Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Walk down Koliwada Market

- by Janaki Krishnan

It was 5:30 p.m. I was on my way to Koliwada Market
. Walking eastwards from Koliwada Station, my eyes fell on the pavement dwellers, some squatting outside their huts, others washing and cooking, and the children sitting amidst the garbage with their schoolbooks spread around. Some of the men could be seen doing odd jobs like repairing stoves, welding, etc.

To move further down, I had to push my way between trucks and vehicles and the sea of humanity walking up in the opposite direction.

On the right, a newly painted Gurudwara in white captured my attention.

Truly the Almighty does not distinguish between the rich and the poor - He is happily housed amidst the squalor. With no time to stand and pray, I moved ahead.

Shops selling sarees, hardware, sweetmeats, provisions etc were lined on the left. Women and children stood around, enjoying an evening chat.

A bangle-seller was doing brisk business.

But I wondered why people were crowding on the other side of the road. With all the skill of a born Bombayite, I crossed the crowded road. I heard the vegetable sellers sitting on the road, speaking Tamil. Piles of tomatoes, beans, snake gourds and other vegetables were being offered at incredibly low prices (sans quality).

At one place I found a woman selling lemons, 25 of them for Rupees 5. What a bargain! I normally pay 2 Rupees per piece! I paid a 5-rupee coin, and bending down, gathered 25 of them to make lemon pickle.

At another corner, a lady was selling plaintain leaves, to use as dinner plates.

Further ahead, there were many shops selling furniture. Doors, windows, iron grille-work, chairs, tables, everything seemed to be available. Many of them seemed to be discarded pieces from nearby buildings. Here was a supermarket for second-hand stuff! I stood in amazement, watching people haggle over the price.

I looked at my watch. I had spent almost an hour walking. So I started trekking back. On the way, I saw this child, eating pani-puri happily:

The road back to the Station had an uphill slope. Again, I had to move along with buses, vehicles, and of course, other people like me.

In thirty minutes, I reached home, but the sights and sounds of buyers and sellers, of workers and idlers, lingered in my mind.

- Janaki


Anonymous said...

nice post :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photo essay--brings back so many memories for me.

Kumudha said...

Wonderful pictures of vibrant city.

CanisLupus said...

Super! That area around Koliwada is one of the mini "boiling pots" in the city. and you actually took the train! Only a true Bombayite will do that. Still the best way to get around in the city.