Off to 8 Market!

by Kaveri Ahuja on June 20, 2013

I’m excited. I’m always excited around this time of the month. It’s almost time for 8 Market you see. 

8 Market? What’s that you ask? Well, on the 8th of every month, from  8AM to 8PM , sleepy little Aruvankadu on NH 67 in between  Ooty and Conoor in Tamil Nadu comes alive with its monthly street market. It’s held right opposite the gates of the Cordite Factory which was established in 1903 by the then British Government on a huge campus and it still caters to the Defence Services. 8th is the date the workers of the factory get paid. Pockets full of cash, feeling flush, they head to 8 Market to go on a spending spree.

So why am I this excited about a village market?  That’s mostly because nothing much happens in our tiny town and 8 Market is an event to look forward to. More importantly, it’s like a treasure hunt. You can find amazing things to buy for throw away prices. 

8 Market , also known as Aat Haat has been around for ages. Shanti Amma my maid recalls going there as a child to buy clothes, shoes, and household essentials. It overflows with fruits, flowers, vegetables, eatables, farming implements, clothes, footwear, kitchy plastic knicknacks and all the usual stuff that village haats offer. ‘

When  I lived here 12 years ago as a newly wed, I had absolutely no idea about the existence of this market. It’s only in the recent years that the market had gained fame amongst the Army Wives who live in Wellington, the cantonment town next to Aruvankadu. Apparently I’m not the only army lady to feel so eager about a Village Haat. Try reaching Aruvankadu after 7:30 AM and you will not find a single parking spot free. It’s already brimming over with shoppers.

So what are the things that make 8 market such a Treasure Hunt? It’s the wonderful export surpluses from the ancient town Karur on the banks of the rivers Amravathi and Kaveri which is now a major home textile export hub in Tamil Nadu with a turnover of over $300 million in foreign exchange per year. It caters to brands like WalMart, Target, IKEA, JC Penny and many more. You can buy curtains with big eyelets for Rs. 100 – Rs. 150, sheer curtains for just Rs. 50.  There are piles of fabulous linen, some are embroidered and crocheted. All are gorgeously designed. Tablecloths, bed linen, cushion covers, curtains, towels, mats, runners, pillows and sundry pretty items galore. 

Sellers from Erode, The Loom City of India or Texvalley of India and from Karur bring their wares. Products such as cotton sarees, bed spreads, carpets, lungies, printed fabrics, towels and dhotis are on display.

In another section of the market there is stuff from Tirupur, a town known for its hosiery and knitwear exports. They bring garments from the export surplus market, with branded items priced between Rs. 50 – Rs. 70. It is cheaper than even Sarojini Market in Delhi. Oh! what fun to dig though those piles for the most amazing finds from some of the world’s largest retailers like Walmart, Primark, Switcher, Polo Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, M&S, FILA,  H&M,  Reebok, Next, Gap etc. The adorable baby clothes there make me wish I had another lil one just to play dress-up with.
Did all that shopping makes you hungry? I must tell you about a little stall right in the middle of the market. It dishes out the most amazing Kerala parotas with korma, hot idlis and vadas with fresh chutney and tiny cups of coffee. It’s essential to take a break, replenish your energy reserves and continue shopping. In invigorating weather of the Nilgiris, you can shop and shop but not drop.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Ooty-Coimbatore anytime around the 8th, do drop in to the 8 Market. You won’t need deep pockets but you may need a truck to tow away all your shopping. 


Passing On The Bookworm Gene.

by Kaveri Ahuja on January 30, 2013

       Books were my refuge from a not so pleasant childhood. Into the fictional world was where I would escaped to when beleaguered by reality. I spent many a languorous afternoon curled up in a nook where I hoped nobody would find me, book in hand, my mind on a flight of imagination. 
        My love for books started very young. I was three years old when I used to read my favourite book Clever Steven over and again. ‘Skever Seeveen’ I used to call it I’m told. Thank you Steven for being my first best friend. 
        Now I’m busy inculcating the book reading habit in my two daughters just as my mom did for me. Dia and Chimmi are just a year and a half apart but are as different as chalk and cheese. Chimmi, my restless, fidgety one who finds it difficult to sit still for long took to books like a duck to water. Dia is much calmer child, a daydreamer who I thought would love books does not like to read as much as her younger sister does. Chimmi devours books. Dia on the other hand finds it a chore to plough through one. I don’t know what I did right with Chimmi and where I went wrong with Dia. Perhaps it was never in my hands.
       Right now Dia is eleven years old and Chimmi is nine. In terms of grasping concepts, vocabulary, writing and language skills, my younger child is ahead of my older one. All thanks to her love for reading I think.  I’ve seen first hand how reading helps a child develop these skills as opposed to not reading. I still hope I can inspire Dia to catch up with reading at some point. In any case she does read more than many children in her peer group, just not with the same passion I had and have passed on to Chimmi.
        Left upto them my kids would stick to reading only Goosebumps, Horrid 
Henry, Wimpy Kids and the like but I insist they read classics as well. So they have enjoyed Little Women, Heidi, Emma, Sense And Sensibility, Pollyanna, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Panchatantra, Aseop’s Fables, Roald Dahl, Pippi Longstockings and a number of other books.  I’ll make a recommended reading list based on my children’s reading choices in a later blog post.
         Just yesterday Chimmi finished reading Mitch Albom’s Timekeeper. It is not a children’s book. She admits there were parts she could not grasp. That didn’t stop her from enjoying it. Perhaps the novelty of reading it on our new Kindle kept her going. Now she can’t wait to read more.
          I hope I have opened a magic portal for my children to escape to if they need to just like I found one long, long ago.


A Small Lesson

December 10, 2012

      Some years ago Dee and I were headed to Sadar Bazaar in Jabalpur. Cruising along Ridge Road, we saw a motorcycle at a distance cut into the traffic from side lane at full speed. What happened next seems to be etched in slow motion in my mind. The motorcycle skidding, the car […]

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Because Rectal Carcinoma is a Funny Thing!

March 24, 2012

  I’m on a total trip down the memeory lane right now with Sujata from St. Joseph’s Convent, Jabalpur.  We talk about school and fun times through the day and relive the old times. We sing songs Ms. Jenny Wise taught us. Sujata recalled a poem she had learnt in school about cancer of the […]

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With a pinch of salt.

February 3, 2012

            The Dias family has a new baby. Adorable lil Angelina Lovena Dias born to Ashley and Melba Dias was exactly four months old on Christmas when I first met her. What a cuddlesome lil moppet!              Melba is a very soft-spoken and sweet young mommy. Angelina […]

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It’s Lohri !

January 13, 2012

It’s been a very cold winter this year. Finally it’s Lohri. There is festivity in the air. I found myself chanting a childhood ditty -  Sundri Mundri Hei! Hoi! Tera Kaun Bechara! Hoi! Dullah Bhatti wala! Hoi! Dullah Di Dhi viyahi !Hoi! Sher ShaKar pai! Hoi! Kuri de Mamme aaye! Hoi! UnaNe ChuRi Kuti! Hoi! […]

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