Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Goa to Markets - "Thank You Very Much"

Goa should be thankful to markets. The hippie markets of the 80’s put Goa on the tourist map. Back packers from across India would gather at Anjuna beach in North Goa to exchange stuff and sell many of their possessions before they went back to their homelands. This small gathering slowly started getting famous, many came to Goa enjoyed the hospitality, natural beauty, pristine white beaches and also took part in the flee market. Bikes, jackets, fishing rods, woolen wear, cameras, binoculars etc were either sold or bartered. In the years to come many realized the potential of Goa in Tourism and it went on to become a famous destination.

A good decade after shopping malls started tasting success across the cities in India, now Goa has its first shopping mall. Markets have started changing here which seemed immune to the retail revolution happening around. The local markets here are very simple though vibrant and colorful in its own way. The normal markets are open all days except on Sunday when majority of the shops are closed or operate only for half a day, how ever there are special days of  markets when locals from all surrounding villages bring their produce for sale. In Mapusa a city in North Goa this market is on every Friday. Markets like the Friday market in Mapusa happen all across important cities and towns in Goa on different days. These markets are a treat to visit for the experience of a typical chaotic, energetic, loud Indian market. On these days the markets are generally over crowded as the locals come in thousands to buy, as you can buy the best, freshest commodities at the cheapest price. Apart from the agricultural produce, daily house hold stuff etc you can buy home made wines, exotic local vegetables, artifacts, furniture pottery etc.

More often than once you bump into some one you know. Sometimes the buyer and the seller are good friends, sometimes neighbors. Once I was bargaining hard with a elderly lady over the price of some fish pickle & a friend bumped into me and got involved in the negotiation and at his behest the lady offered me a very low rate later I realized that the lady was my friends aunt. There are no permanent shops in these markets and you could sell anything you have from any where. These markets are also spaces to socialize and catch up. In a place like Goa where every one knows every one the markets does the job of Facebook as well. Once I noticed a elderly couple roaming around in the markets distributing wedding invitation as it was easier to meet most, rather than going to meet them in their houses.

The guys who stay away from these markets are the village electricians, plumbers, painters so as to stay away from all the demands of promises not met. Actually this would have been a ideal platform for them to network and sell but not here, not yet.