Metroplus

Flea market season is here

One for the road: Footwear to go with the dress you buy

One for the road: Footwear to go with the dress you buy  

Bengaluru’s flea markets offer exclusive and niche products, often handmade, encouraging a great culture of small creative enterprises. They’re also a good reason to shop and indulge over the weekend, writes BHUMIKA K.

The very word kitsch conjures images of a riot of colour, a mish mash of things, bling, folksy and all things Hippie. It’s moved far from its original meaning of being low brow and veered more towards pop culture. The traditional barter market or santhe has morphed into a space where gourmet food rubs shoulders with modern art and indie music.

Kitsch Mandi

At the year’s summer season kicks off, the first edition of the year’s Kitsch Mandi was set up at the Pebbles lounge in Palace Grounds this Sunday evening. Young hip people sat under the sprawling Banyan tree, playing carrom, enjoying their beer, while Geetha Navale performed on the veena in another corner. Accessories and clothing held centrestage at the Mandi and one couldn’t get enough of all the beautiful colours and designs, and try to find accessories to match the new buys.

(Indulge In gupshup with friends and shopping at Kitsch Mandi Photo: G. P. Sampath Kumar)

One would think that all that online shopping would have dimmed the urge to wade through traffic and land up at the market. But no. It was a squeeze. Two young entrepreneurs — Chanchal Badsiwal with her ‘Chanchal’ brand and Anupriya Dutta Gupta of ‘Howrah Bridge’ — of largely clothes and accessories, were there to make their mark in the “real” world, despite selling online. “People who come here to such markets are looking for exclusivity. Once they come and see what I have to offer, they can always order online form me the second time. You’ll find none of my stuff on any other site,” says Anupriya with confidence. Chanchal, who gave up her corporate career to set up her craft-based enterprise says that such markets attract the discerning buyer, who won’t buy online, even if it’s cheap. “And it’s for those who know their weaves and craft and understand what goes into what they buy.”

Then there are people like architect Yatish, who are here for fun. A traveller, he was selling transparent black and white prints of photos from his India travels, with the board “Take what you love, pay whatever you like!” “The physical experience of having someone look at my pictures and react gives me a great high. I do this for fun. Some people may pay less, but other generous people compensate for it. I don’t like to put a price to my work,” he declares. The lemon tea stall run by transgenders was another huge draw.

Laila Vaziralli, co-founder and creative head of Kitsch Mandi, says she started it as an experiment, “as a reaction to the formality of the art world. I wanted to create a space where artists and designers could share their work in a casual and inspiring environment. I also wanted it to be a space for people with unique ideas to come together.” Kitsch Mandi started in 2011, and is now over 40 editions old, covering Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai.

In the past they have had performance acts like Kutle Khan and troupe from Rajasthan, Kabir Cafe from Mumbai, Frase from Canada. mallakhamb rope dancers, stand up comedians, sand animators. “Our music supports new indie and fusion bands from the country and abroad. Our product stalls are all curated, and that’s why we only feature a select 50 stalls at each event. We look for innovative design, sustainability, and uniqueness.”

Link: facebook.com/kitsch.mandi

(Life is Beau-tea-ful At Kitsch Mandi's chai stall run by transgenders Photo: G. P. Sampath Kumar)

Chai pe charcha

Purushotttam and Bhuvan were busy at Sunday’s Kitsch Mandi making and pouring out steaming cups of lemon and mint tea — the Sulemani Chai, to the enthusiastic milling crowd. The transgenders were there with their mentor, artist/filmmaker Poornima Sukumar. Poornima, who made a film on the community as part of her Aravani Art Project, wanted to continue her association with them, and integrate them into the mainstream of society. “There are people who want to connect with them,” she observes.

Bhuvan was really busy with making the tea; they had already served up 200 cups by early evening. “We also feel happy doing this. It means we don’t have to only beg or do sex work for as living,” said Purushottam, pouring out the tea. It wasn’t the first time he’d made tea. “I cook regularly at home.”

“When we get a chance to run a tea stall like this, other people will also know that there are many possibilities and opportunities. No one today has looked at us in a discriminating manner, unlike outside.” Purushottam otherwise works at Samara, an organisation that helps transgenders deal with community issues like getting voter ID cards, ration cards etc. With the kind of response they got, they hope they will be able to set up a small tea joint sometime in the not too far off future.

(From the heart: Techs and Fleas is a flea market made for the bored techie)

Techs and Fleas

If Bengaluru is the land of techies, then a flea market made just for them is not such a big surprise. Deepthi Ismail, founder of ‘Thank God Its Sunday’ came up with the idea of “Techs and Fleas” — a flea marker for the IT company employees in the city.

“I’m from an IT background, and wanted to make a change in the IT environment — our flea is seen as a welcome break for professionals from their monotonous life!” she says. This flea features a mix of products that range from handmade goodies to commercial everyday supplies. “We always make every market theme based, according the season (they’ve just concluded their Valentine Day theme), so a person walking in will always feel there is something new each time.” Street magicians, hip hop dancers, belly dancers, beat boxing, fire jugglers, dramas or skits that give out a social message, live workshops, are other regular features.

They have hosted fleas at Manyata Embassy Business Park, Embassy Golf Links, RMZ Infinity and RMZ Ecospace.

Next event: March 3 & 4

Where: Manyata Embassy Business Park

Link: facebook.com/thankgoditssunday

Sunday Soul Sante

It's a mela kind of atmosphere charged with colour, food, lights, trinkets, pots, paintings, candles, knickknacks and more at SSS. Five years ago, one of the oldest flea markets of Bengaluru took shape in the hands of entrepreneur and craft enthusiast Asha Rao, who's been in the business for over 25 years, with two craft stores behind her.

The Sundal Soul Sante has hosted over 20 editions till date, including two charity events, points out co-founder Sanam Malhotra, a teacher who was on a sabbatical when Asha asked her to join in. A large chunk of people who sell their handcrafted goods at the flea are surprisingly those who have worked in the IT industry, but quit their jobs to follow their passion, says Sanam. Many others are homemakers. "I only see people's creativity growing with each passing year. We've had to say no to so many because we don't have space," muses Sanam.

SSS as its popularly known, is also one of the largest curated fleas, with somewhere between 250 and 280 stalls. "In the last three years, we have made it strictly art and craft oriented. We don't allow people who merely import or source products to participate. The participant must either be making the products they bring, or at least designing them."

Two stalls are set aside for crafts persons who can't afford to pay for stalls and come from the city's outskirts and nearby places like Mysuru.

With summer blazing bright and spring in the air, the coming SSS in March is themed all things neon! Around 50 food stalls, performances by local bands Best Kept Secret and USP, and international band Massive Vibe, belly/fire dancers, the African drum circle where people can join in with some enthusiastic drumming, and a themed fashion show by Prasad Bidapa are on the cards. As always an art corner for children will be organised.

The pet-friendly sante allows free entry for senior citizens and children below 10.

Next event: March 13

Where: ITPB Cricket Ground, Whitefield

Link: www.sundaysoulsante.com

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 8:01:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/flea-market-season-is-here-in-bengaluru/article8300467.ece

Next Story