Street play at sundown


High up in the sky, the moon is a sliver of silver on a late evening sky that is still blue. The moon seems to be gliding peacefully far above, totally oblivious to the goings-on below.

Down here, there is a sense of desperation, as people try to make the most of the last few hours of the weekend before the work week starts.

The market street looks chaotic. People, street hawkers and vehicles jostle for space, as they strive to reach their goals for the week.

Splashes of colour in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, sarees on display and vibrant colour baskets dot the crowded street.

Everybody seems to be in a hurry, there is a sense of urgency to people’s actions, to the last calls of the street hawkers attempting to close sales for the week. Then again, there are those who stop at local street food stalls to partake of chaats, pizza and other Indian snacks.

There is a sensory overload – a blurring motion picture of rainbow colours, the loud hum of human chatter, the aroma of street food, the weaving and the jostling…..!

Amidst all this chaos are the balloon sellers, who walk up and down the street carrying ballons, toy ferris wheels that spin merrily in the evening breeze and other toys that entice children, whose eyes trail the balloons even as their bodies have gone on ahead with their parents, who hold them in vice-like grips, lest they get lost in the teeming crowd!

We have to pause frequently as we walk down, simply because there is no way to move.

That’s when we stop to enjoy this evening street play!

Walking down a busy street


In India, most cities and towns have these streets (the equivalent of the high streets that one finds in the West), which are the nerve-centres for everyday shopping. Ranging from supermarkets to cafes and clothes retailers, these streets have them all.

It is early evening, and there’s a nip in the air. Winter’s setting in and wollen caps and sweaters are in evidence.

I am walking down the busiest street in our area, looking to buy some footwear. There are hundreds of people on the street. The street slopes downwards, and from where I stand, I get a wonderful view of the bustle.

People are getting home after a long day at work and stopping-by to either pick up supplies, buy take away dinner, buy vegetables or stand around – eating piping hot samosas and drinking masala chais.

I stroll down and soak-in the spirit of the place. My first stop is before a lady who sells flowers. She is a street-hawker and has a cane basket with different flowers.

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I see that she has these lovely purple-mauve flowers, popularly known as the ‘December Poo’, meaning flowers that bloom in December. The flowers have been beautifully threaded into long rolls. I ask her if I can click a picture and she obliges, as do many others.

Twilight sets in and the birds are flying back to their nests, flocks of them dotting the sky. Below, people are also in a hurry to get home.

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The peanut seller and the corn seller have set up their trolleys at vantage locations to catch the crowds. The lady selling corn has a burning coal pit, over which she lazily turns a corn cob. The smells are delicious.

There are many more stalls that sell flowers and vegetables. The ladies are seated adjacent to each other, their stalls lit by single electric lamps. The veggies are neatly arranged in baskets.

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At every stall, people are bargaining. We Indians (both the vendors and the buyers) love to bargain. So, back and forth go the discussions, till finally both sides are happy.

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There are stalls selling earrings and clips and rubber bands. All those small things that make-up our every day lives.

There is so much energy all around me. A slice of everyday life. I click a few pictures.

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I stop by at a famous bakery, famous for its butter biscuits and honey cakes. IĀ order butter biscuits ‘to go’, and sink my teeth into a deliciously soft honey cake. I observe the street, as the cake melts in my mouth.

Twilight has transformed into night. Stars make their appearance, a twinkle here and a twinkle there, as I head homewards.