A Cultural Reflection

In my early days in Meerut, a small town in India, the whole day we heard voices of vendors or people offering their services. They would pass on the road, shouting at the top of their voices: tinkers mending broken items or sharpening knifes and scissors, someone who specialized in polishing kitchen utensils, others selling homemade ice cream packed in clay cone molds and dumped in a big clay pot full of ice, desserts made of lentils, a man selling peda, (a sweet prepared in thick semi-soft pieces). The ingredients included khoa (prepared by thickening of milk in an open steel pan), sugar; and traditional flavouring like cardamom seeds, pistachio nuts, and saffron. Peanuts and roasted chickpeas, always hot were sold in a jholy, a deep cotton sheet knotted and hanging by the vendors’ shoulders. All these vendors shouted in loud voices that we could hear while sitting inside our house; these voices were regular features of life, and we heard them every day.