I haven’t been to a place until I an in the market. So here I am, back to the markets in Panjim. First, the fish market.
I stood right by Ramesh, in the blue shirt, at Panjim fish market. Each little pile of fish sold for 100 Rupees. Each space occupied by a seller has a number (in yellow circle) that ties to a permit. The permit for all these sellers you see is held by Crystal Madam, seen my sketch and in the photo on the right. Madam Crystal sipped a nimbu pani while keeping an eye on everyone selling in her spaces, reminding them to greet passersby a little more enthusiastically and holler about their fish a wee bit louder. But she didn’t mind my chatting with Ramesh and the other sellers as I sketched.
The fish market is crazy and chaotic with cats running underfoot, eating the fish too little to sell. By contrast, Panjim’s fruit market is modern, clean, and organized. Which made it easy to settle down to a long sketch.
I was offered a plastic stool like the one in the sketch to sit on and a crate for my art supplies.
Next, I went to the top floor of the market, to make photocopies of my sketch for some of the vendors, and I ended up staying and sketching Ayesha Ladies Tailor. Ayesha, in pink and parrot green at the sewing machine, does the main stitching while her three assistants attach a fall to a saree or finish up garments with handwork. All four of them work happily in a space that is 4 feet wide and less than 8 feet deep. These little shops have no air conditioning and it is hot in summer. Ayesha makes sure the fan points directly at the girls who work deepest in this little space and her three assistants banter happily as they work. I stand just outside the little space and draw them.
Outside the market sit vendors with wicker baskets of produce. These are not the stall owners who stock a range of vegetables. These sellers either buy what they sell by the basket and resell it for a small profit or bring what grows on small family plots to sell. It’s a tough sell when you have only one item to sell and their earnings are meager. Grapes and green mangoes are on sale here, but most people just hurry past today.
I return to this market much later, towards the end of my trip, and sketch these mango sellers in colorful sarees. I think I was actually there just to be engulfed by the heady smell of a room full of mangoes ripening in the summer heat. I wish I could bottle the smell and bring it back with me!
This is post #2 in a series of posts of sketches from India. The first post in the series is here and there will be more to follow.