Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
By Apoorva Misra
The cries of the ice candy man waft in the ear. The aroma of the frying jalebis and the pungent smell of chowmein assail your nostrils. The vegetable vendors are at their shrillest best as each tries to outdo the other in delineating the virtues of his freshest vegetables and fruits. Enter the haven of weekly markets, a phenomenon that has its own USP. The rustic charm of these markets can’t be imagined. One has to visit them to savour their ambience and comprehend the milieu.
The stark contrast between the skyscraper malls and the weekly markets may be there but the wide array of products these markets offer is simply mind boggling. Looking for some really blingy frock or saree for your maid? You will be spoilt for choice. The crockery and chinaware may not be corning but it’s bursting with colours and tends to catch your eye. Footwear –fancy imitations of shoes and slippers are stacked sky high.
Hair accessories, bangles, rings- the products may be substandard but nevertheless cater to a cross section of society. Waterproof watches swimming in the tub (you said you needed proof ?!), CDs of ‘Sheila ki Jawani’ and folk songs will make you forget planet M. With winter approaching, these weekly bazaars change their wares to suit the season. Roasted peanuts, popcorn and ‘gazzak’ and ‘rewri’ are a sure fire hit.
Be it the lanes of Jaipur and Delhi or the streets of London and Denver, weekly markets are a world wide phenomenon. They have a quaint little charm perhaps because the customer can move around unencumbered by any pressure to buy the stuff on display. Here’s hoping that these markets do not become a victim of rapid urbanisation as they are the mainstay of many families.