8.00am A day vendor arrives with her basket of snake gourds. Every Friday thousands of villagers bring their produce to market. Most are not farmers but bring small quantities of produce grown in their gardens. The research traced their routes into the market. Whilst many are local, others arrive from further afield in the state and even from neighbouring Karnataka or Maharashtra. Goa is a wealthy state with many families receiving money from relatives working in the Gulf and Mapusa Market is a prosperous one and prices are relatively high.
7pm. The Ganesh Chaturthi – the Chovorth is a hugely popular celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed god. In Maharashtra, Chaturthi was reinvigorated at the end of the 19th century by Tilak who recognised Ganesha’s appeal as the ‘God for Everybody’ and popularised the festival to galvanise nationalistic fervour against British colonial rule. In Catholic Goa where Hindus were persecuted under the Inquisition, Ganesh Chaturthi is as popular as elsewhere in South India and often coincides with Christian festivals.
Noon. Goan chouriço. Goan culture remains strongly influenced by its heritage of nearly 450 years of Portuguese Catholic rule, Goa is unusual in India in that pork is still widely – and openly – consumed. Goan chouriço is distinctive for combining pork with vinegar, chilli and spices to produce a hot and spicy sausage. Goa is also noted for its bread rolls, pão, which are baked daily and delivered to a bakery section of the market close to the chouriço vendors.
This market plan, dating from the early 1960s hangs in Mapusa Municipal Corporation’s office building close to the market. It presents a schematised and highly organised impression of the market. Whilst many of the units shown in the plan have since been subdivided and new fish, meat and vegetable markets have come up recently, the market’s essential layout, shown here, remains unchanged. But the infrastructure has been neglected, and much of the market is frequently under several inches of water during the monsoon.
15. MIDNIGHT: At night the market is deserted other than for cows and dogs. Tourists shift to the popular ‘night markets’ along the coastal strips. The main alley of Mapusa Market at midnight reveals that Goa’s ‘no plastic bag’ push still has a way to go. Work clearing the rubbish will begin again each day, 365 days a year as the cleaners and early traders arrive for a new day of trading.
8.30am Each morning regular stall holders buy their produce in the fruit and vegetable wholesale market adjacent to the main market. ‘Unorganised retailing’ still comprises the major part of India’s retail economy. Until 2010 supermarkets were absent from small towns and almost everything was sold through small shops or market stalls. But retail reforms introduced in 2011 which allowed ‘FDI’: Foreign Direct Investment, have opened the way for the arrival of international supermarkets, heralding fundamental changes to the retail environment.
10 a.m. Plastic Flower sellers. Cheap plastic goods are often produced in India, usually in Mumbai but are also imported from China. Whilst there is still a good market for locally made goods - home made bamboo ‘kazoos’ , knives made from recycled hacksaw blades and recycled plastic water jugs and drinking vessels, increasingly many goods on sale could be found in any market in the world.
2pm. Sewing Machine Repairs. Stallholder Elmech, in common with a surprisingly large number of Mapusa stallholders continues to work in the same shop that he moved into with his father when the ‘new’ market opened in 1961. His business mending sewing is an example of one of the many repair businesses still operating though his skills in mechanical mending are now less in demand than those needed to mend mobile phones.
By 9am the market is bustling. Mapusa Market is particularly famous for its bananas, with four varieties available year–round. Many of the local restaurants, catering for Goa’s huge tourist industry source their vegetables, fish and meat in the market. Vegetables are essential commodities and prices fluctuate widely for a variety of reasons. The price of onions reached an unheard of 80 rupees per kilo in 2015 causing serious political alarm.
4pm. Arjun Pankar begs for a living. Of India’s estimated 4 million beggars, those who are incapacitated through polio are not generally stigmatised. Although others are not so fortunate, there is a generous culture of giving alms in India which is promoted in Hindu culture. Arjun Pankar, who has lived in Mapusa all his life suffered from polio in his childhood when it was endemic across India. More recently, an aggressive eradication campaign resulted in the last reported case being in 2011.