In the early hours of the morning, the flower vendors at K.R.market completely fill the public spaces of the inner city in Bangalore. It is a loose space that shapes itself as vendors and customers manoeuvre through it.
I am walking here on Dasera day. However, the vendors sell flowers here everyday. These are small traders who belong to the informal sector of the city. Their occupation of spaces on the streets is considered not legal. But, they continue to sell and the customers continue to buy. It is a symbiotic relationship of the informal economy with the citizens and the city.
No one asks questions about why people make a living by selling flowers on these streets as long as the selling happens before the city’s vehicular traffic begins to enter this same space.
As it nears 8am the numbers of cars, buses, autorickshaws and two-wheelers increases and the vendors are gradually edged out. The flower market then thinks of ending its transactions for the day. Here, at K.R.market as in other flower markets elsewhere in India, what is almost legal before 8am becomes “illegal” after eight.
The traffic police begin their duties for the day and a line must be drawn, understood either visibly or verbally to know that the time for vending is now over. Some vendors leave before the police reaches there. Others leave after the police arrive and drive them away.
It is a daily act of vigilance. Every day, the morning market borrows urban space and then gives it back again. It is a way the city works.