Idle Viewer or Active Stakeholder?

Rice Mandi on Mada Street

A rice retailer views the Kolam competition and a balloon seller outside his shop. His ‘Mani Mandi’ seems to be modern and money savvy. He accepts all credit cards and also uses other payment gateways.

At first, I thought he was an idle observer waiting for the event to end, but a small board in Tamizh announcing ‘Kolam Powder sold here’ made him an active supply chain member in the Kolam event and beyond.


Soan Papdi Seller

Soan Papdi seller from Maharashtra

Happy New Year to all my followers and readers. May 2023 bring you a lot of joy and peace of mind.

This is my 1137th post on this blog. Looking forward to your continued support.

Meet Mr Salim Khan, from the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. He sells Soan Papdi near the Marina Lighthouse. So, you thought the inward migration is only from states like Odissa, Bihar and Bengal, not to mention Bangla Desh? People migrate wherever they find that their efforts and skills are required.

Tomatoes Galore

A tomato vendor in the Villivakkam vegetable market near the station. The market built during the British regime has been functioning continuously.

From The Chennai Photowalk #231

The Seafood Supply Chain

Last mile service

When we think of the seafood supply chain we only think of the fishermen and local fish vendors. there is a whole lot of other important links in the chain like the wholesalers and the transporters, the storage units etc.

Recently I discovered another important link. These are persons who sit outside the fish stalls with a kitchen cleaver (aruva manai) or chopping board. The customers bring their fish for cutting cleaning and descaling, for a few rupeees thus relieving the consumers of a nasty chore at home. Very useful last mile service for fish consumers and some livelihood for a few.

Ashraf Vegetarian Brinji

Aslam at Ashraf Brinji stall

This is Aslam who was minding the Ashraf Vegetarian Brinji stall in Villivakkam.

I do not know the difference between Biriyani and Brinji. Uncle google tells me that Brinji is similar to Biriyani and its forerunner at least in the South.

I am told Muslims make the best non-vegetarian biriyanis. So it was surprising to note that this stall manned by Muslins was highlighting their vegetarian dish. Maybe a strategy of specialisation or penetration of a niche. Or does it have anything to do with the profile of the neighbourhood? Not being a foodie, I was interested only in the marketing strategy behind this young man’s business.

Incidentally, in a recent article Economic Times reported that Biriyani continues to be the most popular dish ordered on food delivery apps in the last 3 years running. Swiggy, for example, receives an average of 2.3 orders for Biriyani every second.

From the Chennai Photowalk #231 Villivakkam

In the Vegetable Market

Vegetable vendor

From the Chennai Photowalk #231

At the vegetable market, Villivakkam. The area was originally called Vilvaaranyam – the grove of volva trees.

The vegetable market was built during the British period and continues to function even today. Besides vegetables, there are also fish stalls in an annexe.

What do you see in the above picture?

I see…

A woman and 2 macho figures.

A lady vendor and 2 male customers.

Bright colours

Vegetable for the customer. Money for the seller as seen the seller eyeing the Mahalakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth- on the bag

Service Providers

It has been raining heavily this morning. I could have only a glimpse from my window. Our street had about 5 inches of water. Yet some diligent service providers like maids, sanitary workers, newspaper and milk vendors, and health care workers were making their way to work.

I salute these anonymous service providers.

Newspaper Vendor

Magazine stall

This magazine vendor off Armenian street stocks an array of dailies and periodicals in many languages and genres. He also stocks items of stationery to untilise the shelf space optimally.

From The Chennai Photowalk – Armenian Street

Intense Devotion


Steel bars are no barrier for devotion for this lady in Triplicane. During the temple procession and Ghoshti .

From the Chennai Photowalk #150

“Annie Get Your Gun”

“Target practice

It is Sunday morning. 7 a.m. at Marina Beach. This lady has already laid out the balloons and air rifles to invite clients to try out their shooting skills.