Colorful. Heaping. Rickety. Wobbly. Vegetable carts of India are as much a staple of everyday life as the produce that is sold from them. Fruits, vegetables, roasted nuts, and just about anything that is easily transportable is sold from movable carts on the streets of India.
Men of all ages push (or pull) carts made from wood, fitted with four large fixed wheels. Maneuvering the carts is a laborious task without the aid of a steering axle; accomplished by pushing the cart for a distance, then picking up one end, swiveling to the desired direction, and resetting a course for a continued distance before repeating. This continues as long as it takes to sell the entire contents of each cart’s valuables. With perishable product to be sold, time is definitely of the essence.
Carts move about residential and business neighborhoods regardless of the size of street or area of town; an impressive feat given the load some carts carry and the shoddy state of disrepair most find themselves. By sun-up, a walk of the streets by locals or tourists will yield multiple eager merchants already stocked with the day’s freshest finds. Women of the house can enjoy a fresh pick of produce from carts which move slowly past the front door of local homes. Cart sellers announce themselves with a loud, harrowing call. It’s all that is needed to bring customers in need of vegetables, fruit and dairy directly to the cart. By the end of the workday carts are positioned in heavy traffic areas in hopes of drawing the attention of men focused on arriving home for dinner. Some stop to pick up a snack of roasted peanuts for the commute home, while others fulfill the shopping list phoned in from home. Small scales ride along with product in need of weighing before sale. Cash is the only form of currency accepted.
The goal of the cart salesman is to be completely sold out by Noon. If that happens, they have enough time to catch a short nap before restocking their cart for the afternoon/evening sales push. If not, they’ll continue to move their cart under the heat of the day, rain of the monsoon or chill of the winter.
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