profits? Rotten unsold vegetables?
  • Will the real ‘black money’ marketers be caught?
  • What is the motive of the government is stopping the use of these notes?

loaders-sittign-idle

I crossed my way through the maze of smaller pick up trucks, heaps of pumpkins and white gourds, jute sacks and idle loaders who posed for photos. Some were wondering what a well dressed woman is doing in the midst of all the market trade. Nagamma, a local vendor said ‘ le lo Amma..sasta bikta hai’ which translates as ‘buy cheaply Madam, vegetables are soon rotting so selling cheap.’

Lingaiah and Ramaih two brothers who are part-timeloaders went out of job for past two days, as sale of vegetables slumped. Others shook out Rs.1,000 note folding it into a paper cone to fill peanuts, and laughed jokingly! A thousand Rupees and no takers! Paper money! Even in the canteen and adjoining rest rooms no one accepted the demonetised money and village traders suddenly were cash strapped – no money in smaller denomination to buy food or pay for rest rooms. Another young vendor showed me 25 kilo tendli or gherkins in sacks that sold at Rs. 1,000 now had no buyers. A whopping loss of trade in a minute of announcement!

jute-sacks-awating-loading-into-lorry

 

loaders-loading-trucks

Tomatoes that were selling at Rs. 20 per kilo were down to Rs. 8-10 per kilo, so also fresh french beans, lady fingers and broad beans. One vendor smiled jokingly and asked ‘Madam free chai if you ONLY show me the new 2,000 currency note the banks are issuing.’A restaurant owner who regularly buys vegetables in bulk here moaned ‘We have been affected in the past three days as the vegetable markets are not accepting 1,000 and 500 notes. We have few new 2,000 notes and we are finding it difficult to buy vegetables in the wholesale market.’

500-and-1000-notes-what-to-do

Picking up my 5 kilos of juicy red tomatoes (and conjuring up  recipes) I walked to the car. The plight of the cash strapped vendors and reminders of long queues outside banks and ATM’s was a small price to pay for the bold move by the government in a bid to track down black money. India will now witness a huge surge in restructuring payments, transparent economy and educating the poor towards a cashless society with new bank accounts. Demonetisation will have its say in the markets and streets of India for some time now.

Enter plastic cards! Welcome to digital age for one and all!

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retracing the Nawabi steps at Muzzam Jahi Market, Hyderabad

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Imagine baskets brimming with Persian fruit, women in black burqhas clutching shopping bags, children running between corridors of the stone building housing the market, vendors and errand boys carrying baskets for the Nawab’s family and friends. And above this all stood the clock tower of the Muzzam Jahi market in quiet aristocracy!

Sadly, it’s all gone now. The splendid market is just a piece of history and architecture.

But don’t lose heart. In spite to the distance from my part of the city (the market is located in Koti, Hyderabad) braving the chaotic traffic of honking cars, buses and cyclists, I was determined to visit and relive a piece of history. In fact, to take delight in the ‘Famous Ice Cream’ and buy some Dilkhush biscuits at the nearby Karachi Bakery were important too.

Majestic Muzzam Jahi market building and tower

Majestic Muzzam Jahi market building and tower

m-jahi-right-arcade

 

The Nizams did everything in grandeur, this market too was built with utmost care. It was constructed during the reign of the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1935, and was named after his second son Moazzam Jah. Originally meant to be a fruit market, it soon turned out to be a place where one could find just about anything — fruits, vegetables, flowers, groceries, earthen pots, arms and ammunitions….yes that’s true! And paan, ice-cream, dry fruits, hookahs and ittar.

The fruit vendors, have been moved to Kothapet market and Monda market, others had stalls on the adjoining roads. Mounds of seasonal juicy oranges and soft. green custard apples lay scattered on the street floors.

street shop selling custard apple fruit

street shop selling custard apple fruit

As I walked into the central circular area, there was a round building lined with shops. From here, the semi- circular stone corridor was almost breath taking! What precision and calculation of exact height and width of the stone columns and the arches made this an architectural masterpiece! At both ends of the corridor a helix staircase lead to an upper open floor. The market building was made of brown stone brought from central Deccan plateau. The main tall clock tower at the entrance faced outwards. Pigeons seem to co exist with humans and vegetables in the central courtyard. Shopkeepers regularly scattered grains for the fluttering birds. Well, spot them here if you can.

central-courtyard-round-shops

Retracing the steps of Nawabs, their women folk and dozen children, I softly stepped up the stone corridor, peeking in and out of the numerous arches. Maybe a love story opened here? Romance,  demure fleeting glances, giggling girls hiding behind the columns, young men darting a glance? Imagine.

market-corridor

Today the wooden shop doors, looked vintage. Some were painted in a myriad of bright colours. Blue, brown, green, yellow and white – some shut, some half open, some begging for renovation. The interior space was deep, dark and air stone cooled. Out of the seventy odd shops, only a few remain functional today as grain stores, vegetable shops, oil traders and a few hookah and ittar shops. Chatting with a few Muslim fruit sellers they remembered how everyone lived here in harmony since past 50-70 years.

shop-door-painted

Exotic fruit. That was what the market was initially famous for. Hyderabad being in central India made it an important trade route. The Nawabs had elaborate kitchens and matching Khandaani cuisines that were renowned in the Arabic and European aristocracy. Figs and Narangi from Iran and Persia, Dates from the Arabic region, apples from Afghanistan and Kashmir, dry fruit of badam, pista, poonji, kishmish. Olives and olive oil from Iran and Spain. A well catered market.

Lastly, it was time to find THAT Famous Ice Cream shop…yes that’s it’s name!

Located on the outer corridor facing the noisy road, it was well tucked in. Red plastic chairs and tables lay out in the open courtyard in front. One corner had stainless steel ice cream churns and large vessels to boil milk. The other side displayed an old tempting menu board. The old man and his younger son have owned this shop for over 70 years, scooping out delicious, fruity soft ice cream, to young and old, and many a romantic pair. Spoilt for choice I was. I ordered one scoop of malai anjeer (cream and figs) and another of sitaphal (custard apple) and enjoyed those melting moments of cream in the mouth. For a recipe on sitaphal see here.

Famous Ice cream menu

Famous Ice cream menu

Now won’t you follow my footsteps to this grand Hyderabad market? Tell me about your experiences, maybe at other ice cream, hookah or candy shops that still open doors to customers. Till then,  Khuda Hafiz…Bye.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

 

Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

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Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

Yes, it’s Deepavali or Diwali once again. Streets and shops are brimming with latest sarees, dresses, lamps, festive puja items, fruit and mithai and electronics. Sale! sale! Glittering gold, red and green twinkling lights and confetti decorate shop windows. There’s hurry (and pressure) to buy the latest designs – be it bumper TV or iphone….or fashion wear! Festive markets are so colourful and fun.

Deepavali, a Hindu festival of lights (deepa) is celebrated all over India with much pomp. Traditionally, festive lamps or diyas, made from baked mud /clay are lit and kept at door entrances. Large colourful Rangoli or Kolam designs dot the floor spaces at entrances of homes and shops, boxes of mithai and meva arranged in colourful baskets, boxes laced with golden trimmings sit on store shelves awaiting customers. At home, every kitchen is given a good scrub. Preparation for making traditional sweets and savoury like sev, ladoo, chakli, halwa, chirote, namkeen begins days earlier. And on the last day…the noise and sparks from fire crackers and sparklers fill the streets.

For a recipe of Besan Ladoo see here.

No wonder, this family festival brings crowds (literally) to the streets. Here are a few photos that to brighten your mood and give you a glimpse the festival.

Diwali items for sale at street Bazaar

Diwali items for sale at street Bazaar

Colourful paper lanterns for sale at street kiosk

Colourful paper lanterns for sale at street kiosk

Here are the festive mud /clay lamps that add colour and bring in ‘light’ to the doorstep.

Festive Diyas or lamps

Festive Diyas or lamps

Many stories about the festival revolve around Lord Rama, the fight of good over evil, light and wisdom over darkness. The significance of lighting the lamps itself is symbolic of removing darkness and negativity from our life and the colours of Rangoli symbolize role of colour in our daily activity.

Here is a small compilation on books, stories and Rangoli:

At home, I enjoyed making simple paper lanterns or Kandil. Soon it will be time to decorate home with earthen lamps, colourful Rangoli and prepare gift plates and Kandil for distribution to friends and family.

Home made paper lanterns

Home made paper lanterns

At centres with disabled or mentally challenged children, economically low /troubled women, jail interns and other organizations teach and sell diyas and kandil to support such groups. It’s a time to light up THEIR life, by making small sacrifices and reaching out to those in need.

 

Beautiful Aakash Kandil. Made by students of Vishwas Special School for Mentally challenged (Thane). Contact: +91.9699699486

Beautiful Aakash Kandil. Made by students of Vishwas Special School for Mentally challenged (Thane). Contact: +91.9699699486

 

                                  Happy Diwali to all my friends who are celebrating.

Don’t forget to leave your comments on how you spent Diwali.

Colourful Rangoli floor design

Colourful Rangoli floor design

 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

Festive Market: The Elephant headed Ganesha Idols

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Come September, streets of Mumbai and Pune in western India, as well as many other cities prepare for the most loved festival Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi.  The elephant headed God Ganesha, (known by several other names)  is prayed to for prosperity and wisdom.  Amidst loud chants of ‘Ganapati Bappa Moraya’ the colourful idols that once occupied rows of shelves on street shops are lovingly bought and carried home to the altar.

Weeks before the festival day, street markets begin cleaning, making stands, preparing clay, pre booking orders, contacting artists and helpers. Soon the frenzy of activity heats up, as the festival draws near.  Idols are traditionally made with mud or clay, giving them a brown colour. During the prayers idols are smeared with sandal wood or turmeric paste. These eco-friendly idols thus make for easy visarjan or dipping into flowing water after the festival. However, Plaster of Paris (POP) is the new preferred material. It is cheaper, lighter, but certainly harmful to Nature as idols cannot dissolve in water.

Mud Ganesha idols

Mud Ganesha idols

Artists arrive to major cities, sometimes from rural homes, the festival provides a big income and a platform created by co-operative organisations. It takes many weeks of patience, dedication and exact materials and temperatures to prepare the idols. The whitish grey or brown idols are left to dry on street pavements (or shop kilns). Once dry, colours transform them magically! Turmeric yellow, leaf green, vermilion red, glittering gold, peacock green…how  beautiful the rows of Ganesha idols look standing on the street stands. And why not add some glitter, beads and fancy ornaments for a festive aura? Prices vary according to size and decorations ranging from Rs. 200 to 2 crores!

With great pomp and music, the super size idols are carried to community halls, temple foyers and public gatherings. Smaller idols bought by family members, make their way home covered by traditional silk cloth.

Super sized Ganesha idol

Super sized Ganesha idol

Now, Ganesha is known to have a great liking for food, just look at his big tummy! There are many mythological stories to support this. Festival markets are filled with plenty of fresh fruit – bananas and pomegranate being favourite. Besides garlands of flowers, rose petals, marigolds, banana stems and leaves, lotus flowers occupy every inch of floor space in the market.

It’s a frenzy of hectic activity! Loud noises of people bargaining, soft swishing of women in sarees, young children begging to choose a special idol, bright lights add to the human frenzy, screeching cars and vehicles passing by. Suddenly rises a loud chant from among the crowd ‘ Ganapati Bappa.. Moraya’ ..Salutations to the God.

All is in abundance, all in good spirit.

Flower seller

Flower seller

When a special guest comes home, the house ( or community hall) needs extra decorations and twinkling lights. Another visit to the markets before the last day – decorative lamps, earthenware pots, trinkets, bells, twinkling lights and ….just some fancy stuff!

Suddenly… an eerie quietness descends on the street and shops, on the Ganesha Chaturthi day. Action moves indoors. Prayers, social meets and abundance of festival food.

The markets will have to wait for another year.. till Ganesha visits again.

Ganesha idols in shop

Ganesha idols in shop

Have you celebrated this festival? What did you buy from the market? Do share your comments.

For another blog on Ganesha see here.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

 

 

 

Focus 12 : Markets as Fun, Outdoor Classroom

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Ask any young child if he or she wants an indoor or an outdoor classroom. ‘Outdoors!’ comes the instant reply. Even adults are known to be more attentive and engaging in an outdoor planned environment.

Can you recall one of your own experiences?

Many years ago, as a primary teacher, I took a Grade 3 class to the Serangoon market, Singapore. It was not just an outdoor field trip, but a planned Math lesson, with students bringing their worksheets.  Mathematics on the street, without calculators! Ever wondered how the uneducated street vendors quickly calculate prices even for 350 gms.? After completing interactions with vendors and doing additions, students then relaxed drawing scenes from their visit.

Many everyday problems require quick, approximate answers. Street-Fighting Mathematics teaches a crucial skill that the traditional science curriculum fails to develop.”
Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics, Harvard University

Once as a tourist in Toulouse, France, I noticed a Kindergarten class at the local street market. Teachers and volunteer parents were at hand. And what were the students engaged in? With peels of laughter and some noses tuned up and squeaky, they were exploring textures and smells of various vegetables. On their worksheet columns they had to draw ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ vegetables. For a back to school activity, teachers bought fresh vegetables to make ‘Vegetable Soup ‘ or Soup au Pistou.

http://www.traditionalfrenchfood.com/french-soups.html

http://www.michaelppowers.com/prosperity/stonesoup.html

Kindergarten and Primary classes often have thematic play learning areas to simulate real-life activity. eg. market store, house corner, hospital etc. Thus after an outdoor field trip, children can transfer their learning in a simulated, creative classroom environment. Can you hear the young children play  ‘I want to be the grocer’ and ‘I will be Mummy, going to the market?’

Check out story books for children: One Bean, The Tree is a Plant, The Tiny Seed, The Cherry Tree.

http://the market mystery / read aloud /youtube

http://www.vegetables-for-kids.com/

Source: Internet. Kindergarten Dramatic Play area Market scene

When children go with their parents or elders on a market visit they can engage in multi sensory activities, reducing the boredom of walking around aimlessly or running between stalls. Parents can use this opportunity to teach their young children to touch /feel/pick up vegetables, check the price, talk to the vendors, learn about plant growth and care, likes and dislikes etc. Imagine an education centre with their very own farm and market! The process from growth to care and farming tips, to the plucking and pricing of the produce to be put up on the market stall. One HUGE learning game! Not only will the diet, awareness, physical and mental activity of the school improve , but it can be a great community involvement, besides hands-on learning.

Talking about Art students – Many times we see painters set up their canvas at a river side, near monuments or in green rice fields. Have you seen someone take centre stage at a market? Isn’t it a great package to unfold about culture, food, clothes, colours and people?

A Village Market scene. Source: Internet. Cameroon Art.com

What about cooking schools and fresh markets? If you’ve been to Italy, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand or any other country for a cooking class, a visit to the local market is certainly a MUST! My own experience goes back to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Along with 6 other guests and the hostess , we were taken by tuk-tuk to the local market to buy necessary vegetables and ingredients for the class. As we picked up fresh green leafy vegetables, chillies and rice – we were told their Thai names and uses in food.
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Sydney, Australia boasts of a very popular harbour side fish market and cooking class. You guessed right! Guests are taken to the fish market to learn about the varieties, before heading to the exquisite culinary experience.

 

 

Here’s a recap of how students (and adults) benefit from a learning outdoor at a market:

1. Children get outside and more active
2. Involves hands-on thematic activities
3. Creates opportunities to learn how to handle outdoor risks safely
4. Connects children to nature/farms/people/ community in ways making deeper connections
5. Teaches children about cause and effect through sensory activity
6. Provides a holistic development and love for eco systems.

Students play chess at a Farmer's market in Alamos.

Courtesy: Internet. losalamos/.dailypost.com Students play chess at a Farmer’s market in Alamos.

All you teacher and parent readers, I do value your comments! How did you like this post? What is your experience?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

Focus 12: Types of Markets

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Markets are a common place, where goods are purchased and sold. Generally located centrally, markets need to be easily accessible by people and transport, thus soon becoming a hub of activity.

Different markets are set up for different needs: livestock, fresh vegetable and fruits, flowers, textiles and clothing and sundry items. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, Asian Wet markets, New Zealand Art and Craft Sunday markets and Jaipur’s camel market are some examples. The type of market depends also upon the geography, logistics, the area of land cultivated and the people living nearby.

Some markets are covered, others work on open streets. Some even exist on waterways! Some are work at fixed place, some are ‘on the go’ operated using trucks or buses.

Indoor Covered Markets

In most big cities, the local municipal authorities designate an area for selling fresh produce, flowers, meat and poultry etc. The care and maintenance, infrastructure facilities for loading /unloading bays, toilet and food facilities are taken care of by the governing body. They are well covered and thus operational for longer hours and all weather conditions. The Asian Wet Markets, Mercato in Spain, Chatucheck market in Bangkok and the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul are popular.

Courtesy: Internet /La Bouqueria, Barcelona

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Covered fresh produce market in France

Street Markets

Street markets work an a fixed day and fixed street. They may be seasonal in the colder countries. Depending on the weather, street markets sell seasonal items like winter clothing, summer fruits, varieties of handmade breads, bakery products and baskets. Watch out for the general chaos, traffic, and debris on the street, especially in densely populated countries. http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/shop/where-to-shop/street-markets-and-shopping-streets

Floating Markets / Boat Markets

When a country or province is criss- crossed by canals and water ways, like in Venice, Bangkok, Srinagar or Kerala, much of the community and livelihood depends upon the use of these water ways. In Bangkok, the Ayyuthaya kings developed connecting the canals and improving life along the banks. On Dal lake, Srinagar, is India’s only floating market where the graceful boats are bedecked with the valleys flowers and fruits.

http://www.thaiwaysmagazine.com/thai_article/2505_floating_markets/floating_markets.html

http://www.phuket.com/phuket-magazine/kata-market.htm

Flea Markets

Flea markets are a great place to buy second-hand stuff, cheap stuff and old goods. Probably they began as tourists disposing their collections. However, flea markets around the world exist in every nook and corner of a city and have regular business on a particular day of the week.

Singapore Flea market, tucked in a lane near Serangoon a quiet place. Items are placed on the street itself on cardboards or cloth. One can browse old antiques, junk maps for reuse, collectibles like pipes and screws and pens, variety of paper, tea pots, old clothes and hats.

In recent times, there are more than one Flea market catering to particular items. Check out, before you head to one.

Take a look at ‘what’s hot’ in the Flea market in Goa, India.

http://www.mustseeindia.com/Goa-Flea-Market/attraction/12843

Livestock Markets

Don’t worry if you are not buying a camel, goat or sheep. Enjoy a trip to the nearest livestock market and wander among the large cages housing livestock. It can be a great place for children’s education too. Beware of the stench of animal fodder and poo!

My  visit to Al Ain ( U.A.E) camel market was a wonderful experience in Arabic culture and offered a closer look at wobbly legged camel babies. Beware! this is a dusty, noisy place with the distinct smell of camels and other livestock. This traditional souq, situated near Bawadi mall is very popular with the locals. Guides offer to take you around for a small fee of 10 -20 Dirhams, narrating camel stories.

Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s markets or direct grower’s markets are found in most countries from America, Europe, India to Sri Lanka, Australia and more. The aim is to cut off the middle men, creating opportunity for the grower /farmer to directly sell his produce on a weekly or daily basis. In India, Rythu bazaar is one such model.

As a tourist in the small town Picton, New Zealand I visited a Farmer’s market. What delight! Fresh baked breads, assorted cheese cuts, hand-made candles and soap  were the novelty, other than the usual pumpkins, avocado and fresh seasonal berries.

Fresh vegetable stall at market

Fresh vegetable stall at market

Online Markets

In keeping up with technology, welcome to the online bazaars or markets. They cater to an ever-growing demand, mostly from a younger and educated population. Maybe cheaper, easier service just using the finger tips! Gone by are the days of picking up a basket, taking a brisk walk down the street, meeting people on the way and experiencing the freshness and activity typically seen in markets.

Flower Market

A visit to a flower market is always a refreshing experience. There’s always hectic buying and selling, pruning and caring for flower bunches, a wide display of colours in every hue and the faint fragrance hanging in the air. It’s not just fresh cuts like tulips, chrysanthemum, lilies one can buy – bouquets, garlands, garden plants, seasonal bulbs planted in trays and other decorative garden items beckon the visitor.

I’ve visited the Ghazipur flower market, Delhi, Dadar flower market in Mumbai, flower markets in Europe and Amsterdam. Truly, one can just sit with a paint brush and paper, trying…only trying to match Nature. For a narrative on Delhi Flower market see here.

https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/what-to-do/shopping/amsterdam-markets/flower-market

Pak Klong Talad is Bangkok’s biggest wholesale flower market. Its crowded, colourful, hectic and a rush on all the senses. People throng the market just after midnight, as truck loads arrive. Flower bunches need quick care and action for maintaining freshness till 3.00 to 4.00 am. Early morning is the most hectic time, when business is brisk.

What other kind of markets have you visited?  What was your experience?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

 

Focus 12: What is the Clothing Style of Your Country?

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A country is often recognised by the clothing its people wear. Some countries have a traditional costume like the Scottish kilt, the Korean hanbok, the Punjabi shalwar or the rugged denim jeans worn by cowboys.

Clothing serves as a protective cover against weather whilst also giving the body necessary privacy. Clothes have adapted with time, weather conditions, lifestyle, type of work performed and fashion. Some countries lead the fashions, some strive to keep their traditional dress.

                    ‘Clothes maketh a man. ‘

                    Clothing speaketh about the country’

Different clothes tell us different stories. They are like pages of history and geography, communicating not only the weather conditions and historical influences, but speaking of finer elements like type of fabric, its colour, artistic weaves etc. For example the  varying Ikat designs of Indonesia, Orissa and Cambodia, the Scottish and Irish Tartan checks as compared to those of Chennai, India. Each design is unique to each country. Clothes also tell us about the wearer’s status and work performed. The labourer or street vendor will wear a casual attire , maybe or coarse and durable material as compared to an elite customer who may prefer to dress in more stylish and fancy clothing.

Let’s focus on clothing we see at our local markets. Do they tell us any information about that country?

  1. The Saree – from India

Who said the saree is a cumbersome, long and uncomfortable piece of clothing? Most women wear this 5 metre colourful cloth ‘the saree’ with ease and aplomb whilst doing a dozen different tasks – driving a scooter, carrying baskets on their head or sweeping the street. Just as the saree can dress up the Indian bride or business executive in expensive silk and chiffon, it is also used by the common woman on the street who would prefer an easy, washable and quick dry fabric.

Indian women wearing saree and carrying loads on their heads in market

Indian women wearing saree and carrying loads on their heads in market

 

Sari clad vendor in Rythu bazaar.

Sari clad vendor in Rythu bazaar.

2. The Kenyan Kanga and Djellaba

 Clothes must suit the temperature and weather. Loose flowing fabric is worn in most African and Middle Eastern countries. Some are multi-coloured to distract or highlight the wearer from the harsh sandy environment. Yet, at times soft pastel or earthy, sand colours are used for Kaftan’s in men’s clothing.

Courtesy: Internet A Kenyan women in bright coloured loose fabric

Courtesy: Internet A Kenyan women in bright coloured loose fabric

3. The Abeya or Burqha worn by Muslim women

The long, black, head to toe Abeya or Burqha is the traditional attire worn by most Muslim women, mostly in the Gulf countries, when they leave home to go outdoors. Men wear the Kandor. This outer garment shields the wearer from the harsh sun and desert sand. An Abeya can be as simple or as stylish!  Expensive embroidery, lace work and beads adorn ceremonial wear, and a simple one is worn casually.

Burqha and veil used in Gulf regions

Burqha and veil used in Gulf regions

4. Chinese Qipao and Cheogsam

The qipao, cheogsam, Mao suit are Chinese clothing styles. A cross collar, the right lapel over the left and a sash around the waist are highlights of this traditional and periodic costume. However, in recent times locals wear them only during festivals, preferring rather to don the shirt/pant/jeans for ease while doing daily tasks.

Chinese Qipao dress

Chinese Qipao dress

5. Folk or country costumes

Rural or countryside costumes are rustic in style made from extra durable cotton or denim fabric, especially in colder countries. In Europe women wear long skirt, tight at waist and a loose covering blouse. Different region boast their particular style. Head gear like scarves, caps, hats worn keep out the wind and cold.

Italian traditional rural costume

Italian traditional rural costume

6. Headgear from Different Countries. 

The Kasbati, the ceki, the fez and finally the soft mulmul white scarf  are all typical Turkish headgear, varying through the different historical times. Today, most Turkish women cover their heads with the white scarf ties tight around the head and neck, at times adorned with fancy pins or brooches.

Turkish women making fresh food at marketplace

Turkish women making fresh food at marketplace

7. The Yemeni and African ‘Kheffiyah’ 

Men cover their head, tying the chequered cloth in a triangular way. Colours preffered are mostly brown, black, red or cream. One end of the Keffiyah hangs loose over the back. During a sandstorm or intense summer heat, the scarf is used to loosely shield nose and mouth

Traditional headscarf worn in the Middle East Countries

‘Keffiyeh’ – Traditional headscarf worn in the Middle East Countries

7. Clothing in Kazhakstan and Countries with Cold Climate

Brrr….rr the cold wind blows in the Northern regions. Keeping warm is necessary as you work indoor or outdoor. Women are covered in head scarf and winter woollens as they sit on the side street in Kazakstan selling bottles of milk.

Milk vendors - Kazhakstan

Milk vendors – Kazhakstan

Winter baazar and street stalls and pushcarts selling winter wear are commonplace in most markets of Europe, New Zealand, China, Nepal and many other countries with cold weather. People working outdoor wear appropriate winter clothing.

Stall selling winter woollies

Stall selling winter woollens

……And so the clothing stories go on from one country to another. Designs, fabric pattern, wearing styles. Styles to suit the weather, work and wearer.

What is the particular clothing of your country?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

Guest Post: Extensive Kutchhi Embroidery in Ahmedabad’s Market

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My young niece recently visited Ahmedabad’s famous shopping street, the Law Gardens. Revati is a budding architect, prolific reader and a writer for the magazine Urban Vaastu. Not the archetype shopper and bargainer, she still brought back bags full of colourful Kutchhi embroidered clothes as well as stories.  Thanks Revati, for sharing your experience at the street market.

Street shopping in Ahmedabad. Courtesy : Internet

Street shopping in Ahmedabad. Courtesy : Internet

 

‘If you think money cannot buy happiness then you do not know where to shop!’ This is a patent phrase every shopaholic is well versed with and more so, believes whole heartedly in it. This happiness intensifies manifold when one buys a particular item at half the quoted price. Welcome to the art of street shopping where the primary requisite is a combination of the sheer skill of bargaining and mammoth patience.

The Law Garden area in the city of Ahmedabad, western India, is a street side shopping haven and a ‘must visit’ for enthusiastic tourists and locals alike. It is an evening market where the shop owners can be seen unpacking and arranging their clothes for display after the sun begins its sluggish journey towards the west. The melancholic sun forms an ideal backdrop for their long grueling evening ahead.

‘Low Garden’ as the area is famously known in the native Gujarathi language offers a variety of Kachchhi embroidery work. This traditional threadwork on fabric is done by the artisans of Kutch, a region in the state of Gujarat and is thus called Kachchhi work. Kutch, lies around 400 km away from the city of Ahmedabad. This beautiful work can be seen on a range of fabrics and an assortment of clothes like ghagras, jackets, blouses and accessories like clutches, slings and slippers to name a few. It also displays stunning ensembles of the popular ghagra choli or chaniya choli, which is a traditional flowing skirt and short blouse, very popularly worn, especially  during the Navratri season while playing garba. Garba is the traditional Gujarati dance.

Embroidered dress materials with mirror work. Courtesy: Internet

Embroidered dress materials with mirror work. Courtesy: Internet

Kutchhi work is usually done on cotton or silk fabric. The embroidery involves the use of silk or woollen thread in fine stitches to create elaborate patterns, and draws its inspiration from romantic, architectural and human motifs, as well as Persian and Mughal arts. The colors used are mainly green, indigo, deep red, black, yellow and ivory. The embroidery is also distinctive in its use of mirrors and beads, placed strategically in between patterns.

Kutchhi embroidery on bedspreads. Courtesy: Internet

Kutchhi embroidery on bedspreads

History traces the origin of this Kutch embroidery work to mochis, shoemakers who used to work on royal textiles and decorative objects. Over the years it has grown to become an artwork of international repute. Kutchhi embroidery has never lost its sheen and in fact the colorful craft has considerably gained popularity over the years. It has survived owing to the constant influx of new designs and innovations along with new merchandise such as waistcoats, purses, bags, sandals, skirts, scarves and belts. Home furnishings and fashionable attire to suit modern wear also incorporates this embroidery.

Let’s take a look at the street market scenario:

This rich artwork is displayed within tiny (mostly shabby) 8′ by 6′ shops in the Law Garden area. The owner sits on a raised platform which exhibits the entire spectrum of his products. The tarpaulin sheets act as dividers between the shops but one can seldom notice them peeping under the riot of coloured cloth pieces on display. Bewildered? The designs, patterns and colours are so varied and intricate! It becomes difficult to vividly remember the patterns you have purchased or viewed. The floral motifs combine beautifully with lines and geometric and nature inspired forms to create a design with bright hues. An important fact to be borne in mind is that these products at Law Garden are open to bargaining since it is machine work designs and not hand work. The traditional hand worked cloth is understandably expensive and demands a more respectable selling place than a roadside shop. Nonetheless, the machine work products are gorgeous for a person who craves for a piece of  Kutchhi ethnicity albeit, on a shoestring budget, in their wardrobe. That is me!

As I began my shopping escapades, I was awestruck with the beauty that man could create on a mere fabric. Each region has its own specialty and it is always undoubtedly worth possessing. I must have appeared an obvious novice to this region, armed with a cap and a water bottle to beat the heat. Finally, after a bit of window shopping, I mustered the courage to actually ask the shopkeeper to show me various clothes and quote the price.

This is where the most entertaining part of the evening began. He quoted a price almost 4 times the reasonable rate and since my face must have registered the shock he quickly added, ” You choose first. Then we will decide the price.” Bemused at his calm authoritative manner I was determined to beat him at his own game. After selecting a certain product we began haggling over the rate. I offered something way below his quoted price and pat came the reply, “Tell a price that even we can afford. This is not possible. Tell me your last price.” This went on for a few minutes after which I gave in and said I was willing to stretch by a hundred rupees. He began packing the dress and I heaved a sigh of relief. Alas, I had emerged victorious against a skilled player who never misses a day of practice. He handed it over and said, “Let’s agree at a price between mine and yours. Give me 400 rupees.” The smug triumphant look disappeared from my face and I succumbed to the fact that I had lost the battle.

However, I repeated the same procedure in all the shops and passed with flying colours a few times. The pleasure one gets after bargaining and finally purchasing a product at a pre-conceived price can seldom be understood by the brand conscious people. The time when you pretend to leave and the owner calls you back to re-negotiate the cost is one of the trickiest part of this charade. If you are not effective in acting your part you will not be called back and that dress or bag which you had set your heart upon cannot be yours! Or else you will have to swallow your pride and walk back to the place and buy it at whatever rate he asks for. However, in any case, this is an experience of its kind and rather entertaining. I must confess that I have never been a shopaholic in my life and detest bargaining and street shopping in the heat.

However, the market at Law Garden seemed to exude a charm that even a person like me could not resist. Thus, I can happily state that after a couple of hours, I had two bags full of clothes and accessories and a third full of MEMORIES.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

Focus 12: Feel, Smell, Eat What’s in Season at the Market.

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Farmer’s markets, supermarkets and street markets often say the seasons. Come summer, colourful fruit and flowers deck up stalls. Come winter, crunchy nuts, root vegetables and preserved food find their space. There is always an air of excitement and curiosity that beckons one to buy that ‘first’ stock of season’s produce.

Season’s show Nature’s mood. They add colour and variety to our life. Our food habits, cuisines and traditions often evolve around the season.

“A thriving household depends on the use of seasonal produce and the application of common sense.”
                                           Olivier de Serres (1539-1619)

Europe’s spring and summer markets, set up on sun filled streets are particularly popular. Colours that warm you up -Punnets of red strawberries, golden melons, green guava, leafy vegetables, yellow lemon. Bunches of freesia, lilies, geranium, marigold add that extra hint whether at table décor or strokes of an artist’s brushes.

In India and south-east Asia, mounds of tangy brown tamarind pods, green yellow lemons, sour amla (gooseberries) fill the markets. It’s the season to make pickles and chutneys.

Tamarind Pod. Courtesy: Internet

Tamarind Pod. Courtesy: Internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mango mania becomes the talk of town during tropical summers. Markets stock up crates, cardboard boxes, pushcarts, door to door sellers with this ‘king of fruit.’

Seasonal Banganpalli mangoes sold on a pushcart

Seasonal Banganpalli mangoes sold on a pushcart

From the orchard to the market. Every seasonal fruit and vegetable makes its way into regional cuisine. Jam, tomato puree, dried fruit compote, fruit tarts, jackfruit wafers, juices and summer drinks – the kitchen knows best what’s in season.

Did you ever stop to taste a carrot?  Not just eat it, but taste it?  You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie.

Astrid Alauda.

Markets aren’t just about food. They are a wonderful showcase of seasonal culture and clothing too like the Christmas markets. Colourful winter woollens, handmade crochet shawls and quilts, balls of lambs wool, acrylic wool and yarn all find their spot in winter stalls, roadside markets from Tibet to Mexico!

Stall selling winter woollies

Stall selling winter woollens

 

Stall selling wool items

Stall selling wool items

Christmas markets are very popular. Whether its ginger ale, apple cider, crunchy roasted hazel nuts or hand-made products like soap, wax candles, delicate lace and quilted dolls ….the market show must go on!

At spring time, what do you buy at the market? 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer