A vegetable market is a universe in itself. As I plunge from the desolate, bleak and dark middle of the road into this warm blaze of lights, sounds and action… I come to realise that it is going to be an experience. If I make it so.
A huge labyrinth made up of bamboo baskets lined with leaves and filled with the promulgators of nourishment, this market throbs backwards and forwards like a huge living organism. It is a stimulant to every sensory perception. Lights sparkling in an incandescent imitation of a glittering galaxy, colours of every texture and textures of every colour, shouts, cries, pleading, bargaining, spats, rats and fat ladies with thin cucumbers atop their heads.
As I walk on ahead, I suddenly notice the sweet aftertaste left in my mouth by a sliver of chikoo that was offered as a sample. At the next corner, a swift and slightly pungent smell attacks me from the right. A little further, the tantalizing aroma of alphonso mangoes suddenly seduces my nostrils. These smells are connected to places lost deep down in memory, and I am transported to mystic and rustic lands of red earth, green tress, blue skies, purple sunsets and silvery waters.
In the white fluorescent light that is blazing all over the market, life itself appears lager than life. The tomatoes are a glowing cheeky red and the spinach is crisply green. The slice of a pumpkin smiles yellowingly and the aubergines are smug in their purple glow. Walking through these spectra of colours, I wonder how other people can find a flaw in these specimens of nature- perfected to perfection.
Ploughing deeper and deeper into this tangled web, getting jostled, pushed and smartly sidestepped by quicker footers, or just going with the flow where the flow takes me, I suddenly feel at home in the universe, this universe, and at home within myself. I don’t know who these people around me are, I don’t know the stories of these fruits and vegetables; how they came to be from seed to seeder, and yet, I feel belonged in this huge, bright, pulsating sphere that is just… everything.