Every Sunday morning fresh fruits and vegetables arrive from the villages and are then sold on the roadside in the area where we live. I'm just assuming here that they arrive from the villages because I’ve never seen them actually arriving, all I know is that when I go down in the mornings they’re already spread out by the vendors on the roadside, kind of like the Mizoram Saturday morning markets. You get fresh and dried fishes too. Each vendor has a regular spot, and the faces have become familiar, I’ve been going there for almost a year now. The guy who sells me potatoes always asks where I was if I missed a Sunday or two. The lime-soda guy always puts less salt for me. The dried fish vendor always asks me to buy some although I never did, not that I don’t like dried fish, I do, immensely, I just don’t buy them. The young man who sells fruits is always ready with a smile. You see, I know them quite well.
Last Sunday I went down a bit earlier than usual, I think it was around 9. What I usually do is, I’d go until the end and start my shopping from there until I eventually reach our doorstep. So off I went, and hadn’t bought much when I saw these roses, beautiful roses in different shades of red, pink, orange, and some yellows and some whites, being sold by the man who usually deals in fruits. There was quite a crowd of housewives around him, and his assistant was shouting at the top of his voice “Five roses for ten rupees.” Ten rupees is quite a popular scale in this market. I thought, “Two rupees per rose, now that is cheap!”and fought my way through the fat women and soon found myself at the front row. Five minutes later I had with me a bunch of yellow and white roses, and I continued with my shopping.
When I reached home I discovered we didn’t have any flower vases so I cut an empty mineral water bottle in half and arranged the roses as best as I could. Next came the problem of where to keep my arrangement. All the tables were covered with bags and newspapers and books and chargers and earphones and drawing sheets and magazines and crayons and coloured pencils and T-squares and all sorts of scales. So I put the “vase” on top of the medicine box on top of the fridge. It gave the house a happy summery feel to it, and I gave myself a pat on the back for having bought the roses.
A few hours later, I found that most of the heads were bent down, as if they’ve had their last meal and were now waiting for the executioner’s axe to fall. It was then that I realized that the roses were way too close to the ceiling fan, making them bow their heads in submission. I straightened them, and looked for another place to keep the vase. The only horizontal surface that was free from clutter was the computer table, so I put my arrangement there.
Sunday went by in a flash, and on Monday morning I thought I’d change the water to keep my roses fresh. But to my horror I found they were almost dried up, and the water had gone down almost to the bottom of the bottle. I took them all out, tied them up with an old shoelace and hung them upside down on the kitchen wall. After a few days when they are completely dried I will take them down and paint them and I will have beautiful dried flowers, but will not have a place to keep them.