2017  
  2016  
  2015  
  2014  
  2013  
  2012  
  2011  
  2010  
  2009  
  2008  
  2007  
  2006  
Those were the days of street mart!
HARISH DIDO | 23 Aug 2017

A decade back, during my first visit to US, Canada and Singapore, I had a bitter experience. I had never dreamt of visiting these countries. Thanks to my daughter and son-in-law who was posted on foreign land. I was absolutely google-eyed to witness the super-markets.

One cannot decide to choose any time from the available of plenty of infinite varieties in a row even for breakfast cereal. But with the coming up of Easy Day, More and Big Bazaar stores in all the major cities in India but these give a look of peanut-sized in comparison. But these have definitely given way to the people to get all the things under one roof. This has given a way to rediscovering the simple joys of street-side shopping at home.

I recollect that the earliest callers in our street were/are newspaper boy while the milkman has replaced with the availability of packed milk of branded companies. The former had always been in a hurry to deliver the paper by throwing correcting under the door even while moving on the bicycle. Since, we used to have four papers of English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, but always perpetually moaning about the late arrival of the English paper from Delhi. Earlier, the 'dolwala' an old man used to deliver the milk, too from a bicycle but never forget to ask me the headlines from the freshly arrived newspaper.

But the mostly eagerly awaited by my mother was 'sabziwallah', I still recollect his name Panditji as he was fondly called by this name by all, who lets out a full-throated guttural cry of fresh arrival of vegetable like – matter-e, gobhi-e. His peculiar voice sends a message to the housewives scurrying for their vegetable baskets. His advertisement strategy with special tone on the arrival of new vegetable round the year was a marketing strategy as his customers flock to him eagerly, may be due to his fair measures and the freshness of the vegetables or perhaps because of his personalized touch by asking about the welfare of the family members.

But, by the afternoon, the pattern of street vendors doing the rounds changes significantly with the entry of breadwallah with musical tinkle of his cycle bell carrying a big steel trunk with over-fresh bread, cakes, cream rolls and even 'bundhs' with sweek coloured cheery on them. He was followed by cloth sellers especially pashmina shawls and carpet sellers from Kashmir and pure golden honeywala straight from flower-decked meadows of the valley.

Frankly speaking, those were the days of 'street mart' with limited resources but plenty of stuff but now amidst such an ambience of mini-malls in small cities, the trolley shopping has given a new culture of forced purchases on seeing the items beautifully decorated in rakes with price tag and available schemes, disturbing the budget of a common man.