By Swatee Jog
Every city has its own epicenter where it buzzes the most. For the next 10 days or so, this is going to be Belgaum’s golden quadrilateral of Ramdev galli, Khade Bazar, Ganpat Galli and Maruti Galli. It’s brimming with shoppers, duly toting bags on their shoulders and bikes. All roads are leading to this central district and what a pleasant sight it has come out to be! The car at Bogarves has extended till the Hanuman statue at Sanchayani circle. People are eyeing parking spots like hawks.
If you can really afford some time, come here and see how and what is being sold, how people buy and what kind of energy is spilling out of these roads. Hawkers of all kinds are crowding the streets with their cane baskets, carts, bags or simply handheld ware. The eye-catchers for me were the teenage boys selling peacock feathers, an awesome array of artificial flowers, garlands, Torans and tiny red button roses being sold by volume. Marigolds are smiling from the roadside mats laid down and fruits are singing flavourful songs. Strings of fairy-lights in vivid hues paint a colorful picture of how the décor would look. Some stalls have already displayed beautiful Ganesh Idols. Women are seen buying fruits and vegetables while the young ones are seen peering at the Thermocol makhars and the décor items. A large section of the crowd seems to be from villages and towns surrounding Belgaum. Stalls with colorful rangoli mounds are making brisk business. Maruti galli is overflowing with sellers selling pretty curtains that can serve as a backdrop to the Ganesh idol, with motifs of peacock, Shankar-Parvati or mountains printed on them. A stall at the junction of Burud galli-Ganpat galli is laden with endless strings of plastic flowers of all shapes, hues and sizes, small and big plastic lanterns and décor stuff. The sight is so pretty that one is drawn towards it, no matter whether you’re buying something or not.
Clothes shops, stalls, road-side carts are doing business in kids wear, parents are seen haggling for that pretty golden mini ghagra or that shiny new jeans. Every shop is enjoying footfalls, which is a soothing sight in times of a gloomy market economy. Absence of rains is actually a huge problem, but somehow it has enabled people to venture out in the dry climes and prep up for the arrival of the Lord. Come out, just walk through these streets. Feel how the world is finding happiness.