The auto-driver confusingly asked us not once but twice, “Goubert fish market?” Riya sported a lop - sided bun and a gingham shirt while I wore some odd-looking tropical skirt, we weren’t exactly all set out to bring home the catch of the day. Even by 6:30 am, to our surprise the market was already on its feet. Women peeling fresh prawns, a lot of them comfortably squatted, and their wringed sarees tied around their waists. There were hints of jasmine among the pungent smells. We sifted through and eventually made our way into the fruit market.
Though, the markets are well organized, Riya and I remembered our way through the stall owners - our favorites were the ‘Banana Ammmachi’ and ‘Mutta* Man’. Mutta man, also known as the egg-seller, harbored us among the rush, and he didn't seem to mind us photographing away. Caringly he switched on the light, he assumed Riya was doing some high school project (Riya’s 21 and evergreen by the way). I was sitting on his gunnysacks, running my hands through the hay and later found out that he was from Calicut*. In his shortest break he broke into Malayalam. He looked at me,” I would have never thought, you look like a Sri Lankan.” As I sat by him, he told me the market opens as early as 4 am and he told me to go outside and see them offloading the fresh produce.
And like the Mutta Man said, it was a sight to see cartons stacked up like building blocks. You stand still, and in one path there’s a crisscross of rapid scooters. My favorite was the spinach vendor, who looked like he had a nuclear mushroom cloud of leaves strapped to his scooter. It was a sight to see banana bunches being thrown in the air. Resting in the shade and basking in the slatted shadows, we saw the bananas stacking up. The ladies did not mind us sitting in her spot. She asked to me buy one, I almost plucked one from the bunch and she laughed at my silliness, gently tapping my face, “No you should buy the whole bunch!”
Follow Atheena to Perhaps at Pondicherry N°5
Here's the lingo guide:
Dugbe* - A market situated in Ibadan, Nigeria
Gele* - A type of head scarf commonly worn in many parts of Southern and Western Africa
Malayalam* - The native language spoken in Kerala, India
Rickshaw* - A wheel operating vehicle in India
Chappal*- Colloquial term for sandals
Bharatanatyam*- A major genre of classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu, Kerala
Chechi*- Colloquial term for sister in Malayalam
Ammachi*- Colloquial term for grandmother in Malayalam
Mutta* - Colloquial term for egg in Malayalam
Run parallel, meet at intersections, skip a few lines, the line of thought has journeyed across a few latitudes and longitudes. To more miles before the big sleep. Cheers, Atheena
While he is searching for the right frame, he believes, that art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Perhaps he is lost in Pondicherry or found in Cochin.
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