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Markets Here and There: A Comparison between Vegetable Markets of Delhi and Guwahati.



It has only been six months since I started cooking on my own, but within this span I have developed a very good taste of visiting the vegetable markets. As a child, I generally accompanied my father to the Beltola weekly market every Sunday, and as such I had this close association with Vegetables for a long time. In addition to that, occasional visits of the Sabzi bazaars of Ganeshguri and Fancy Bazar also helped me acquire and develop the knowledge of Vegetable shopping.  As my father says, there is skill in buying vegetables, this are commodities that do not come with any guarantee or with any exchange policy, but has utmost importance in our life, which cannot be compromised, and as such we should be careful enough that whatever we buy, it should be the best.
After coming to Delhi, and spending my initial few months in a hostel, when I actually started to live on my own and started cooking, I rediscovered my old interest of visiting Vegetable markets. So from Uttam Nagar to Keshopur, Azadpur to INA, I began my quest for the favorite vegetables of mine.
Before describing the markets of Delhi, as an Assamese I would like to comment upon a general staple dish of North Indian. If you happen to look at it, it would appear quite dry to us. The reason being, lack of much Green Vegetables and excessive use of spices. Though the color of the dishes are quite eye catching and bright, but taste wise I did not find it as appealing as the home dishes.
Coming back to the markets, the basic difference between a Guwahati Sabzi Bazar and a Delhi one is the quantity of stock. Compared to the weekly markets there, here you will find relatively large quantity of stock. Be it potato or tomato, onion or ginger, the markets of Delhi are flooded with their stock, reason being proximity to Punjab and Haryana. Once you enter a market in Delhi you get infinite verities of the available stock. You can look upon thousands of vendors to search for whatever you want. But as you go inside deep into the market, you find the repetition of the same variety again and again, i.e. there is no variation in the available vegetables among the vendors and you get the same thing from each vendor. Very rarely you will find someone selling something different. This is a kind of uniformity in the stock that is being shared by everyone. So here though the markets are large, but it is practically advisable that what you get in the initial 25% will be repeated in the next 75%.   
Compared to this, markets in Guwahati are relatively small and the quantity of available stock is quite less. Yet there would be something with the every other vendor you visit. The most remarkable difference in the markets of Delhi and Guwahati is that availability of the green vegetables, Saak in Assamese. The markets if Delhi are only confined with three or four varieties of them, namely Paalak, Meethi, Dhania and Sarso. But in a Guwahati market you get hundreds of them. From Mamimuni to Vedelota, Dhekia to Jilmil, there are countless green herbs which are being consumed in an Assamese household. The markets of Delhi fail miserably in providing such varieties. No wonder, some of the prices of vegetables are quite cheaper than Guwahati, and the available stock is quite large, but still, I am unable to find my favorite Oou Tenga and Kazi Tenga in Delhi, and because of which I actually would like to conclude with a opinion that, I am quite disappointed with the vegetable markets here in Delhi. Added to this, markets here lack that charm that you find in a typical Assamese market. That hastiness of that Beltola, is not found anywhere here. On which I can conclude, I miss my home.    
Amlan Das Amlan Das Author

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