March 30, 2020
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Nature's Bids

Nature's Bids
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 women’s 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.
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