December 12, 2012

Bangalore Flower Market

Wholesale markets have always fascinated me. The huge stocking, the clutter around, the availability of the unimaginable, the rock bottom prices – it’s an ecosystem that has an uncommon beauty to it. And no matter which part of India you are in, it doesn’t change much.

As if I had not seen enough flowers, I was itching to visit the Bangalore flower market, which would be my first wholesale market visit in this city. We chose Ugadi, the Karnataka New Year, as the day. This would either mean that we were in for a treat OR that we would be swarmed by the crowd. Add to it the warnings we got from friends - don’t argue if don’t know the local language, don’t wear any jewellery, beware of pick pocketers and the likes. Nonetheless, we decided to go.

We reached around 8 am and the market was already bustling with activity. As soon as we entered, we could smell fresh veggies. There were veggies everywhere – incredibly fresh and oh-so-interestingly arranged.

Visiting local bazaars opens up a whole new world for you. Not to forget, it’s a great study in buying patterns too. Interestingly, India is known for micro-sales. So when I saw the mini packets of garam masala, I wasn’t surprised. Fit for daily use, these packets are especially for buyers who don’t like to stock too much. Just enough is just right.

A little ahead we got to the heart of the flower market. I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Multi coloured vermillion, spices and clothes– I loved every bit of it.

And then came the main attraction – the flowers. Garlands, loose flowers, gajras – they were in numbers I had never seen before. The sellers were attracting buyers with the best prices, rolling out streams and streams of fragrant garlands and briskly weaving some new without batting an eyelid.

But that wasn't all. Every corner was full of surprises.

Like the man who said the cow ‘talked’ to him.

Or the one, who oblivious to the chaos, was reading the morning news.

We saw gems of indigenous organizational skills 

And a world of exotic colour and fragrances

I was, once again, amazed to see how these bazaars effortless bind together modernity and yesteryears’ charm. There’s a constant push to keep up with the times on one hand, and a seemingly untouched and unchanged way of living on the other.

Suddenly all clutter looked beautiful

and even what I couldn’t decipher, began to enchant.