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.


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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