As the city cheered the home team – Royal Challengers Bangalore – in the seventh edition of the Indian Premiere League (IPL), a group of hawkers who had come all the way from Chennai made hay selling paraphernalia to cricket fans.
Kamala, a woman in her seventies from Chennai, was selling pipes made out of paper at Rs. 10 each.
She said that she came to the city on Sunday morning along with her family of eight, including her sons, daughter-in-law and grandsons.
Her 19-year-old grandson Dhanraj was busy painting faces of RCB fans. Armed with a set of brushes and a few bottles of paint, he was the most sought after outside the stadium.
He charged Rs. 50 to paint a few strokes on the face.
Busy with business, he had no time to talk.
He was happy that the business was brisk and hoped that at the end of the day, he had some money that could sustain his family for some days to come.
His father Mahadevan was selling artificial wigs and red horns. He said he had brought red wigs as it was a Royal challengers match, but found the wig most in demand was one like Sri Lankan player Lasith Malinga’s. His wife Lakshmi was selling RCB T-shirts, priced at Rs. 200 each. Samuel, a cricket enthusiast who had his face painted with RCB emblem, told The Hindu that a cricket match was like a festival fair and the paraphernalia was an integral part of the celebrations.
The hawkers outside the stadium including the family from Chennai had only one complaint: harassment from the police. The police were chasing them out of the street, caning them.
A sub-inspector was seen chasing Lakshmi, caning her even though she was doing her business on the footpath.
When the public objected to his behaviour, he defended himself stereotyping the poor hawkers as those who end up being a threat to the security. He was reprimanded by a senior official on the spot.