Wednesday, February 17, 2010

To the market .............

Let’s go to the farmer’s market this weekend….Ohh !! How I light up at this suggestion and not solely because of my absolute love for shopping, be it for dresses, accessories or groceries..The mere sight of fresh vegetables and spices make me happy, maybe because I love to cook and eat.. But why is it, that farmer’s market has a special appeal for me, and maybe to many of us Indians , who are live outside of India..Is it more related to the certain idea of refinement and sophistication, which is so bound to the whole notion of farmer’s market- given that the products are definitely priced higher than any supermarket price and everything is home-grown, organic and largely fresh !!

In most of the big cities , you would find those people flocking to the afternoon or weekend outdoor market, who can afford, who have a sense of refinement- wanting to make a pot of luscious soup with the freshest fennel, and who all are clingy to the idea of going organic and going green at every possible way ( which I clearly don’t have a problem with as long as we save the earth and don’t just talk about it )...
So, what is it ? Is it only a desire to be different or does it move your senses with something other than that ? For me, it’s a concoction of both and all of them..

When I first became acquainted with the idea of such outdoor market, it was an altogether different adventure to me- suddenly you have something else to do on the weekends other than partying, it’s outdoors, it’s fresh & clean, it’s different in so many ways than your average grocery store trips and then it might remind in some subtle ways of those “ haat “ or “ bajar “ from your hometown.Yes, it was all that !!

Firstly, when I talk of the “ haat “ from any town of India- produces, fish and everything else is actually cheaper than the average daily market price…The commodities are fresh off the fields, they still have the dirt clinging to them, and then there is a whole different visual shock- rotting produces lying here and there, cows and goats munching on them to their heart’s desire and then the unavoidable stink. The sellers calling out the prices at the top of their lungs – trying to prove who’s is the best and the cheapest, the buyers all excited and sweaty , trying to locate their favorite seller, whom they trust for taking home the best products and boasting off their grocery shopping skills.

Although not very often, but I can remember of a few occasions , where I might have accompanied baba to his market trips, mostly when we were kids . Then, as we grew older, several restrictions came into effect, some self-induced to avoid the sweat, the crowd, the filth ..and some put into action by our parents due to increasing burden of homework or more so because the markets were the hotspots for local ruffians and I being a blossoming teenager and such !! And the excursions became lesser to none after some time.
But all those occasions when I did go to the market, certain smell, sound, calls defining the survival of the fittest (as in who sells the most and makes the most profit), certain sights did leave behind some haunting , lingering memories, indelible marks …And all those memories work in sync for me, whenever I hear the sound “ farmer’s market “ .

It’s just not the freshness and refinement that pulls me, although this clean, outdoor market , which has a wide heterogeneity (just like our hometown markets ) - fruits,vegetables, jams, ready-to-eat food, home-made dry pastas, shittake powder ….. is a world separated from our quaint “ haat “ in so many ways ..there’s absolutely no filth, no pungent smell of rotting vegetables or fish market, no hustle-bustle, no sights of members from the bovine family- yet I absolutely have to link it to our “ Tuesday haat “ or “ robibar r bajar ( sunday market) “ , everytime I visit one.
The only valid reason I could come up with is this – Perhaps, I miss the alfresco " haat ", sweaty marketing trips, although I almost disliked it . Perhaps, it is connected to my heart so intricately, that everytime I go to visit my parents, I try to make it to those smell, sound and sight – just to refresh my memories once more….