Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bull at Haat

Mardi was my shopping day, during our stay in France. I really looked forward to the Mardi Marche rather than the cheaper Super Marche. Oh the joys of going through the stalls with the beautifully arranged fresh produce sold by the farmers themselves. The aroma of roast chicken would fill the air (and have my stomach growling). Also, this was my chance to practice my spoken french! The farmers were a most friendly lot.

Back in India, we shopped as and when required. Didn't have a fixed day or shop. Meat, fish, veggies were A's department. Condiments were mine. We had been meaning to go to the nearby Wazirabad "haat" for quite some time. And recenlty, shaking off our intertia and mind block, we did just that. Despite the incredible dust which had us all sneezing and choking, it was very enjoyable. Stalls were marked by bamboo poles pegged in the ground with the produce spread on plastic sheets in between. The bamboo poles not only marked out each stall but were used to hold a long length of wire from which bulbs were suspended! The same crying out of wares, prices, haggling. Different place, different people, but the ethos was more or less the same.

There were some very marked differences (this is India after all). Bright splashes of colour, more crwoded and not at all orderly or quiet and enormous amount of dust. But that was not the main difference. There was a small skirmish when the bamboo poles supporting the electrical wire fell and down came the entire length. Some one yelled "Batti wala ko bulao". Apparently each haat have their own "batti waala". Now here's the difference: a herd of buffaloes had pushed their way in and had knocked the poles down! The batti wala fixed the problem, the bulls were gently allowed to pass. Nobody noticed and life went on. I wouldn't have either, normally, had I not been thinking about the marches!

On my second visit to the haat, I got a severe shock when I suddenly found an ENORMOUS black and white bull breathing down my neck. Actually, it was just trying to sample some of the veggies on display. No one chased it away. Naturally. Given it's size and the fact that the passage between the vendors was really narrow, it would have started a stampede. I gingerly stepped away and kept a wary distance between us. The bull hung around for quite some time tyring this and that and it was quite sweet - like an overgrown bumbling baby!

Am looking forward to my next shopping day. What a wide variety of greens (and reds,yellows and other colours too), very fresh, affordable and pesticide free (many more varieties of creepy crawlies each time I empty my shopping bag). And of course the bull adding the final, inimitable Indian touch to it!

1 comment:

Prem Piyush said...

Though this write up is a good description of Indian Haat with memories of French Market.
But there is something called Indianness in the writing style too ..
"The bull hung around for quite some time tyring this and that and it was quite sweet - like an overgrown bumbling baby! " - I really liked your vision to look into the things.

Read if you will

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