At K.R Market, Bangalore
K.R Market – a place known to every one in Bangalore. It’s the biggest market here. Its more towards the unclean areas of Bangalore where you will find garbage, shops, people, dogs, cattle, buses etc etc in the same place. Its crowded, stinky and you should be very careful on every step because you don’t know on what you would be stepping on! I always wanted to visit this place just because I have heard enough of this but never experienced. Its been so long in Bangalore and it’s not fair to say I havent seen the famous KR Market. So on a sunday in April I took my camera and went to KR Market. I just wanted to explore the area and to click a few photos too. It took around 40mins to reach there and since I didn’t have any particular place to visit I just started roaming around the KR Market seeing the shops around.
Thought it will be a better idea to reach a little higher point where I can have an over all view. Saw a red multistoried building in . Standing there on the first floor had a nice view of the market. Could see people of every age from every part of the society. You can see rich fat ladies carrying big bags of loaded stuffs on one side and on the other side people from the lower class of the society either selling show pieces or begging to survive the ‘present’ day.I took out the camera and started to click. And suddenly from the another corner of the same floor I heard someone’s voice “OYE!”, it was quite dark there and I never thought there was someone else on the same floor other than me. Went near and I could see a man who was making garland. He just wanted to see the camera and that’s why he called me there. Took a few photographs of him, showed him the same. Aha, he gave a nice smile. Then again I went back to my position seeing the busy market and busy people out there.
The Bangle seller
Down by the road side, there was a bangle- seller, an old lady who had a good stock of bangles around her. That would have been her profession for long. Who knows. Like most the old folks, even she was chewing pan. She had a customer who had someone to accompany her. They sat near the bangle-seller in the Indian way of sitting, and selected the colours she liked. The bargaining was happening while selecting the colours itself, I could hear the voice rising up, so I guessed so. Finally she selected a bunch of bangles. I thought that’s all over. No it wasnt. The bangle-seller took the bangles and started to put it on the customer’s hand. That was a painful scene! Either the bangles were small or her hand was big, it didn’t go smoothly. I should say that she almost cried because of the pain. But still, she knows, though it pains now, once it is all done she would look pretty. So she didn’t have any complaint. After it was done she looked at the new bangles, paid the amount and left. The seller kept on chewing the pan, waiting for the next.
A walk with Subhash.
There I found a kid of 12 – 14 years old staring at me. As soon I saw him he just ran towards me. I literally got scared and took the camera in hand that was just kept on the parapet. I couldn’t find him friendly on the first sight. He spoke Tamil and Kannada and I don’t know these languages well but I can understand if its is spoken slowly though not completely. He asked whether I am from any newspaper, why I am taking photos etc I replied him with my lame Tamil, don’t know whether he understood but still he seemed to be satisfied with my answers. Then he asked “Ennude photo edukka mudiyuma?” I said, oh yes!. He posed I clicked. He was happy to see the photo in the cam. Then I climbed the stairs down and started walking and even he accompanied me. I don’t know him, I don’t know what is his intention after all I couldn’t make out why he is coming along with me. I tried to tell him, its ok i can manage here for which he replied “Anna…Naanum vare” meaning I will also come. He will also come? To where? Then I thought ok, lets see… asked him his name he said “Subhash”. And we started to roam around the places.
Speaking with him wasnt that difficult. I got to know that he is studying in seventh standard. He is a Bangalore born Tamilian. It was his summer vacation and he was doing what guys do normally, roaming around but that day he got me for a company that’s all… I was taken to all the small narrow roads there without him I wouldn’t have seen those and no one would have told me the stories related to each places and what happens in each place. He pointed to one garbage dumbing area where there is an electric post in the middle of all the garbage. There were a lot of cattle searching for food (yeah it’s a common scene here) among those garbage and it seems a few months back an electric line got cut and it fell in that garbage causing the death of all the cattle which were there at that time.
We walked among the crowed and by the side of the road there was a guy who was selling toys. There was a quite big battery operated aeroplane which caught his attention. He went near and started gazing at it. That just took me back into memories for a moment, when I saw such a plane in a shop in Kerala. I was a little more younger than Subhash and me and my father were about to cross the road. When I looked back I saw aeroplanes…! wow !! My father was holding my hand and just before I could show him the plane, it was time to cross the road and while crossing the road also my eyes were stuck on that aeroplanes. There was a yellow tractor too. Subhash got so curious and picked up some small toy and suddenly the shop owner scolded him thinking, he was some street guy and I told its ok he is with me. The shop owner said sorry and Subhash gave a nice smile. It was too hot and we went to have something to drink I offered him a juice. For some reason I felt happy seeing the way he drank the moosambi juice tasting each sip. It’s really good if you can be happy for even the smallest things that come across.
Next he took me to Sunday bazar and he explained it will be there only on Sundays and it is also known as Chor bazar. These are road side shops. It was for the first time I got a chance to see this famous Chor Bazar. You can buy anything ranging from old Dove bottles to computers. I could find video game cartridges, washing machines, processors, hard disks, Mp3 players of all kinds, pen drives what not! The first stall I saw was interesting . They were selling Kingfisher Airline’s headphones, towels, ear plugs. Not only that they had pouches of Lufthansa and many other international flights. Wonder how do they manage to get all these so much in number. They had small tooth brushes, shampoos and all other cosmetic items one can get from an airline. And the lowest price i could quote on a Lufthansa’s pouch was Rs.30. Subhash was bargaining so well in Kannada. We walked again, lots and lots of shops where on both the sides of the road. Reports say that 380,000 tonnes of electronic waste is generated annually in India. Processing of E-Waste is always expensive and so the developed countries send these wastes to developing countries and we one among them happily importing the waste.
No, not only electronic wastes, you can find old magazines, coins currencies and other similar stuffs. Wanted to buy old indian coins which they had but can’t say how genuine it will be. So dropped the plan and just had a look at everything clicked few photos. Seeing both of us sticking to these coins for little long time the shop keepers had a careful watch on both of us. I could feel eyes falling from every directions and since I always prefer to avoid any kinds of risks we just pushed off from there.
It was noon, pretty hot, tired too. Really wanted to have something. But where to find a hotel, can’t expect a good one at least a small one in that area. I asked Subhash from where can I get Ootta (meals). He said “ba anna..” meaning “come bro..” and took me in front of a small room that facing the road. Yeah what I had asked for was food, and to where I was taken to was a place where I can get food. It was a very small shop, in which hardly 4 can sit on the bench put there. What they were having was hot chicken dum-biriyani. Interesting… The one who served the food was a fat man with a big pot belly. Seeing the steam and smell which I could feel when he opened the lid of that biriyani pot was so tempting. But since it was sunday and next day I had to go to office, I didn’t want to take a risk. I planned not to have from there. I asked Subhash what is his plan and from there he is going to have. He said he will have from his home. I said ok, and pretended as I am entering into the hotel which he showed me and he bid me good-bye and ran off from there. I walked again, and I could find another small tea shop. I had a glass of tasteless tea and some biscuits for lunch.
I didn’t want to go back. Wanted to explore as much I can because don’t know when I will be coming here again. So after the tea I continued walking. I reached to another area of KR Market where there was a big shopping complex and lots of small shops around it. What was sold in that area was mainly vegetables. As I was walking I could see people carrying flowers in big sacks up to the shopping complex. I wanted to take a shot of the man carrying the sack of flowers and I took a low position almost like sitting by the road side. I just took the camera and I heard another sound “hooooyyy” this time it was little harsh feminine voice. I looked around. Exactly opposite to where I took my position, I could see two eyes of a woman staring at me above, an umbrella, with which she was covering herself. She was selling flowers. She continued “Ye nee pombalegale photo edukkare?” meaning why you are taking women’s photos? I didnt know what to say at that moment. I said “Newspaper!”. She gave a smile. She asked to take one more photo and she while she was adjusting her sari I clicked one and came off. I climbed the steps to the shopping complex and the one who was carrying the flowers asked me “Yavathu newspaper?”. I said some name and then I asked his name and he said Ayyappa.
The garland makers
Got into the shopping complex. There were lots of shops, people and man’s best friend, dogs. Most of the shops had those things which is used for doing Pooja and prayers. There was a guy who was selling betel leaves and he had arranged it very well. I went to the above floor to where the flowers were all taken to. Could see many small groups of people who were making garlands. The flowers are kept together and each one will pick from it and make the garland. Whole family will be there making it. While their parents make the garland the kids would just play around them.
There I met Anandu and Kannan two friends who were playing around on the same floor. They didn’t have any thing much to ask or say. They didn’t want their photographs to be taken unlike the many other whom I met on that day. They were in their on world, playing games. I just moved to one corner and watched them for a few seconds and I wanted their photograph. There is nothing so great in them. But they were innocent. I went near them holding my camera and yes it worked. Their attention fell on the camera and they came close. The one thing I know to ask in Kannada without any mistakes is “Hesaru Enu?”, what is your name. Kannan and Anandu. Then I asked “Photo?”. They understood what I asked and they posed. In the first click they were little scared with dull faces. I showed them the first photo on the camera and they laughed out of joy. Seeing photo on the spot !. Next they themselves posed with a happy face. This time they asked to show the photo and they gave a better smile. I said bye and moved on they continued the game.
Men who brought the flowers were taking an afternoon nap. Even while sleeping they have to be careful about the basket in which they bring the flowers. So this is how they slept by paying enough care to the basket so that it will not be stolen. People sleep keeping the safe’s key under their pillow, but for these men it’s this basket which helps them to earn money for their daily food. It’s the key for them.
After this I kept the camera back into the bag, walked down the stairs. Reached near the road and the vegetable market was so much crowded that no one can stand there for a second. One will be pushed away from the place he or she stands. Thought of going into the crowed. I got into from one side and I was pushed, without much effort I came to the other side. Had a good ride !
Shops are never-ending. It’s still continuing now the size of the shops have become very small. There I saw Subhash sitting with a lady by the road side. I came near to them. I think he had told that lady about me and she smiled when he called my “Anna..” . I sat there and he introduced his mom to me. She was chewing pan. I asked “Appa..?” to know what is his father doing and he said he is working in a factory. He was eating watermelon and he offered me one. Then I asked whether I can take a photo of Subhash with his mom and he said ok. His mom looked at him and said “Buttons podu”, put on the buttons. He never bothered to put on the buttons, but adjust it so that it wont look bad. KACHAAK!
By that time I was almost tired and wanted to go back to my room. Said bye to both and walked to the bus station. He also accompanied me till the bus station and he ran back to his mom after the bus left.
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