The Family and I always drift into markets while on vacation, usually to inspect the local produce. In Madurai we found the most wonderful of markets: a wholesale flower market. In moments we were lost: The Family and I wandering down different aisles, with Sathiamoorthy keeping an anxious eye on us. “How sweet of him”, The Family later said. I would have chosen a different phrase, but I agreed. But a flower market is a market above all. There is the produce, there are buyers and sellers, and then, in the shadows, are the moneybags. I chose the featured photo with this in mind. Notice the gold border on the hem of the dhoti worn by the owner reclining in the shadows behind his men.
It was clear that we had arrived past peak business hours. Some stalls were already empty, others were left with the last bags of produce, but there was still brisk trading on. We saw small resellers leaving with bags of flowers. Interestingly, the small sellers and local vendors are often women. The wholesale market is dominated by farmers, and they are always men. I noticed this when I looked at the photos again. It is a stark reminder of power and economics which I didn’t even think about as I walked about the market dazed by the colours.