Thiruvananthapuram: Night gave away to the light beneath. The road gets crowded with people of different age, job and gender, all scattered, yet together. Yellow lighted lambs set the ambience. They are all in for the same hunt. Confusion fills the air. What followed is the sight of Andhi Chanda in Tirumala.
“Come dear, ‘crab’, now only for Rs 50, otherwise 200, see you just got lucky”, called out Shanthamma, the sound that stands out among others, it satisfied some but to choose the right fish, is an art, which can only be earned by experience.
Don’t get swayed away by talks and tricks, especially when it’s too tempting. They start by narrating a story, “it’s healthy for kids” or “cook it for the husband, madam”.
Sellers hook you with the right words, even can scold, if it seems least interested but impressed, they can grant you with an extra fish or fruit and your business ends when fish smelled balance is returned.
Andhi Chandha, aka night market, is an emerging trend in Thiruvananthapuram. From 6 pm to 10 pm, many markets around the city are alive, selling fish, fruits and veggies, tapioca, coconut and more, at an affordable range.
This is a major threat to morning market culture, where the fish and veggies for the afternoon was brought, today women are usually working, so night stands a major shopping preference.
”The climate is comforting, and mind is calm at this time of the day, the cost is low as vendors are busy finishing the morning stock, it’s a good buy with a huge discount for satisfying quality. Meen Curry is the dish that my husband can’t go without. I buy raw mango, sweet neem, drumstick, bilimbi, and tomato on the go, it’s a joyous time. I even got some market mates,” says Rajeena Beegum, a regular customer.
Packaged and cut, fish, fruits, and veggies are the trend, but purchasing the fresh fish right from the market has not lost its charm. Cleaning it by oneself, and cut it to different pieces is a process homemakers often enjoy but their time to shop, changes.
“I reach Vizhinjam port by 3 am, where the fish is brought through auction, and then to the local market. The customers are declining in the morning cause cost is pretty high as fish is fresh, we call it “pedakkana meen” but by night they can earn a good discount.
The packaged fish is still not a thread in my area, as customers are afraid of safety and quality, plus it’s a mutual meeting ground, where local people come to socialise, they can even earn a living, by selling home cultivated fruits and veggies, which are free of preservatives”, says fisherwoman Mary from Pravachambalam night market.