By Swatee Jog
There’s a small part of Belagavi that is hidden from the glare of the glossy pages, a Belagavi that is currently looking very much like a kid who has changed into pajamas after a party! A city that has relaxed after all the festivities that began just before Ganesh chaturthi and continued well after Diwali. Have a stroll now into the heart of the city to enjoy the true essence of how ‘green’ a city can be!
No matter how much you miss the fine dining scene in Belagavi, or those multi-cuisine restaurants, you realize how blessed you are to have easy access to some of the finest vegetables, fruits and assorted goodies in this city. Walk down Ganpat galli and see the splendid mounds of chubby Nagpur oranges, smiling at you. Priced between 20 and 50 rupees kilo, they’re as sweet as Nagpur claims them to be. Add to that the blushing red apples competing for your attention. Black grapes have arrived and so have chickoos and guavas which are being sold even at Ramdev galli. (Opp Apsara, Sanghvi, Creasewise new showroom, for sure). Step into the vegetable market to be greeted by the greenest of chillies I’ve seen and they’re handing out a large volume for Rs. 10. Feel blessed with the sight of deep green Coriander leaves (Kothimbir)- 2 bunches for Rs. 10. The market has already welcomed the first flush of raw mangoes- including totapuri, priced at 2 for Rs. 20. And yes, they are amazingly sour.
You can see plenty of Coleus forskohlii or Main mool (that go into the making of pickles) being sold. Until a few days ago, all you could see was Bhendi (Okra), Brinjal and beans. But now they have taken a backseat, although I met a man selling soft beans for a premium of Rs. 35 for half kg and Rs. 20 for a quarter!
Limes are available at 5 for Rs. 10 and green leafy vegetables like Amaranth ( lal bhaji), Dil (shepu), Methi, spinach (palak) and green onions are also in plenty. Look out for drumsticks and also clean fresh radish. Rejoice, for the desi variety of carrots are back. Belgaumites don’t quite like the Bangalore variety which is less sweet and looks pretty ugly (what a paradox). Rejoice also for the months ahead in the company of fresh peas, small and big which are commanding a price of Rs. 100 and Rs. 120 respectively. The Yellur and Old Belagavi area is particularly famous for the small peas and sell mostly on Shahapur Khade Bazar. That stretch of road currently turns jammed with buyers of this one commodity. No bargaining please! Add them to poha or upma or make samosas, vegetable, curries or even kheer with these small peas. These naughty ones just elevate any dish they mix into.
Belagavi vegetables are famous for their freshness and come really cheap, especially when compared to other cities. Also, they are grown properly in farms and not just about anywhere amidst pollutants. A farmer or his wife carry their wares and settle on some spot till they sell only to return the next day.
Grab your cloth bags and head to the vegetable market. Make health while the sun shines. At least in the vegetable market, acche din aye hai!!!
About the Author: Swatee Jog is a Training and Placement Officer at Bharatesh Global Business School, Belagavi