The Fruit-wallas of India

Everything that would make your doctor happy and your mother proud

Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that everything exciting happens on or next to roads in India. India’s biggest tourist attraction, other than the Taj Mahal, can be found on the roads. I am talking about cows roaming in the middle of the roads in case you are wondering.

Forget your “daily fives”… think “daily tens”
Then there are the road-side dhabas (eateries). They are known for some of the tastiest food you will find in India. Granted, from a hygienic point of view, every time you eat at one, you are likely to spend the entire day worrying if at all you will get sick, even though there is a very good chance you will not.
The life and times of a fruitwalla
Let’s not forget the roadside thekas (liquor shops) that can be found in a number of states that are helpful when in need of refilling for those alcohol infused late nights and infamous for those after-hour shoddy characters.
Coconuts for some Coconut Water
This brings me to the fruit-wallas. These temporary stalls, which have everything from permanent electricity to telephone connections, but not proper ceilings, can be found all across India and are the primary source of daily fruit and vegetable supplies.
Weighing Scale – Old Style!
Although, with time more established shops in proper malls and community centers have started keeping these daily necessities, in all honesty the variety of fruits/veggies and the quality is usually better at these roadside establishments. Situated around heavily populated residential areas, a number of times people prefer these establishments because they are friendlier. You can joke with the fruit seller, bargain on the price, and eventually once they know where you live (they do deliveries too), they will keep a tab for you as well.
Great variety and amazing colours
There is the question of hygiene. Not only are these stands next to roads where pollution due to traffic is ample, but the surroundings aren’t always the cleanest. You are likely to find flies around the food (since everything is in the open) and that is the last thing anyone would want to see when buying eatables. Having said that, I also know that I feel better knowing and seeing the food stored in front of my eyes. With the up-market shops, we can only presume that they keep the food in cleaner spaces. Let’s face it, in the end no matter where we buy the food, it does come down to cleaning it properly once we get it home, and that needs to be done extra carefully.
So, next time you want to buy some of your “daily fives” try one of these road side stands, where the fruits and vegetables are fresh, with good varied choice, and it’s also a great place to test your bargaining skills before you head out for some souvenir shopping. 

Categories: Fruits, India, Stands, Travel, Vegetables

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