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Entries about turban-wallas

Human Forklifts

Tour: Mesmerizing Markets Tour
Starting time: 2.30 pm
Duration: 3 hours
Starting point: Bank of India
Cost: INR 4000

http://www.calcuttaphototours.com/tour4.php

The afternoon tour focused on the Koley vegetable market. This wholesale market is certainly not on the tourist “must see” trail.

As Manjit said, it is for photographers. Yes, the challenge was working with the different forms of lighting. For me it was really hard. Sunlight streaming in through the roof, fluro and warm white lights as well.

One just had to take time to stand back and soak in the atmosphere first.

Being a wholesale market, the bulk of Kolkata’s vegetable supply from rural West Bengal areas passes through this market before being sold to the smaller markets around Kolkata.

My senses certainly got a good work out ….

Each item had it’s own dedicated section with it’s own unique smell, sights and sounds.

Wet

Wandering around the arteries of the market watching where one puts ones feet as the ground was at times certainly wet, dirty, mucky, slippery and slushy covered with both fresh but more often rotting vegetable leaves …. it just added to the unique atmosphere.

With the narrow alleyways slippery with muck from the rotting vegetables, it was like dodgems at times … dodging the vendors, porters, buyers and sellers and being careful not to slip.

Smell

Imagine the lovely smell or odour that comes from mountains piled high with onions, chilli or garlic and what they emit coupled with at time the smell of both the fresh and rotting greens lying on the ground. It is not for the faint hearted or if one did not have a strong stomach.

Colour

The vendors had their own unique and indigenous way of highlighting their product with light bulbs wrapped in coloured cellophane at times matching the products to enhance what is beneath it.

Blue for the tomatoes, carrots and ginger, green for the peas, red for the onions.

Vendors

Again it was having Manjit nearby and with his long standing rapore the vendors allowed me closer access to them. Because I wasn’t pressured for time, when asking for permission to take their photo often ended up with a friendly banter. Just look at their facial expressions … from the smiles to the smirks.

No doubt the older ones would have had a few stories to tell with their experience, knowledge and wisdom.

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“Turban-wallas“ or Porters

The highlight to me was definitely seeing the “turban-wallas“ or porters at work. A scene that I had not witnessed anywhere else in all the markets around the world that I had been to.

Huge bails of vegetables weighing between 400 - 500 kilograms were man handled into the market by teams of 4 or more men. Team work at the fore.

With their colourful turbans wrapped around their heads to both soften and distribute the weight the bails on their head, they were continually delivering from the trucks and carts parked outside to the wholesalers inside. With the narrow alleyways, no way could a forklift do this. So perhaps they are human forklifts?

The challenge for me was to get as many faces in the camera screen as possible. Not easy at all. Getting all the feet were dead easy. Watching them walk like a caterpillar with to me anyway no audible commands as when to start moving was at times memorising …

Just watch the video.

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Koley vegetable market was certainly a place of thriving non-stop action. Being here in the late afternoon, I know that this activity had been going on since day break and wondered when does it stop? It was certainly organized chaos.

My time with Manjit today was 7,000 rupee / NZ$147.40 / US$108.60 as I had to pay for the minimum of 2 people but it was really worth it as oppose to me just aimlessly wandering around taking photos and not knowing the hidden treasures of the city.

The final part of my Indian adventure begins tonight with the G Adventures group meeting. JD was the CEO for this tour. Just 8 in this group and for once an even number of males and females. Struck out again with being an “odd” male and was roomed with Ken.

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Welcome group dinner was at Kwality Resturant over in Park St. Fish Butter Masala 375 rupees / NZ$7.90 / US$5.80, garlic naan 105 rupees / NZ$2.20 / US$1.60 and Kingfisher 285 rupees / NZ$6.00 / US$4.40. Total tonight 789 rupees / NZ$16.60 / US$12.20 rounded up to 800 rupee / NZ$16.80 / US$12.40.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:54 Archived in India Tagged market vegetables vegetable_market turban-wallas christmas_street_lights Comments (0)

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