Tag Archives: vegetable market

Winter Vegetables at the Street Market

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Yet another street market? What’s different, you may ask. With a discerning eye and a storyteller’s mind let me weave the picture.

Off the main road in Karkhana, Hyderabad I spotted this weekly street market, just by chance. It was Wednesday evening. Gradually the vendors had begun spreading their jute bags to carpet their predetermined area. In the backdrop brightly painted two-storied buildings in blue, deep yellow, bright green and pink brought added colour to the place. Winding steps cluttered with potted plants, open terraces with hanging cloth blankets or bontalu detailed the residential character of the street.

A push cart laden with colourful glass bangles vied for attention. Glistening in the evening sun red, blue, deep green, gold, yellow, grey and pink bangles were tied in clusters. Even the young peddler, with  mobile in hand, sported an equally colourful shirt!

Ahead, Nagamani Amma a bit amused watched me patiently. Would I be interested in buying brinjal, beans or okra instead? Bending to pick up some winter beans I noticed her wrists sporting a dozen green bangles. She was a picture perfect! Red saree, a nose ring, large bindi on her forehead and bangles on her wrists. Traditional simplicity!

Winter brings in its bounty of seasonal vegetables – Indian broad beans (chikudkaya), cabbage, cauliflower, radish. Fresh green bunches coriander, mint and spinach – everyone’s delight! I couldn’t wait to go home and add fresh chopped coriander to my dal.

Ahh….what aroma.

No market scene is complete without carts, vendors, carry boys, busy women with cloth bags or baskets (plastic is forbidden), pop corn or fruit stalls and loaders scuffling between the crowds.

If a street has a spirit, no matter how narrow it is, we can breathe comfortably over there.”
― Mehmet Murat

In that narrow, crowded street, life went on as usual. Children rushing out of their homes to play, women squatting on their doorsteps after a long day, chatting merrily with neighbours, yet others collecting clothes from the terrace ahead of dusk. Was the market like an ongoing weekly movie? Was it a nuisance as crowds gathered and leftover garbage littered the area? Or was it easy shopping at the doorstep?

Weekly markets or grower’s market are a common sight in many countries. Each has a distinct style and produce sale. What is your experience and where?

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

 

 

 

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.’

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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