- Market day brings in all the country people with their produce.
- The town people go out to shop, and to buy eggs and vegetables.
- By selling his own fruit and vegetables, the peasant avoids a middle-man’s profit.
- The apparently simple country people are well able to look after their own interests.
In my home town of Nawab Shah, there are shops where one can buy food-stuffs on most days of the week, but there is one special market day on which the country people for miles around bring in their fruit, vegetables, fowls and eggs to sell in the market. If you go out for a country walk on market day, you will find them coming in from all the tiny villages in the country. See, here is a man with a pole over his shoulder, staggering under the weight of great bunches of bananas. Here another with a basket full of fowls, the birds clucking in fear as they are carried briskly along. Their roads converge on the market place, a square, well-surrounded compound off the main street. Here they arrange themselves in sections, according to the commodities which they have to sell, and await their customers.
A spalsh of dark colour shows where a man had laid down á mass of the jambool fruit on a sheet. Next to him, another peasant stands by a great heap of tomatoes. There must be several maunds of them. They are not looking for individual customers with modest requirements, but prefer to sell direct to some of the local shopkeepers and retailers. But here is one old woman, going round and offering a single chicken to bystanders. She has probably come miles, and this single bird is all she has to sell. But she is capable of shrewd bargaining, and when, in the long run, a sale is effected, there is a smile of contentment on her wrinkled face which shows she is perfectly satisfied.
Since it is the month of May, there are none of the fine oranges to be seen for which Nawab Shah is famous. But the bananas Ivhich are sold there are superior to all others for their delicate and attractive flavour, somewhat like vanilla. One man has brought a very highly-smelling load of small dried fish to sell. It is as well to keep to the windward of him, till this wares have been disposed of, unless you are a lover of strong smells.
As the afternoon wears on, the maunds of fruit and vegetables, the collections of chickens and ducks, gradually disappear. By four o’clock, hardly anything is left, and little knots of satisfied country people are plodding quietly back to their homes, well content with the labours of the day. For one more week, the shandy in finished.