Thursday, October 21, 2010

A village market in Bangalore

I didn’t think about walking so long at first. But in that morning – nothing seems to be better than that. Walking long distances always helped me to solve my problems. But Hosur road (NH-7) is no longer a better one for walking. Here you can breathe as much carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide etc. as you like, that too, free of cost. No more green cover in the sides; six lane highways along with its four lane service roads are as good as desert for walking.

Still it offers a long stretch for walking, and I slowly moved through it in the direction of Hosur. The usual noises and carbon dioxide winds are yet to gain its momentum. After all who wants to wake early in a Saturday morning? Even if it is ‘Navami’ – the ninth day of Navrathri – not much people are in the streets; shops are yet to open. As I continued down the road life slowly started creeping in to the streets. Many buses are decorated using mango leaves and banana trees.

In such a situation a large crowd in the side of the road wasn’t natural. There is no possibility for any politician to come early in the morning and give new promises to the people – that too at a time when all the elections are already over. Elected representatives are more interested in going to the luxury hotels in Goa – to prepare for the next boxing in the legislative assembly - than coming to these hot areas of Bangalore.

As I went on, the visual become clear to me. These people constitute a village market – and the items to sell are sheeps. As I approach the market, I can saw more and more sheeps coming in Bajaj’s new pulsars, Omnis and other vehicles and many are going out in similar fashion.

Now I am right in front of the market, one person is pulling a sheep to the other side of the road. The poor four-legged white animal is unwilling to go – yet to come in terms with his new owner. Suddenly another person pressed its tail side by his right hand and sheep started jumping forward.  Whenever it stops this person repeated the procedure.

Suddenly two more sheeps came and joined in this pandemonium. Their arrival was in a royal way – One is sitting in the lap of a person who is driving the bike, another is sitting behind him in his co-passengers lap, two front legs in one side of the bike and another two in the opposite side. After getting down from this royal chariot they slowly marched towards the middle of the market and joined in the rank of other sheeps – waiting for the new master.

All of a sudden one man in his locally made ‘Honda Raincoat’ (in this part of the world you can get any brand you want, it doesn’t matter whether it is existing or not!!!) approached them; he wrote something in his book and removed a coupon from it. At first I thought he was selling some lottery ticket or raising money for something else. But the man who owns the two sheep gave him a five hundred rupee note. Seems like people who have sheeps too sell, have to buy these tickets (anyway not sure about this thing). I can’t see what type of facilities they are getting in return. The tarred road in which they are standing – full of water and sheep’s urine – hardly had anything special; it’s an extended portion of the service road. Why they have to pay for selling their sheeps in a public road? Road tax for sheeps?

As time went on more and more people came and joined in this pandemonium. Market is dominated by men but ladies are also there. After some time a couple – man wearing a pant and shirt and lady wearing a yellow sari came with their sheeps. Both are appearing more aged than they actually are – may be the result of their hard work. Suddenly ticket seller approached them started played his part in the act. They too give him some money in return of a ticket.

Now from the other side some one is shouting in top of his voice. The other one is requesting – almost begging – some more money for his sheep. But the buyer is not ready to shell out anything more. As the seller becoming more and more earnest the buyer become more and more stern. Buyer is running from pillar to post, trying to justify his request for more money. Finally they offered some more many and this person went back to his earlier position. A typical view of old markets; where a man’s physical appearance and bargain strength tilts the transaction in his favour.

As the time went on, more and more people started shouting in top of their voice – some times it’s buyer and in other cases it’s the seller. The new age ‘customer relationship principles’ are yet to present their identity in this small road side market. Slowly the views become a repetition of the earlier ones and slowly moved from there. Life is slowly creeping back to the streets; ladies are buying new flowers (especially the yellow ones) and other things to celebrate the ninth day of Navarathri. Still I am walking with out any idea about the destination.