The tale of seasonal vendors

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 11 Jun 2017, 19:20:46

The tale of seasonal vendors

What is noticeable is that the seasonal vendors are enterprising enough. Their lacking in their fund for investment in their trade is their bane. No one has ever thought of  financing them. With some small doses of fund, at least a good many of  them could change their lot for the better, writes Neil Ray
They are not seasoned but seasonal vendors. Only a month or so is the time of their trading venture before each of the great festivals of Eid -Eid-ul Fitr and Eid-ul Azha. This is the time when footpath hawkers enjoy some relaxation in carrying out their business. This is not for nothing, though. The toll collecting syndicate also needs some extra income to meet the higher festival-time expenses. Even the law enforcers turn a blind eye to the unauthorised encroachment by vendors whose wares literally spill over to the road leaving hardly any space for pedestrians and vehicles to move freely. The men in uniform also get a share of the largesse.  

When strategically important footpaths and road corners are occupied by seasoned vendors, the seasonal vendors suddenly emerge from nowhere on roadsides, street corners, alley mouths and even in residential areas or at a place near the approach road to a kitchen market. An array of wares and commodities are available with them. One of the rare and mouth-watering stuff is kasundi (mustard seed paste dissolved in spicy water). Its recipe is known but the process of preparation is a guarded secret. The far superior taste of the concoction compared to the stuff produced industrially and marketed for urban consumers is its selling point. 

It would be beyond the range of this opinion piece to deal in details with the whole range of items such seasonal vendors bring to the city consumers. For convenience, therefore, a few can be selected for the purpose. Some decoration pieces made of shola (pith plant; scientific name: aescheynomene aspera). A few of them vend bamboo flutes of two types. The one that has to be pressed at its tip between lips for blowing is usually meant for children. If particularly skilful, one can play fine tunes of celebrated music on them. But it is the one that has a sideway round opening near one end in addition to a cluster of those on the hollow body is the special type meant for music lovers. Those willing to play tunes of songs can use this type of flutes. Uninitiated ones cannot make good use of this instrument.

However, not all vendors deal in rare items enjoying demand from a select clientele. There are others who bring the finest cotton (shimul tula) fresh from shimul tree (bombax ceiba). Used for pillow-making, the commodity is displayed at street corner. Not all do appreciate the higher and purer quality of this raw item but those who have appreciation for the genuine variety take no time to collect some. 

These are some of the unorthodox ventures by vendors. Then there are a few who start preparing iftar items, counting the prospect of saleability. Still others go for displaying some cheap attire for children. Some even have saris of the most ordinary type on display looking for the poorest customers. Usually the slum dwellers are the street vendors and the customers in this case are also from the same class. 

There are others who belong to the seasonal and marginal vendors. Their items may be cheaper, but the overall turnout of the total sale proceedings during the festival time is not certainly negligible. What is noticeable is that these people are enterprising enough. Their lacking in their fund for investment in their trade is their bane. No one has ever thought of financing them. With some small doses of fund, at least a good many of them could change their lot for the better. But who will make arrangement for providing them with such a support?

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
Published by the Editor for International Publications Limited from Tropicana Tower (4th floor), 45, Topkhana Road, GPO Box : 2526 Dhaka- 1000 and printed by him from City Publishing House Ltd., 1 RK Mission Road, Dhaka-1000.
Telephone : PABX : 9553550 (Hunting), 9513814, 7172017 and 7172012 Fax : 880-2-9567049
Email :,
Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved
Powered by : orangebdlogo