Standing on a six-inch-thick carpet of cauliflower leaves and being shoved
unceremoniously as sacks of cauliflowers and cucumbers were carried past, I watched the
auction in a Bangalore wholesale market at dawn this week. The spitting image of
race-course bookies, the commission agents were standing on the sacks of vegetables they
were auctioning and reeling off prices as fast as commentators describing the closing
stages of the Derby. Never had nature seemed more abundant than it did standing by trucks
piled high with all manner of fresh vegetables. Also uplifting was the amount of womens participation in this trade. One of the successful buyers was Rajamma, a middle-aged lady with a large red bindi, a pink printed synthetic sari and a cheek full of paan. Small-time buyers like Raniamma, a stout woman who bargained like a tigress, just bought two or three sacks from the auctions, and then neatly arranged their wares on the sidewalk where small vendors were their customers. Raniamma earned Rs 50 like this every day before breakfast.