An Ode to Fruits

                    “Autumn is the mellower Season,
                     and what we lose in flowers,
                     We more than gain in fruits.”
                                       -Samuel Butler 
                                            
It is not that I am too fond of fruits; in fact, I am a very picky fruit eater. I might like something one day and dislike it the other day. But that did not stop me from going into the wholesale fruit markets of bara-bazaar on 11th October, even if it was to only look at the place and see the various activities going on there. Here I must acknowledge that the fruit bazaar was certainly not what I had imagined; it was even better.

On entering the fruit bazaar, apart from some shops where the people were busy in packing and loading and unloading fruits from the trucks, we were greeted by a very old goat. It must be too soon for me to say, but the goat seemed to tell me that he had seen everything that possibly went on inside the mandi(popular term for the markets) and was probably waiting for a change.


Nevertheless, what interested me was that the entire place was abuzz with various activities which appealed to one’s senses. People were busy collecting fruits that had come from the trucks. While many unloaded carton full of fruits; there were others who sat and maintained records and finances of the deal. At many corners men gathered around a table and one person howled prices on top of his voice. Not knowing what it was when I went to check, I was told by another man that it was live auction at progress and those auctioneers surely wanted me to leave them in peace.


Delving further into the market one can notice that the ground had been covered by straws and hays. These were the materials in which the fruits were brought every morning and they were just discarded on the floor. This covered the floor into layers of hays and actually one can say that the ground was hardly visible. One has to walk on the “hay” floor inside the mandi. Looking up, the entire market is surrounded by houses- two or three storeyed houses. They were so old that it felt like they might fall any moment. But I prayed that they would not, at least not while I was there.

The actual market was a colorful delight. Everywhere one looked there were stack and stacks of fruits of various colors– red juicy pomegranates, huge fat pineapples, guavas, lovely peaches, delicious dates, ripe bananas, green and black grapes and the lot. But what dominated the scenes most were the green lemons. Everywhere you look there were lemons, lemons and more lemons.


While I stopped to take the entire feel in, I realized that this is nothing but an entire colony in itself. People living in the houses had their occupations just outside their thresholds. Apart from the fruit dealers proper, there were auctioneers, truck drivers, barbers, people who owned food shops and many others.


This post would not be complete if I miss out on the reactions of the people in the mandi. It was a mostly male dominated place where I could spot an occasional sari here or there. While most of them were middle -aged, many were also young who helped their fathers or uncles in this trade. Seeing people with DSLR’s in their area they became quite thrilled and gave a variety of responses. While some willingly posed in front of the camera, some started howling at us.  Many were eagerly calling us to take their photographs and one gentleman even posed for a single shot. I was actually lucky to be able to experiment with various techniques which I had recently learned from my mentor. Though not everything came out exactly what was in my mind, nevertheless it left me satisfied, though smelling of fruits and eager to go back for some more shots.



All in all, the entire trip was worth it and made me discover a new aspect of Kolkata which I had been negligent of all this while.
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36 Comments Add yours

  1. The shots are great. What an amazing place to get a large variety of fresh fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds and looks like a fun experience. Didn’t understand exactly where is this bazaar, but I certainly would like to visit there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its in India, Calcutta/Kolkata , West Bengal to be precise.

      Like

  3. Wholesale markets are so interesting. I’ve been to the wholesale fish market in Tokyo but never a fruit market. I am a big fruit lover so I’m sure I’d like this one. And it’s great that you found so many people willing to have their picture taken!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh. i havnt seen a wholesale fish market. There are many in the Western part of India. When I go to those parts I hope to see them one day. 🙂

      Like

  4. gobeyondbounds says:

    Wow that a huge one. We haven’t seen such a big Fruit market with so much variety. It must be awesome walking through the colors accompanied by the sweet fragrance. Did you do any fruit shopping?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No. This is a wholesale market. From here the fruits go to big and small vendors, supermarkets etc etc. From there we ususally buy.

      Like

  5. Vyjay Rao says:

    This is a different perspective on Kolkata, loved the way you have brought alive this off beat place. The life of the people in the Mandi comes alive through your pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Yes Kolkata is not always about Howrah Bridge Victoria Memorial Mishti Doi (Sweet Curd ) and Rosogolla. It is far more than that. 🙂

      Like

  6. Chris says:

    Clever photos! This article reminded me of all my trips, because when I go somewhere exotic, I love to try local exotic fruits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh nice. Which fruits have you tried ?

      Like

  7. Hi dear – Great pictures, I still struggle to take pictures of people, really have to shy out and start asking permission and just go for it! These moments are great to capture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe. Yes. In India when you go to such markets to take pictures we generally do not ask people for permission if photos are for private use / private blogging. And people happily pose. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. chantae says:

    Delicious 😀 Looks like a fruit heaven (so many pineapples!) I love the writing and insight you give behind taking the photographs. How cool 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Yes lemons and pineapples were in abundance there 🙂

      Like

  9. Komang Ayu says:

    I really like fruit, every day I eat fruit. there are many kinds of fruit, but I prefer a banana. I think it was tasty and healthy fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sheri says:

    I love fruits. I do not eat them as much as I should but I find in Europe buying fruits in the store is not the same for me as being in Africa and going to a market like this and getting fresh fruit. Love the fact that you were able to get pictures without much of a fuss.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m also a fruit lover and most of the time, I buy in bulk. And I prefer buying at local sellers and producers than from the supermarkets. Because buying at local producers / sellers means you are helping them to provide food on their table at the end of the day (and I don’t haggle, its inappropriate to do it with small sellers).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I agree 🙂 I dont either.

      Like

  12. This is an interesting take on the daily life through the eyes of a blogger. You are right that while using a camera in a market, one has to be careful of the reactions of others. But, there are great shots waiting to be taken by that ever observant blogger/photographer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Yes i completely agree with you. 🙂

      Like

  13. Liana says:

    I’m a fruit lover myself, and I love going to local markets to learn more about the locals life and what they eat everyday. I love your photos because we see exactly how the market is going and that’s a piece of writing you give us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot. 🙂

      Like

  14. Ami Bhat says:

    I have been to the one in Bangalore and it is somewhat similar in experience. It is fun watching all the activity though the rotten fruits thrown around got to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe ! I remember i could not see the ground cause all i walked on was paper wrappings and hay and cardboard box chips 🙂 I never knew there was one in Bangalore. Next time i go there I will pay a visit. 🙂

      Like

  15. It seems like quite an interesting experience! I can honestly say that I wouldn’t happily walk to a market where there are only men, but is nice to see all that fruit! (omg how many lemons!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Its a wholesale market so everything was in abundance. what I liked best was a lot of colour was on the scene. I wouldnt normally go there alone myself but my brother/mentor was there so I did not face any problem. I would however advise to go with a guy or at least with a group of 4-5people. Takes care of the security! 🙂

      Like

  16. Lance Kerwin says:

    I’m a fruit lover as well. And I love taking pictures especially on certain bazaars. However it can be very challenging to get a good shot if most of the locals dislike cameras. You really got nice photos I must say:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Yes it was difficult to take photos. some of them happily complied many did not.

      Like

  17. Anamika Ojha says:

    Your pictures are so natural! I liked the happy and excited faces of everyone posing in the second picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe. . .Thanks. 🙂

      Like

  18. Sona Sethi says:

    I have been to fruit markets many times but haven’t observed my surroundings with so much detail. The description is very vivid and I can see you are getting a good hand at photography too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. 🙂 Yes that day my photography mentor took me to the market. In fact, he had been there many times and this time i wanted to go. So, he was my friend, guide, mentor eveyrthing for that day . 🙂

      Like

  19. Danjuma says:

    and one person howled prices on top of his voice. Not knowing what it was when I went to check, I was told by another man that it was live auction at progress and those auctioneers surely wanted me to leave them in peace.

    The above from your post got my attention, same goes on here when you get to the maekets and truat me when they are atnthis, no one dares disturb them as thats their most engaging moments. Great post, keep writting. (Cool pictures.)

    Liked by 1 person

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