I sneaked out early summer morning on Sunday last week; with a suspicion how treacherously the blaze of hotness will consume the moment I step out with the gear to shoot for my photo blog.
I had in mind the disorienting humidity; thus decided not to venture too far away from the city. Instead, I moved about avidly looking in the local fruit market and the eking out living ways of the men and women who thrived at the popular mango market – the biggest in our state.
At the first hint of leaking sweat crawling all over my face and back, I figured, I could pack up. Thankfully, later, I was allowed a three-hour pause by a friendly, warm breeze. Hundreds of stallholders displaying their seducing ware – the king of all fruits the mangoes, the whole place was perfumed with the tantalizing fragrance of ripened fruits. Every shop, every cubicle, no inch spared on the pavement; I could see, stacked and displayed at their irresistible best – the sweet, ripe plum mangoes.
Once back home, as I was processing the raw photographs, there was something that disturbed me while scanning the whole string of frames. Sort of I didn’t notice while on site, perhaps, I was so preoccupied to snap as many as I could focus before the heat wave descended.
Yes, I could make it, quite disconcerting, they are the old men –standing in the hot sun, waiting for the right bargain, shinning white hair protecting their bald scalps, their backs hunched with age, foreheads lined with worries, not sure how much they would take back home and will it be enough to feed the waiting family back home. I guess if I stop for a while, they have many stories to tell, yet they waited still with their listless eyes, allowed me to capture their silent narratives.
On inquiry, few vendors shared about the trade part of the fruit market. That lakhs of rupees of business transacted every day. The market could open many earning opportunities for younger folks; if the whole dynamics converted to a customer friendly and viable business model. Perhaps, then it may look competitive and viable to the ‘gen next’.
Work is work; no work is superior or lower so long as we don’t depend on our parents, gives us freedom, and doesn’t find us lazing wastefully. Every work has some dignity attached to it, so long as we love what we are doing. Success requires faith and belief in us. Being self-conscious, feeling inhibited, and not able to recognize the significance of dignity of labor is what I felt the culprit behind the whole issue of many educated unemployed in India. These were a few sentiments I could muster for the absence of abled youngsters in the fruit market – involved in the most profitable, thriving market of our state.
But in the ripened struggling men and women I noticed unspeakable eagerness, appreciable grace on many wrinkled faces who are standing in the hot sun, it’s all for survival, it’s about self-dignity and hope. They are unmindful of their surroundings –neglected, unkempt, rotten, stench and overpowering foul odor. But their happy posture spoke something else, “we are doing the right thing, it brings us hope and health to our hearts” it’s the honor that stood out, a saintly humility. It’s more than the photographs I carried home a marvelous lesson on the passage of time.