Weekend Waltz

One of the things I love about mornings in my neighbourhood is how life trickles out on the streets and flares open to savour the day. I usually don’t go out on weekday mornings, but on a weekend, I convince myself to let go of my inertia just to experience a taste of the revelry where I live.

The end of my lane curves to the left and on such mornings it hosts a melange of people. A man brings a crate of coconuts on his scooty which he parks under the large tree. The flower seller with marigolds and other pooja assortments sits under the shade of the tree as well and the occasional homeless person seeking alms mills around while people buy offerings to their favourite God and coconut water off of a scooty. I sneak into the crowd, hold up two fingers, and watch as this corner has a mela in the morning and recall its silence in the evening. As a witness, the red postbox watches us all from its designated position in the corner.

Two hundred metres down the opposite side, small, makeshift stalls are set up that disappear once the morning comes to a close. These stalls are in front of the children’s park, a verdant backdrop to your fish, fruit, or vegetable buying activity. What I love most about bazaars in general are the colours on display and this is no exception. Deep maroons, yellows, and light greens beckoning to the person inside you who wants to eat fruit for their colour, the health-advice on Instagram be damned. Among all this, you can spot a cart of happy plants grazing the scant crowd and the colourful plastic hangers on the cart calling out to be bought. A seller of brooms, chatais, and a man who sharpers knives saunter in and out of the gathering, too. Buy from them if you will or walk among these people of your humanity or sip on a sugarcane juice from the wooden sugarcane handcart.

We are all here for the bazaar and after it is packed away we retreat to our homes leaving the lanes and the shadows of the trees for whoever comes later. This assemblage of people I witness is a far cry from the home deliveries of groceries and I would not have it any other way. The more we climb the privilege ladder, the easier it becomes to forget the congregation of people in communal spaces such as these. The more we move “up”, the easier it becomes to forget that we are a part of collective spaces and we build the neighbourhoods we live in.

I find that with the climbing of this ladder of privilege, we isolate ourselves. We build walls around us, expensive, and rich. I was reminded to tear down these walls when, at the beginning of the pandemic, I used to order plants over the Internet. Then, TFB nudged me to go to the nurseries in my neighbourhood. A huge gulf closed down when I visited these nurseries. I haven’t stopped since. That’s why I love witnessing the bazaar that trickles in on weekend mornings. It doesn’t isolate me in my ivory tower. It welcomes me with its fruits, flowers, and festivity.

I stand under the large tree and drink the coconut water handed to me. On my e-bike, a Sardarji uncle has kept his large bag and he is communicating with someone on the phone. It is a very humid morning but that has deterred none of us from venturing out to be a part of this medley. We are here to make money and spend money, of course, but also to experience this gorgeous slice of life necessitated by interacting with our fellow humans. It is a good change to climb down that ivory tower. I feel like Rapunzel and I find myself believing in all manner of things, because why not?

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