Sunday, March 01, 2009

Indian Bazaars Review - Feb 2009

"These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours,
and not to reach any destination"

- Rabindranath Tagore

This blog has been primarily about markets from South India - the Street bazaars and Vegetable bazaars in the cities of Visakhapatnam and Chennai and within a few towns in Kerala. Craft and Spice Bazaars of rural India have often fascinated tourists from the western countries. However, I have been writing mostly about the simple selling spaces in urban India that people frequent for their day-to-day needs - whether it is vegetables, or flowers, or clothes or puja items. It is only because these are the bazaars I see more often. More recently, I have also started to observe and write about the contemporary malls in India.

The reason that the blog has more questions than answers is that the spontaneity of the bazaar environment, its response to the changing seasons or festivals and its ability to exude charm amidst chaos, threw up so many questions in my mind.

I do hope to be able to put down the answers to at least some of the questions that i have asked. And, I would be delighted if Readers helped with the answers and we worked along this together. So, please do add your comments!!

The more I look at these bazaars, the more I see a simultaneous complexity and commonality embedded within them. In so many places, there are the colourful flowers entering the market with every break of dawn; the flower vendor spaces are inextricably woven with the vegetable vendor spaces, street corners become either a confluence of both or the receding of one; there is the emergence of an entire streetful of kite makers a month before Sankranti or the rising crescendo of firecracker sales as diwali draws near. The layout of the bazaars have similarities in their spatial clustering and in their randomness. The efficiency of the market system depends often on the same issues. The decline of the bazaar and its replacement by modern shopping spaces shows the same patterns.

To sum up the nature of bazaar thoughts & experiences thus far, there was Bazaars - a beginning; few posts about Art is a way of Life in an Indian bazaar; a bazaar in Alleppey in Kerala where there is a relationship between the canal and the bazaar; the fish bazaar at Murud Janjira; the Signages at the Cliff Bazaar at Varkala beach and lastly, the increasing number of malls in the country.

More recently, i have begun to study the Russell market in Bangalore - its history, the vendors, the parking options for visitors, the garbage disposal, the Shivaji Nagar bus stand nearby and its relation to the market and eventually, what will bring about the revitalisation of Russell Market.

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