The Market Dance

Not far from where we live is a market. Market… as in market. No. Not the stock market. And of course, me talking about the stock market, would be as neat as George Bush talking of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq !
This market seamless merges with the main road ! There are no barricades etc. So, one wrong swerve of a steering wheel would mean a bus ploughs into this market. Standing at the beginning of this market, this is the picture of the traffic on the other side.

A walk down this road introduces you to innovations and ways of life where nothing is taken for granted. Where there is a elbow room created from nowhere, that would put the best magicians in the world to shame !

And the different variety of things that you can set your sights on can have the best supermarkets in the world scooting for cover. And of course, lets not talk prices.

For getting the best prices however, there is a little ‘dance of an exchange’ that’s done with the seller.

Step 1: Ask for a price
Step 2 : Express surprise at whatever price quoted
Step 3 : Quote a fraction of what was quoted as buying price ( in confident tone )
Step 4 : ( Upon being refused ) walk away or make pretense of walking away
Step 5 : ( Upon being called back ) come back and start at step 2 !
( If not called back ) Go back and start confidently at Step 2.

Like many other things in life, the fine nuance this dance, is something that i sorely lack. Of when to start / stop. Expressing of genuine surprise etc occur like an aspiring untalented stage actor.

Many other times, i turn to the wife and express surprise at the price she closed the deal ! Inviting much dismay and irritation. And of course, a suggestion to walk around independently. To not understand that would mean an IQ quotient in the negative i think.

So. An aimless open mouth gaping at all the sights of the market results in a few pictures. And of course, this post.

Mountains of clothes. And every market day, there is a new sky scrapper that comes up. And disappears at the end of day. Again, at prices that would make you look for a atom bomb to drop on the branded stores just across the store ! ( ‘DIESEL’ says a T-Shirt. He sells it for Rs. 100/-. He looks at me, and says, ‘Use and throw sir’) !

Pic 6

And there are numerous other markets within this market. The exchange that’s happening here (pic 6) is that of tea ! Where a ‘vendor of toothbrushes & other oral equipment’ picks up his morning tea from a ‘vendor of Tea’ ! The tea vendor moves about with his flask in hand. As the corporate types would call him, he is a Business to Business B2B marketer !

And so you get fruits, ropes, baskets all within the same stretch. All beautiful to look at. All wonderfully made. And all being shouted about. There is so much of din that you wonder if anyone is selling ear plugs ! And then realise that it is music to the ears of all those who are serious about purchase !

And then you spot a flute vendor. Flutes ? In this market ? You wonder. But he has walked on. Flutes ! You think. That’s some music !

Its all happening here. Bangles. Trinkets. Hairbands. Food. Ties. Socks. Shoes. Belts. Handkerchiefs. Flutes. Toothbrushes. Caps. Washing powder. Groceries. Ropes. Fruits. Vegetables. Mosquito repellents. Nets. And sooooo on. And of course, tea.

And as the beads of sweat form on your forehead, you realise that there is just no limit to human enterprise. And that the lessons to learn are immense. And the first one the list of things to learn, is that dance !!

PS : This post was inspired by the Market Day meme at Strange Pilgram

12 thoughts on “The Market Dance

  1. Srini says:

    Hi kavi

    the clicks by u are very nice
    it will look even better if u use to host them instead of uploading in
    and then post the pics in ur blog.

    have a try and ur pictures will really speak.

  2. nsiyer says:

    Kavi, its necessary to understand the buyer’s logic and the seller’s logic. afterwards its dance all the way

  3. manju says:

    Kavi, nice post and great pictures. I tried to guess which part of the city this is, but can’t say for sure.

    I have given some tips on how to bargain here.Have a look.

  4. Arunn says:

    hey kavi… i used to hav a tough time driving through this ‘saturday market’…. surprisingly the market is put on the most busy andheri-kurla road every saturday…. i am sure i got the place right…. there is a ground rule in this market…. NOTHING IS MORE THAN 60 RUPEES…. so u need to watch out next time, if ‘DIESEL’ t-shirt is quoted at Rs.100…. not sure if ur wife ‘closed the deal’ any lower than this….

  5. SGD says:

    The vibrancy, fun, variety, the haggling over a Rupee or two, the sheer pleasure of winning the battle of wits….oh they are anyday better than the airconditioned monotony of almost identical malls…..

    And my hubby disappears conveniently when I start my bargaining!!!

    One of my first posts on blogsphere was on these kinds of markets

  6. Ankit says:

    Nice one….I am not much of bargainer, so even when I though I got a deal, wasn’t too sure about it. But these people are amazing, the way theirs shops are setup and everyday they setup all the stuff and then take it back.

    Its some serious work…..

  7. Aleta says:

    Ohhhh – I just want to jump through the monitor and into the pictures and start shopping! I absolutely LOVE the vibrant colors. The muse in me is dancing, just to see it through your camera’s eye. Lovely!

    But the haggling part for the price. I couldn’t do that at all. My sister-in-law is fantastic at haggling, but not me…

  8. dinu says:

    nice one
    and yea, thanks for teaching the survival tactic in the market, I am really bad @ it …

    nice photos too 😀

    and one more thing, I am still reading all your posts, just too lazy to post comment on a blogspot blog … I don’t know why .. I don’t post comments on blogspot blogs !

  9. Ah, the method-in-madness of the great Indian bazaar.

    Great post.

    Am not too good at the bargain-dance myself. Will try to follow your step-by-step guide, but I am bad at walking away.

  10. Kavi! Really beautiful post. I always love reading your commentary about life around you. I knew I would enjoy the market with you and your wife… you did not disappoint.

    I linked to your post on the Market Meme as well as to the posts referenced in your comments.

  11. Jeevan says:

    Nice pictures, and it seems the market deal with varies items. Thanks for taking around the Mumbai market 🙂

  12. SSQuo says:

    I am good and bad at haggling.

    Good because I’ll know approx. how much I want to pay, and bad because if I see that a vendor is playign this ‘game’ where he comes to 2 bucks MORE than what I offered, I feel more out of having the last word – it pisses the hell out of me, coz then its not about the money, but the mindset and the principle.

    I remember one time in Bangkok, we four sisters made a trip and were shopping along the lanes. I loved this one top and we bargained (as we should have), but then the vendor did the usual, like a 2 bahts more or something and i lost it, I said I dont want it and walked away.

    Sister 2, who knows me well of course managed the situation and still got me the top! She was right, I want the top, I like the top, the money wasnt the issue, so might as well forget about it, take it and leave. So easily said! 🙂

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