A Sunday enterprise

A Sunday enterprise

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE


The old dictum goes; a family which prays together stays together. It may not be applicable in these times, when time is hard pressed for togetherness. If families manage to live in the same city, consider it a blessing! But we also have a tradition, which is - Sunday is family day. So when in city we all spend Sunday together.

Last Sunday, the three of us decided to walk in Cubbon Park. Among the many changes are notice boards on information on birds that we may spot. There is also a protected enclosure for aquatic birds, and there is live-music in the Band Stand area. Most heartening was the intermittent announcement to the general public not to litter.

Of course there was litter everywhere, but as India has proved time and again, private enterprise reigns supreme. Litter scroungers were picking up plastic and paper, and also asking for alms, hoping to get lucky. There were many vendors. Apart from fruit drinks and water sold by vendors of HOPCOMS , there are other edibles like roasted corn, peanuts, puffed-rice and chaat items. There is also the fruit seller, who makes an impressive exhibition of fruit carving.

The poly-mango looked delectable, but my daughter and I were wary about the lack of hygiene. But we wet tissues over the trash can and wiped the mango clean, we let her cut the mango and did another wipe and let her put the chilly powder. The exercise wasn’t exactly clinical but somewhere just enough to validate the purchase.

 The lady vendor in her mid sixties offered a fresh clean paper from a neatly stacked pile, to act a serviette for the drip which will ensue from osmosis. “It’s clean,” she said in pristine English. “Thank you!” we chorused taken aback, by the gesture. “Welcome ma,” she responded with a smile.

Well, I can tell by the organised vending of HOPCOMS as well as the unorganised enterprises by poor Indians that street vending has come of age. Notably government enterprise is still way behind in number in this sector. It is time we organised ourselves in that quarter to upgrade its services through proper shelters and licensing and business practices. The question is, will the government make honest attempt to upgrade street vending and encourage it with infrastructure? And will the bureaucracy effect it without malpractice?

As we ambled along, a man rode by us on bike, he stopped and popped the question, “Tea?”. “That would be lovely,” we responded. He served us Tetley sachets which he picked with tongs and dipped them into the warm liquid and held it out on a tray. Truly refreshing and now a thought for private enterprise: Should we go the Malaysian way?

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