In the early hours of Friday morning, many local Goan vendors prepare their goods which are to be sold within the next few hours at the Mapusa Friday Market.
“We start making the bread at 1 am,” says the woman who sells fresh bread of all shapes and sizes at the bread market in Mapusa. Functioning on barely any sleep but still managing to flash the brightest smile, she calls out to customers.
In the same manner, hundreds of people set up shop on the sides of the road on Friday. Locally sourced dry fish, plants, Kashmiri chillies, delicious Goan chouriço and so on, all available at the famous Mapusa bazaar. The average Goan has an instinctual mental reminder – one that automatically sets off and takes them straight to Mapusa the moment they realise that it is a Friday.
If you have an observant eye, the scenes that you will see here are truly wholesome, like an old man adjusting some baskets with a stick despite having a broken arm. “I met with an accident next to the church. I am fine though,” he said. Another group of middle-aged ladies giggled to themselves when they heard their friend saying, “My husband is going to shout at me for getting more terra-cotta, but I can't help it every time I'm here.”
The day goes on to the echo of women bargaining through the noise of the market. “Divpache sang” is undeniably the most common phrase you will hear before you see a woman walk away from a vendor to create an impression of disinterest. This will usually prompt the vendor to chase her down and finally surrender to the price that she has set. This was inevitable – the vendor never stood a chance against her.
As we came upon a woman making her garlands of flowers, she blushed and smiled at the camera, saying, “Where are you taking me today?”
Be it rain or the scorching sun, they sit under their umbrellas looking down at the paper in their hands. They wait for customers and kill time by trying to read about what is going on outside their small world. Some of them virtually participate in the Holy Mass on their smartphones.
Speaking of smart, let us not forget their Google-pay codes that are laminated and hung from their umbrellas so you have no excuse of running out of cash.
The Friday market at Mapusa is just one of the many weekly bazaars that Goa has. The experience of having everything in the same area is why all roads lead to Mapusa every Friday. Authenticity and value for money are other reasons. All the local vendors prepare in advance, come sunshine or rain. So, if you have not been here yet, there are only a few days to go until the next Friday arrives. Put on your sun hats or take your umbrellas and head to Mapusa.