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100 Rupee Challenge

So the challenge was to use 100 Rupees to buy stuff that you found interesting, quirky or unique to Mapusa Market. I finalized to have a common thread (literally) between all my items i.e. that they should all be stuff that were bead-like on strings.

1. The Goan Sausage: the never failing favourite of Goan cuisine gave me a unique start item and due to its slang term ‘Rosary Beads’ helped me onto my second. These 5 beads I got for Rs 15/-

2. The Rosary: Goa has one of the highest percentages of Catholics in India and this is quite apparent by the huge number of churches and also the super variants in Rosary design. This one was tri coloured and made from an interesting breakproof bendable plastic. Super cool! Got for Rs 30/- at the entrance of the market.

3. Cow Bell: This lovely beaded item is used to decorate and help the cowherd find his favourite cow with a tinkle of the bell. It was the most expensive item on my list for Rs 65/- but worth every Rupee, as Werner proves here…

4. Junk Jewellery: Theres tonnes of cheap jewellery in Mapusa Market, I just went for cheapest to continue my theme. Rs 5/- these buggers costed me.

5. Teething Baby’s Item: This was the strangest item i noticed on my walk. A fluorescent plastic dumbbell that apparently helps babies who are teething, by simbly inserting in their mouth. Yes very very suspect, especially because it was displayed right next to naphthalene balls. Don’t cry little baby, this costed only Rs 5/-

As you might notice, I suck at bargaining and couldn’t keep it within my 100 limit. But here’s the spots to buy these items incase you want to try your luck.

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Day 2 of the workshop, i.e., 14th January 2013 saw the whole team being given a 100 rupee note individually. The task involved buying whatever appealed to one at the market, which was in spirit of the same.

I specially had fun exploring the market on my own after the introduction the previous day. In those few hours I saw myself roaming the market, similar to a monk in search of a relic. It was interesting as to whatever items came across my eyes; from a pin to rusted antiques.

But there were a few items which I just couldn’t resist buying..

We’ve been visiting the Mapusa Market every other day, and I find myself drawn to certain lanes and sellers more than others – those selling avocado, breads, brown rice – all the good stuff that I like to have but avoid buying out of sheer laziness from having to go all the way to the market. The local grocers and vegetable vendors in my area don’t always keep this stuff, and even if they do, there’s not enough of it to give you the pleasure of sifting through a whole lot before finalising on which one to buy.

Avocado

Avocado

The avocados come from Bangalore, I’m told. Which probably means the areas around the city; I don’t think Bangalore has enough green spaces left for growing avocados, though I’ll be happy to be proved wrong. I bought an avocado during the 100-rupee-dash game that we played in the market last week, but that obviously didn’t whet my appetite for guacamole, so I found myself prowling around the avocado stalls once again a few days ago.. And bought one. A second time.

Sweet Poyee

Sweet Poyee

When guacamole is around, can bread be far behind? A walk past the bread shops brought to my notice a new kind of bread, which my local bakeries don’t bake – ‘sweet poyee‘. Not one with a sweet tooth, I was apprehensive about buying this at first, but decided to try some out anyway. It’s not really sweet, just not as wheaty and coarse as the regular poyee. It has a smooth surface and is made primarily from maida (all-purpose flour). Went well with the guacamole though.

Past the bakery, I moved on to the pottery shed. Terracotta work is always interesting, and having tried my hand at terracotta work myself, I know the amount of effort that goes into making something from scratch, right from making the clay to baking the item in a kiln and getting it ready. Some years ago, while working on a similar project at Siolim market, I had bought an earthen jug from a woman potter from Anjuna. It was a nice piece of work – hand patted and shaped brilliantly – snout, handle, lid and all. Over the years, minus a lid and with some cracks having developed on its side, the jug was ready to be replaced. I managed to find this in Mapusa Market – an almost identical piece, but probably not made by the same woman. The seller at the stall told me that it came from Bicholim, and couldn’t confirm whether it was hand-patted or made on a wheel. The similarity is striking, as you can see from the photos.

Finally, there was the brown rice. Bought from the woman we interviewed on Friday – she comes from Moira, and sits with a sackful of brown rice near the vegetable sellers (though when I bought it the second time, she was beyond the fruit sellers’ lane). I also learnt that the handmade ‘cup’ that they use for measuring the rice (no balance, no metric system here) is made of wood from the jackfruit tree.

100 rs challenge

100 rs challenge

So given a budget of a 100 rs i directly knew what i was gonna get..The bebinca from Simonia bakery…yummmm..Infact before the workshop i would come only to mapusa to go get some bebinca  at simonias…usually before i travel to Dubai. On talking to the owners they told me production starts at 5 am at their candolim bakery.the first shipment arrives at 9 am at their outlet in the mapusa market and at 10 am to their outlet at porvorim then they have a second shipment at 2pm…

Moira Bananas

Prashant Falari bought these bananas because they are exclusively found in mapusa market.      They used to come from nearby village called moira but nowdays they are brought from Menkurey and Ibrahumpur. Nowdays similar type arrives from Karnataka and it is difficult to distinguish between the two varieties. Hence it is only on the trust of the seller a genuine purchase can be made. It would be interesting to master the skill required in distinguishing the two varieties of bananas.So also would be interesting to explore as to what makes these bananasellers stick only to this business and not include other fruit varieties along with it.

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So it begins, a casual walk through the market, evidence of Ganpati celebrations; its the last day I hear. The task is to purchase for a sum of Rs. 100/- items that symbolize the market personally to me. As we walked the group scattered and I found myself distracted by stories and peculiarities of the market narrated by my walking companion who was already involved in his own in depth fact-finding project on Mapusa market.  I immediately know I want to buy these ‘nazar’ (evil eye) dolls, that Ive always fancied buying here but never ended up so far. Great. An hour passes by we have stopped for chai at a place i often stop for chai

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opposite the bread section

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Anyhow, we have walked some more meandering through the flower section, fruits, bakery, stuff and then its time to show and tell and I’ve realized that I’ve lost track of the exercise. I pull out things I have bought for myself;

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Nazar (evil eye or quite literally, ‘the look’) dolls @ Rs. 20 each. I should have bargained here. They’re handmade in Belgaon, Karnataka and do the usual universal work of keeping the evil intenders at bay. I bought them because they’re cute.

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I always buy the big poi bread from the Mapusa bakery section. As a rule. Rs. 5 each.

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Everytime of course. Rs. 10 each

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The market was flooded with Avocados. I love avocados. They’re from Karnataka and available at every fruit seller around the Shakuntala statue. Rs. 40 a piece or Rs. 100 for a kilo.

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I got hungry. These are a beef patty and a half eaten chicken patty from Louisiana stores. Rs. 10 each.

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And finally a Ganpati Lottery. Way over budget, but what the heck. I love this market.