The Market Place
Flea Markets are an almost alien concept for us Indians. First or second hand items for sale at really cheap prices is not something we are used to. Because we already have our own versions of them, we just happen to call them ‘Chor Bazaars’! But no, seriously. Flea markets and artisan markets are rare to come by because they are either very expensive, or they just very quickly transform into a retail business rather than having a direct producer-consumer interaction.
Flea markets or artisan markets are important not only for us consumers (because hey, cheap stuff!) but it is equally important for the producers (artisans/farmers etc.) as well. When you remove the middleman, the producer benefits by gaining the true price for all the hard work he put into making the product, and the consumer gains a much more holistic and fun experience of choosing and buying a product. And lets face it – its so much more fun! It’s like visiting a shopping fair, where you can go with a bunch of friends, try different things, taste exotic fruits, cheeses and wines, buy hand made clothes and other such things at low prices.
Pune city, with its metropolitan culture and population, is definitely seeing an inclination to the more contemporary and western lifestyle. We do see flea markets in Pune such as Utsav, The Pune Farmer’s Market and the traditional Marathi flea market, Bhimtadi, but we definitely need more of them.
For the uninitiated, here is a little bit on these three market events that take place every year in Pune (sometimes even twice a year):
Utsav is an artisan market and exhibition of the largest scale in the city. Hundreds of producers, artisans, farmers and independent manufacturers converge under one big roof to sell their wares directly to consumers. Everything from food to cookware and home décor is available at wholesale prices. Gardening supplies, clothes, electric appliances, industrial machinery and even books can be found being sold by people all over the country. It is open for all and usually lasts a couple of weeks. If you haven’t yet attended one of these, worry not! Utsav takes place thrice in a year and at different locations in the city – so you can always catch the next one!
2. Pune Farmer’s Market:
The Pune Farmer’s Market is a definite go-to for any food-lover. Fresh fruits and vegetables, freshly cooked food, cheese and wines are all up for tasting and sale at this Farmer’s Market. Live cooking demonstrations and wine-making demonstrations are also featured. This is a fun place to hang out for the day, as you go around tasting amazing food and wine and take in the happy vibe of the whole rustic market.
Bhimtadi is the traditional Maharashtrian flea market, where farmers and artisans from all over Maharashtra come together to sell their wares. Again, here you will see food and handicrafts of local artisans along with music and entertainment such as puppet shows and dancing. It could easily be termed as an authentic Maharashtrian experience, if there ever was one. Visit this at least once, not just for the goodies, but also to get in touch with your Maharashtrian roots!
With flea markets and all the fun and vibrancy around them, and keeping in mind the fact that you get truckloads of goodies at awesome prices, Pune definitely should have more of these! What do you think?