He stood at the street corner, the rays from the light pole bathed the vegetables on his handcart in a sickly, yellow color. But there was no other place the vegetable vendor could stand. This was his designated spot. He had paid the local authority a pretty sum to hawk his vegetables every evening. The people from the community were well acquainted with the man and his green produce, and after five pm, his vegetable cart was the place to be.
It usually began with the women and children. The young ones, off to romp in the park, zipped past him, while their mothers and grandmothers stopped to indulge in a lucrative buy. It began with picking, touching, and squeezing, vegetables were groped with an indecency that could not even be justified with the money they demanded.
When plastic bags were filled, then began the haggling and blabbering. Five rupees less, two potatoes more, the cauliflower should be fresher, throw in some free coriander. The man usually did as he was told, arguing with women was his biggest woe. He had one waiting him for him at home. He needed to save his energy.
Then came the men, returning from their jobs and work, shoulders drooping, foreheads crinkled, clueless as to what to buy and how much should do. Many on their mobile phones, intercepting instructions from cackling female voices. The vegetable vendor had his hands full, grabbing and stuffing vegetables in bags, placing them on empty backseats, thumbing through notes while taking orders from more puzzled faces.
Customers had thinned out. A few more sales, and the man would turn his cart towards home, a rundown shack of complaints. He sighed and looked at the yellow light. The vegetables were more loved and wanted than he would ever be.
Helen loves all things sharp. Her mother thinks she’s crazy. Helen Of Forks showcases a girl’s strange, unexplainable obsession.