Few years ago I wrote about the Dadar Flower Market, in Mumbai. Tucked under the bridge next to the Dadar train Station, like alien slime it oozes into adjoining alleys and walkways, filling every doorway and cranny. So jam-packed, my cousin cautioned, “don’t even try to put your hand in your pocket, it will go in someone else’s.” Aaargh! Only in Mumbai.
My other Flower Seller posts:
But it IS an experience. Not just for colorful flowers, but to see up close how the poor make a living. And be bothered by seeing young girls selling flowers for a living, when they should be in school. Politicians mouth big speeches about expensive projects to eradicate poverty. The money ends up in their Dubai bank accounts, while the poor fester near open sewers.
I want to be bothered. It is far easier, NOT to go; NOT to see. Stay home, play with Meera, take a nap, go to a nice restaurant for frothy Kaapi. You and I, we need to be nudged from our comfort zones; we need to wade through muck and see how the poor work and live. We need to be offended; get mad at impotent politicians.
As I edge my way through the crowds; my heart races and I’m in a zone. The din of the market is white noise, sharpening my thoughts and focus; I ignore the rotten ooze creeping in my sandals and in between my toes, impervious to odors of rot, the shoves and jostling. I don’t hear the screams and curses; I don’t feel the feet stepping on mine; of sweat soaked bodies pressed to mine, slithering ahead; a wet elbow crazes my cheek. I resist the temptation to wipe my face. I smile.
I am mesmerized by the beauty here. See this beautiful girl above selling roses. She’s not more than 12 years old, but dressed in a saree and tending this stall, while she should be sitting in a class room, in a clean dress, or playing with friends. She’ll never know that luxury.
But there is a God! All flowers here are woven with the starting end looped around the big toe. Yes, all flowers which end on the head of God, start the day at the dusty, tired feet of the working poor.
Each garland we brought was woven on the toes of these poor women. At home, we’ll sprinkle a few drops of water and then these flower decorate Ganapati during puja. After puja, we receive a small portion of these garlands as prasad – a sacred gift from the Gods, which we will treasure.
See more pictures in the gallery below: