DVL Padma Priya
Middle class people throng these shops as goods are affordable here
HYDERABAD: It’s 11.30 a.m. and the market behind the old Gandhi Hospital is coming to life. Hawkers slowly bring out their goods on to the pavement. While some put up ‘fixed price’ signboards, others plead with the customers. “Madam you are my first customer, please buy it,” says a hawker.
Welcome to Monda Market, the shopping hub for the middle and lower middle class. Markets such as these might have lost out on the upper middle class segment customers to the mall culture. Yet, they are a popular stop for those who have less dough in hand and more to buy.
Take the example of Vijaya Goud, a domestic servant who does her festive as well as plastic shopping here. “In the big shops, the prices are fixed. Here, that’s not the case and the variety is also more,” she says. She buys steel utensils by the kilograms. “One steel plate is anything between Rs.20 and 25, whereas I get around five to six plates or three plates and glasses and other vessels per kilogram, costing about Rs.100,” she adds.
Famous for their cheap plastic goods, China Bazaars and Burma Bazaars too are a big hit among people. While bigger plastic items such as buckets, tubs, baskets etc are up for sale for Rs.60, smaller ones like tiffin boxes, water bottles, pencil boxes etc are available for Rs.30 onwards. “I buy tiffin boxes and pencil boxes and keep them. I give them away when am invited for birthday parties etc,” says V. Jaya, a housewife. And for Kiranmayi, who works in a mall, China Bazaars are the best option to buy toys. “Toys in shops and malls are very costly. I work in a mall, yet I find them too expensive. In stead I buy my son three to four toys from China Bazaar,” she says.
The price hike has however affected these hawkers and shopkeepers adversely. “The rate of plastic items has shot up in the past two months by a margin of Rs.5 and10. Earlier for a bucket costing Rs.40, I used to quote it at Rs.60 and make a profit of at least Rs.10. But now, the market price itself is Rs. 50 and people refuse to buy at a higher price,” says K. Raja, who sells plastic goods.
Those selling steel utensils say the demand has come down quite a lot as people prefer plastic over steel. “Earlier, steel vessels were at least bought as gifts for marriages etc, now even that’s come down as people have cheaper options,” laments P. Mrigesh, who sells steel items. However, he adds that people still prefer such shops for bulk purchases.