Monday, June 27, 2005

Demolishing old markets

Demolishing old markets
One of the oldest, quaintest throwbacks to the new fancy malls is Johnson Market. A kind of square roughly covers the area, with a park that till recently hid it from the traffic-congested Hosur Road.
Deccan Herald

Around a month ago, the park came under the BMP road roller under their “road widening,” programme.

A narrow walker’s lane opposite the mosque, besides Baldwin Boys School, (which the two wheeler guys constantly brave) takes you to the market.

A long verandah outside the market has several shops -- a vada, bajji corner; an electric goods shop, whose owner also doubles up as the local electrician; a tiny grocery shop that is still valiantly holding its own beside the Foodworlds, the All Saints and Fatimas that populate the region; and then there are the flower women, who give you the best bargains on their bouquets, malligae and marigold strings.

Inside the market are the regular veggie shops, rows and rows of them, with some of the rarest vegetables—broccoli, celery, baby corn, onion stalk, baby cabbage, yellow and red capsicum, and the most exotic fruits.

The shop owners will fight over the fare and the noisiest and the most vocal ones usually win.

Around the market are the meat shops and several other odds and ends shops, and then there is Fanoos. A popular hangout, Fanoos arguably has the best chicken/meat rolls and kebabs in town. It is probably because the meat is bought fresh off the shops on the other side.

The sheekh rolls come in different sizes and have funny names like Jumbo, Mambo, Rambo and Sambo, with Sambo being the largest roll. What makes Fanoos attractive is its affordable prices, that range from Rs 8 to Rs 100 and its convenient location.

So much so that it gets a mixed crowd that frequents the eatery untill late hours.

Behind Johnson market is a small lane that goes in a semi-circle and brings you up on the other side.

Everyone tries to drive through this lane and gets stuck as they wait for the other guy to blink.

Beyond this lane are the kabadiwallas, some more meat shops, veggie/fruit shops, a dargah and then you come upon the narrowest lane that only cyclists would dare to venture into.

Here there are some garment shops, some more odds and ends shops, a pharmacy and then there is the Rub Aquarium.

Rub Aquarium has guppies, sharks, mollies and a variety of gold fish in their lovely hues. Run by the ever-smiling and cheerful Masood, with all the time in the world, he patiently answers every silly question that customers put to him.

Hordes of children crowd around his shop and he lets them take their time to select their fish, before packing them in a see-through plastic bag, so that they can keep gazing at their pets as they walk home.

Prices here range from Rs 10 for the smallest gold fish to Rs 25,000 for the huge fengshui fish.

And now comes the saddest part of the whole tale. Fanoos and Rub Aquariaum and all the other quaint shops in this part of Richmond Town may not survive for long as the BMP has plans to rebuild Johnson Market as a seven storey multi-level parking lot, with a commercial complex that will house plush offices and fancier shops!


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