I love farmers’ markets, I love traveling, and (when I’m not hating it) I love India. (Definitely a love-hate relationship.) So going to the bazaar just outside McCluskieganj was basically a dream come true for me.
We approach the bazaar. It actually was even more crowded than it looks. Smellssoundscolorspeoplepeoplepeople. Samosasflashlightstamarindsearringssoapsokraeggplantchickpeas. It was amazing.
I bought a kilo of okra (for our kitchen at JV) from this guy, who got a big laugh out of me taking his picture. Prices here were super cheap. The kilo of okra was 10 rupees (about 18 cents) and the kilo of potatoes was 15 rupees (maybe 28 cents). So 2 kilos of vegetables for less than 50 cents. Whoa.
Spice and sweets seller. Huge heaps of nuts and spices and what looks like yellow cereal flecked with chili and cumin. I don’t think you can see the pastry that made me sick in this shot. More on that later.
Lots of seeds for sale — we are, after all, in the middle of a very big agricultural community. It might seem like a weird time for seeds, except actually I think it’s pretty much perfect — the pre-monsoon rains are just starting, so I think people are actually doing their planting now.
Everyone piling back into our jeep to head back to JV. There were 7 adults and 2 kids in the car on the way back. We pack ’em tight here.
Yeah, so in addition to the veggies for the kitchen, I bought a few samosas and a small bag of fried dough strips covered in sugar. It was the kind of thing that I was basically daring myself to eat, knowing it couldn’t really be that clean but trying to prove to myself that my intestines and stomach are Indian-steel now.
No. They’re not. I can tell within 30 minutes of eating the fried food that it was mistake. My stomach is churning. Daduji hands me a lassi-in-a-bag drink that is actually very tasty — sweet and sour and soothing to the stomach. “They use old oil to cook at the bazaar,” he scolds me. I nod, dizzy. I lie down for a couple hours and the nausea passes. Whew. Still, I haven’t been tempted by market food since.