A pre-dawn journey to Bangalore’s flower market

Inside City Market, workers like this man create elaborate flower garlands and arrangements to be sold fresh every day. (Photo: Marvin Fuentes)

Inside City Market, workers like this man create elaborate flower garlands and arrangements to be sold fresh every day. (Photo: Marvin Fuentes)

Tuesday, June 2–Despite not being a morning person, I mustered enough energy on Tuesday morning when I woke at 4 a.m. to head into the City Market of Bangalore to see the unique crack-of-dawn convergence of masses of people buying and selling  flowers out in the streets.Arriving felt almost claustrophobic. Dozens of women sat on the outskirts of the market, surrounded by heaps of flowers that reached to their shoulders while other peddlers, with garlands hanging from their arms, walked past, bumping into me and my hefty backpack and camera.

By midday, these people will be kicked out, only to return again the next morning. 

One past this initial crowd, we headed toward the underground market where I was immediately hit with the unmistakable smell of trash. As we stepped into the darkness, the ground felt slippery below my feet. All around us were men and women hand-crafting garlands of blossoms in every color. 

Journalism students and their professors photo-swarm the city’s flower market. (Photo: Kevin Matyi)

Journalism students and their professors photo-swarm the city’s flower market. (Photo: Kevin Matyi)

 Back above ground, I made some headway with my story on Bangalore’s efforts to reduce garbage when I met a man named Senthil, a security guard turned trashman. Senthil runs the municipally sponsored composting facility that turns organic waste into electricity. The gas created by the decomposing vegetative matter is stored in an enormous white balloon behind the facility. For Senthil, an immigrant from northern India, this is just another job, though it happens to be a better-paying gig than his last. And so he sleeps on the floor beside the generator that produces part of the market’s electricity. — Marvin Fuentes

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