There is something undeniably romantic about a Farmer’s Market. It’s raw and wholesome. Each person behind the cart selling their wares, putting their best foot forward. But it’s a little more than that. The seller is also selling a story, when they shoot across that charming smile to tempt you to buy what they offer. They are baring a part of themselves for you. If you try and look with your mind’s eye, you will read their story.
But it’s not just the people behind the cart who are vulnerable and open to your interpretation of them. Visitors to the Market itself are adding to the canvas in their own way. Each has his or her reason to stumble out of bed early on a Sunday morning (in Karachi there’s one Farmer’s Market in the city and unfortunately it’s a Sunday morning). Venturing near stalls, eyeing the wares with a careful tentativeness, making sure not to betray too much interest lest the sales pitch may engulf you. Once that begins, you are in the Obligation Zone – this is a particularly uncomfortable place to be, where you have shown sufficient interest in the product and the seller has offered you to taste it. You have three choices – buy it, give a very good reason why you won’t or just move on. The last choice makes you feel like a really awful soul. It’s this particular exchange between seller and potential buyer, this waltz of yes or no, of give or take which makes the whole picture romantic. It brings to test some basic human sensibilities. From a distance, it’s a delight to watch. And with a scrumptious (albeit overpriced) aloo paratha in hand, it somehow brings out the observant bystander in me.
I try to go visit every other Sunday and there are some staples that are I purchase only from there – pure honey, pure ghee and a few vegetables (if we arrive in time). There is often a quartet playing instruments in the corner and the music is lilting. It sets the ‘lingering’ mood. For a few minutes you forget the heat that bears down on you and you imbibe the relaxedness in the air. Whether you come to buy or just hang back, do pay your local Farmer’s Market a visit. Take a part in this waltz. The wholesome air will do you good.