More than just peanuts

More than just peanuts

More than just peanuts

The crunch of the peanut shells was masked by the deafening chatter and laughter from all around.

Soon, the road turned into a dump yard of broken and carelessly discarded shells. When the ‘Kadlekai Parishe’ on Bull Temple Road came to a close on Tuesday, the street bore the remains of the day.

For two days, the annual groundnut fair was celebrated to its fullest. Although it is called the ‘Kadlekai Parishe’, it is more than just about  groundnuts; it is a full-fledged ‘jatre’ that one is so wholly deprived of in an urban setting.

It was two days of all the shenanigans — along with a variety of peanuts, from ‘nati’ to hybrid, fried, baked and salted, there were carts selling baked sweet potatoes from Salem, smeared with chilli paste, baked corn, icecream, soap bubbles floating in the air, Annabelle-like dolls and ghoul masks, fortune tellers, flower vendors, vendors selling ‘bendu’, ‘batasu’, ‘bajji’, ‘bonda’, ‘paani puri’ and other ‘chaats’, and more.

Decorative lights lit up Bull Temple Road as people blew on whistles and played with toys. Murthy, who was beating a drum amidst the festivities, said, “I have been coming here since I was three years old. My father would carry me on his back and I would be able to see the whole street from up there.”

But he said that it is not the same as it once was. “It was a mud road back then and many things have changed...people should remember to keep their surroundings clean at all times.

Now people think it’s okay to throw anything they want, anywhere they like.”
While it seemed merry on the outside, the facade fell apart at night, when the vendors fell asleep on the filthy footpaths.

“I don’t really mind sleeping on the footpath; I don’t have much of a choice either since all my produce can’t be lugged around and I have no where else to go,” said Ramaswamy, a vendor from Hogenakkal.

Chinnaswamy, a vendor from Dharmapuri said, “I along with three others are staying in a room we have rented nearby. It costs us Rs 2,000 per day. Yet I have someone sleeping on the footpath because my produce is worth Rs 40,000.”

It wasn’t just the groundnut vendors who were sleeping on the streets. The fair, which saw people from various parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra coming into the City, was a cradle to anyone to walked in. Ganesan, a resident of Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, was there to sell soap bubbles.

He said, “I usually sell my ware in Krishnagiri but when there is a ‘jatre’ in Bengaluru, I come here. I spend the nights on the footpath and go back once the fair is done.”

Despite everything, people flocked to Basavanagudi to buy and sell goods. Constable Hanumantharayappa, who had a tough time keeping people at bay, said, “My legs feel like they are going to fall apart!”