Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Shopper's High

The weather in Bangalore is glorious right now. There's a wonderful market about 15 minutes walk from my house.

All the tourist books/websites always include the phrase, "hum of excitement" when talking about India. As a desi-reader, you invariably shake your head and mutter, "vat yaar, vat hum? there is no humming here." But I am telling you, there is! There is! Everytime I walk through the gully with those wonderful vegetable vendors and their mounds of fresh, earthy okra and bhindi and karela sold for pennies a pound. That whiff of coriander intoxicating. Everytime I pass by those pyramids of cakes, ice-creams and burfis from the sweet shop. Everytime yet another gold and red kurta catches my eye, and the shop-wallah pounces on the twinkle in my eye, "Mem-sahib, vat is your interest? Only 100. High-quality item." There it is...that hum, that tingling under my skin. That sudden surge of joy--unexpected and welcome after another stress-packed day.

What is about a shop-wallah's single lit 100-watt bulb hanging naked down the front of his little store, lighting up the crowd gathered around him in the late evening light--shouting pointlessly "arreee...100 only! No bargaining! Fixed Price!", that makes me think of home, safety and warmth all bundled up in one somehow. Somehow. I know there was a store in my building from my neighborhood, with his single-lit, naked bulb. That evening light--a small space tucked into your day--right before darkness cloaks the streets, and all the mothers yell at their children to come home "Right now!!". "Mummy, ek aur minute!". The store-wallah watches you gloomily and occasionally shouts, "go away, ghar jao!"

Moments in time that somehow managed to become words.

3 Comments:

Blogger Andy's Life in India said...

Not to be overly critical...but...bhindi and okra is the same thing, and in India it would be kilos not pounds :-P and can you really have a pyramid of ice-cream and kulfi, wouldn't it melt! :-D Great imagery though.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Sony Pony said...

**slaps forehead** vat a firangi, i'yam, yaar!

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so if someone says, "not to be overcritical" then I say Stop if you don't want to be overcritical then Stop and don't be overcritical. If you mean to be overcritical then go ahead and dare to be overcritical

10:50 PM  

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