Bajar

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Tucked amidst a cluster of old buildings is a bazaar – or as it is known in Bengali, “Bajar”.  It’s been there for years: home to a handful of vendors of fresh and dry produce, fish and poultry, who have probably known each other for generations. New vendors have taken to setting up on the roadside. It’s quite a small bazaar but in a pinch it suffices for the residents of my home town, Dassnagar.

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The bottom of the building, being devoid of sunlight, is lit up by halogen lights hanging by dusty long wires strung from the high ceiling. The products on display glow in the cast light, transforming the bajar into a theater hall.There is fish – whole, beheaded, or simply cut in chunks; fresh eggs still speckled with chicken-coop dirt; dry goods, including the dal (lentils) and moshla (spices) neatly laid out like a mathematical formula; and fresh vegetables with more beauty than dug-up gems . And then there are cages of nervous-looking chickens ready to be sold either way you fancy – alive, plucked and skinned, or chopped.
_DSC0906-001_DSC0898-001_DSC0899_DSC0901-001_DSC0904_DSC0914_DSC0908This is where my Baba goes every morning to buy fresh fish and vegetables. He knows everyone by name and they all know him. They know what Baba likes and also that he likes to haggle – it is a special relationship, cultivated over time.

_DSC0913_DSC0915_DSC0910_DSC0903-001“Baba, bajare jabo. Niye jabe?” (Baba, I want to go to the bajar, will you bring me?)
“Ki korbi?” (What will you do there), he asked, not understanding why I would make a such a request, as in all the years I had lived there I had never actually been inside the Dassnagor bajar.
“Chobi tulbo” (I want to take pictures).“Chol” (lets go).
Now whenever I see these pictures I know exactly where Baba had been in the morning – who he may have spoken to.  Perhaps he bargained for fresh shrimp or crab or maybe just chunks of fresh ‘rui’ – it leaves my stomach rumbling.
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17 thoughts on “Bajar

  1. oh how did i miss this…. lovely… this time even I am planning a trip…. in all the years of being there never really went to one…. beautiful and lively pictures…. captures the very essence of the place and sentiment of the people….

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