Bustling bazaars or mystical malls

Simple light bulbs hanging at the corner of a spread of vibrant articles on the streets with sign boards written with white chalk are the go-to places for me to indulge in a shopping spree. There’s no doubt about the appeal of packed shopping malls with a variety of shops to offer under one roof but, there is more to the local businesses too.

Locally sourced food and products crafted by local artisans can be supported with every purchase-It elevates the local economy by impacting the vendor’s families directly. This gesture encourages innovation and broadens the platform for expression and creativity for craftsmen and artisans. Shopping local usually means fresher, safer and organic produce – This is undeniably a crucial factor that the world is running behind and is unquestionably vital in today’s times. Many times, our eyes catch vegetables and fruits like mangoes on the racks of supermarkets during peak winters when the season is not apt to cultivate such crops. On the other hand, local markets have seasonal produce available at the right times of the year. This urges customers to build associations with seasonal crops while amending their food habits and also connecting with their traditional roots.

Images: Karthik Ramanathan

As a budding environmentally conscious person, I truly believe that the impacts of going local aren’t limited to the advantages for us humans. The terms ‘sustainable business’ and ‘sustainable living’ are a fad and I think that local businesses deserve more recognition from the world for playing a major role under the category. Here is why- Loving local businesses also keep the environment happy as the travelling costs are kept low and packaging material is limited too. The breezy air is a great substitute for air conditioners at shopping malls which are set to emit over 130 Gigatons of CO2, from present times until 2050 as per IEA (International Energy Agency) and RMI (Rocky mountain institute) which will increase the size of the already deteriorating carbon footprint. (Source)

The use of reusable cloth and jute bags in markets is prevalent which is one of the best parts of shopping locally. It is amazing to witness the vendors encouraging and insisting on the use of reusable bags too.

Shopping experiences in local bazaars are much more than just buying goods-The thought-provoking interactions and affectionate laughs you share with the vendors who you fondly refer to as ‘annas and akkas’ (brothers and sisters) foster unbreakable bonds. You always look forward to meeting them on your next shopping trip to discuss just about anything under the sky. This acts as the building blocks to embrace your community and culture. Their recommendations and choice of products for you to buy, don’t just signify the undying affection of your relationship-It also displays their expertise and mastery in the subject. You can directly receive suggestions from the experts who possess immense knowledge about the product they sell; where it’s from, who makes them, what suits you better, the speciality of the product and more! It’s an opportunity to learn more about our culture and the situation of various stakeholders in today’s society. This is a gentle reminder to all of us that ‘every small purchase makes a big difference’. What other time is better than the summer holidays to indulge in your local shopping spree?

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