The market, I told her and the class, does not care much for sentiments.
So, reading this piece in The Hindu is not that much of a revelation--in terms of how much the boom in the flower business is a recent phenomenon in India. The boom is a reflection of affluence--barely subsisting people will rarely spend money on such goods.
In most cities, the sudden boom seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon. “In the 1950s when we started the business, K.R. Market was handling less than a tonne daily. Today, it handles over five tonnes of loose flowers daily, and even breaches the 50-tonne mark during the festival and marriage season,” points out S. Nagabhushan, a wholesale flower seller in Bangalore. Tracing the history of flower market in Bangalore, he observes: “Bangalore was once known for flower production with a number of farms in the vicinity. But, the real estate boom has consumed these farms, and nearly 75 per cent of Bangalore's floral needs in loose flowers today is met by Tamil Nadu.”The workers down the economic ladder do not get appropriate benefits from participating in this industry. It is a problem that is characteristic of the informal economy.
If you thought that Rs. 100 a day was not bad for a flower seller, you would change your mind if you saw how that amount has to be fractioned — to pay for her two children's education at a good private school (Padma herself has studied only up to Std X while her older sister is a graduate); support her unsupportive, unemployed husband and his indulgences; a sister who just lost her job and her two children; and pay off her housing loan. It is indeed quite a strain on the low-margin profit she makes, but she manages and quite contently at that, though the tears that swell in her eyes when talking about the family seems to have a different story to tell…Again, as is almost the case among the poor all across the developing world, the women overwork, while the men sit around and do nothing. Or worse, they spend the money the wife earns/saves for the family--on liquor. I tell you, it is pretty disgusting for this blogger to admit that his fellow men can be quite a disaster.