Dadar Flower Market

I picked-up the picture of Shiva and his wife with Ganesh from the framers
I’d chosen the frame the day before from the shop in Dadar

Having to pass through the flower market is a pleasant and fragrant experience
In contrast to many of the odours of Mumbai

The market is under the flyover of the main highway to South Mumbai
Congested with traffic and pollution
Pedestrians move swift-footedly with the traffic which itself moves quickly and erratically avoiding the potholes and pedestrians, in that priority

Dadar is the stronghold of the orange-clad, Shiv Sena
A far-right political party set-up in the Sixties to defend Marathis from migrants to the city
Going mainstream some ten years later they were advocating pan-India Hindu nationalism

Over the years their popularity and notoriety have risen
Some see them as endorsing violent protest; extremists, fascists even a terror group
However, half a million slum dwellers in Mumbai have been provided with housing as a result of their action
That is quite impressive in a city at times short of benevolence

But Dadar is also Mumbai’s epicenter of traditional shopping; streets and streets of shops with no malls, McDonalds or car parks
Almost everyday a mass of humanity and merchandise moves in and out
The flower market is east of the shopping district

It was the festival of Diwali in a week or two
The best time of the year for a flower seller so there were more people than usual
Travelling along the flyover you’re not aware of what happens underneath, it’s a different world and perspective

The high flyover is close to the buildings that line it, allowing drivers to peer into the dilapidated, dull, flourescent-lit offices and workshops that produce clothing on antiquated machines
These are caves of industriousness hewn from the facades of the relatively ornate colonial buildings

Nearly all the flowers sold in the market are strung into garlands
Only the flower heads are needed; sewn together with fine yarn through the sepals at the base of the flower
It might seem strange to them that we keep the stalks and try to preserve them a few days more in water

The flowers are delicate and beautiful  and their scent strong, especially thrown together in their thousands within the hand made wicker baskets
But their lifespan is short and in such numbers they’re expendable
Like many Mumbaikar’s lives; a reason Shiv Sena have a stronghold here

The beauty of the flowers is quickly lost outside the baskets; the ground covered with bruised petals trod into the dusty ground
Nonetheless it’s an agreeable place to past some time in Mumbai

photography and text by Tim Harris
This entry was published on May 10, 2017 at 6:30 pm. It’s filed under India, Politics, Shopping, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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