My mother worked at Vani Vilas Hospital in Bangalore. She would spend long hours at work, often starting early in the morning and returning home late, and sometimes she would rush back to the hospital late at night to attend to emergencies. The hospital was like her 2nd home.
During my exams study breaks, I’d go to the hospital with her. She would make me sit in the corner of her room (she had a room in the hospital for meeting her patients and other administrative work) and ensure I’d study.
While the thought of getting stuck at a hospital the whole day to study for exams sounds incredibly dull, it was a lot of fun. I had to step out whenever she had a meeting. I had made friends with most of the staff there, and occasionally they would buy me snacks and short eats at the local canteen. Pepsi was just introduced in India, and the canteen had received a few crates of Pepsi. I vividly remember drinking a chilled Pepsi for the first time, not knowing what to expect. As I chugged the fizzy sugary drink down my esophagus, I almost choked myself 😵💫
My visit to the hospital was not just during the exams. After exams, and at the end of every summer holiday, I’d return to the hospital with her. She would give me some money, with which I had to buy notebooks, stationery, textbooks, and everything needed for the next academic year from the nearby market at Avenue Road.
Avenue Road was (and still is) the hub for all such purchases, as the prices are pretty reasonable. Walking down from Vani Vilas, you get to the Tipu Sultan’s summer palace; just after that is the legendary KR market, and then you enter Avenue Road. I’d spend hours and hours in this area, aimlessly looking at shops, people, and the general market buzz.
This part of Bangalore holds a special place in my heart as I have my childhood memories associated with it.
Last year my friends Joice and Vishnu were doing an early morning KR Market walk, they asked me if I’d like to join them, and I readily agreed for nostalgic reasons, and I also wanted to click pictures 🙂
KR Market is the hub for wholesale vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Activity in this market peaks around 6 AM. People from all parts of Bangalore, mainly small shop owners and restaurant folks, come here to buy fresh stock for the day to resell in various parts of the city.
You will also find people who have traveled from long distances to sell their produce directly in the wholesale market. These were a bunch of boys from UP!
And the thing with the market is that if you spend time talking, you’ll always find some interesting stories. I met this grand old lady, aged about 102 years. She was with her daughter selling garlic and chilies. The daughter told me the old lady had spent all her adult life selling vegetables at KR market. The lady was financially well off as she has acquired a few shops in and around the market area giving her a steady stream of rental income. But still, at the age of 102, she chooses to come to the market to sell chilies, ginger, and garlic.
I wonder what motivates her. Perhaps the KR market and the market’s ecosystem are her extended family. How many of us would have that kind of spirit even at half her age? I could not help, but take a portrait of this beautiful lady.
Here are a few more pictures from my early morning KR Market walk.
I’m not sure where nostalgia will take me next, but I’m looking forward to it 😊