Here’s to the NY street vendors: Street Meat

29 04 2010

A few images from Start with Typewriters made me long for the NY streets…


Hawkers Enumerated

10 04 2010

Watermelon Boy. Ally Reeves. 2010. Copy-left. Must site source if img. is used...

As I dig through articles tied in with hawking I’m used to seeing a lot of third person writing. I was pleased to stubble across Kaaranam-Ketkadey, a blog for senior citizens in which the author reflects on how the hawkers who pass by his home and call out  play a role in demarcating the passage of time in his day.

Besides sharing his own thoughts on why hawkers pass by at certain times of the day, he goes on to share a compiled list of hawkers he and fellow writers have composed.  It’s an excellent posting as many articles are absent from such personal writings. Thanks Kaaranam-Ketkadey!

List copied from the site…

1. Flowers
2. Allam Moraba
3. Moggu (Stone powder for drawing Rangoli)
4. Sooth sayers (who come with decorated bull)
5. Safai walah
6. Goorkha
7. Milkman
8. Newspaper guy
9. Murai vaasal ladies
10. Aaku Kooralu(green leafy vegetables)
11. Bread, makhan, Ande wala(in Delhi)
12. Idli
13. Paper kayatalu(they buy)
14. Free lance barbers on the road, with hand held mirrors
15. Koorgayulu(vegetables)
16. Seasonal fruit viz Oranges
17. Car cleaners
18. Koora wala,
19. Flowerpot man,
20. Jadu seller
21. Selling ice cream…
22. Selling bangles
23. Tea venders
24. Knife sharpners – with a wheeled machine
25. Old / used paper vendors
26. Beggars (they get you Punyam by accepting your alms)
27. Akukuralu(leafy vegetables only)
28. Kuragayalu(vegetables)
29. Bananas
30. Brooms
31. Narikuravaas selling needles, stones, mala etc.
32. Fishermen selling Fish both dead and alive.
33. Water tank cleaners (young boys)
34. Car cleaners including scooters motor cycles.
35. Gudugudu Pandi telling your fortunes, astrologers, palmists, soothsayers etc.
36. Kitchen Vessels repair and zinc coating people.
37. Fancy dress makers dressing like Rama, Krishna, Hanuman, etc.
38. Dressing like a brahmins and chanting mantras.
39. Tiffins like dosa,idly
40. Sofaset repairers,
41. Sharpening knives
42. Pillow/bed makers, repairers (re-fillers).
43. Pav wala
44. Greens leafy vegetables—Chillies
45. Idli vada Dosa
46. Sundal
47. Ullipayalu
48. Maid using ‘Broom’ and ‘Muggu’
49. Umbrella Repairman
50. Pesticide sprayer
51. Coconut tree climber to pluck coconuts for you
52. Stone Mortar & Pestle – chipper who roughens the surfaces
53. Zinc coater for brass vessels
54. Vepa pullalu (Neem tree shoots (sticks) for brushing teeth)
55. Early Morning Sangeerthana bands (Bajan groups) selling divine blessings
56. Coconut water
57. Rag pickers (they serve you by removing unwanted stuff)
58. Flowers & Fruits sellers
59. Water storage containers (cement, plastic etc)
60. “Seconds” biscuits, bun, bread & bakery items
61. Pickles seller


Street Vendors of Morocco Deal with Illegality

24 03 2010

Vendors in Morocco deal with harassment from gov’t and a sense of uncertaintiy.  Here, the informal sector includes a wide range of persons from educated to illiterate, men and women. Morocco’s informal sector acts as a catch all for those who would other wise be unemployed:

“No private company will recruit university graduates, so I’ve sat several competitive exams, but I’ve never been lucky enough to pass,” says 36-year-old Mohammed. “I’m not ashamed of being a street vendor, despite my level of education, even though deep down I really hope for a better life for my children.”

read more of the article at…

A Look at Hawker Legislation:

3 02 2010
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image by Ally Reeves. copy-left. note source if image is used.


An article taken from Frontline Magazine:

On the margins


The absence of political will to implement the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors keeps this section of society prisoners of bias.

“…PETTY retail trade has traditionally been a refuge employment sector for workers, both men and women, who lose other jobs or simply do not find any other paid work. This has been especially true of urban areas because poverty and the lack of opportunities for gainful employment in rural areas drive a large number of people to cities in search of work and livelihood.

Those who migrate generally possess low skills and lack the required education for the better-paid jobs in the organised sector, where in any case aggregate employment has not increased much. This has led to a rapid growth of informal work, including street vending or hawking. For the urban poor, hawking is one important means of earning a livelihood as it requires minor financial input and involves relatively low skills…”

Special thanks to Cheryl Deutsch for sharing this link

Notable Essays on Street Vendors

3 02 2010

links to a few great essays on street vendors…


Street Vendors in Asia: A Review by Sharit K Bhowmik

Urban Responses to Street Trading: India Sharit K. Bhowmik


Street Hawkers and Public Space in Mumbai by Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria

photo credit: Michelle Reeves

Shoe, Shave and Key Stalls

29 01 2010

SCRAP OF SHOP/Shoe, Shave and Key Stalls


ally reeves. copy-left. site source if used.2010

Mumbai, India is home to around 200,000 plus street vendors, many of whom are unlicensed. Operating outside of the formal economy, these businessmen construct irregularly styled stalls around the city in areas of high pedestrian traffic. The operators of these structures are often migrants, and socially hail from the lower classes and the material sensibilities they incorporate follow a “use what you have” mentality. The kiosk’s forms follows function.

While many variations of handmade stalls exist, the most petite in scale and exceptional in simplicity may be those devoted to the Shoe, the Shave and the Key. In these small and shoddy stalls a single service or good is peddled. All truths in these 5’x5’spaces bend towards a lone cause. Like some mythologically candid collection of intentions, the activities of these shops and those who run them take place in an enclosing box that when viewed romantically, can be appreciated as a bijou stage whose episodes are starkly straightforward, uncomplicated by velvet curtains or gilded decoration.

A regular passerby may slowly witness the life of a tradesman, by stringing together a few scenes of this homely performance at a time.  One may wonder if such singular modes of work invade all of such a laborer’s reasoning:

Does the Key-maker think of the world through analogies related to locks, doors, and means of access?

Does the Cobbler re-sole and shine shoes with an eye for reading laces and leather like lines in a palm?

ally reeves. copy-left. site source if used.2010

Keepers of these shops appear at somewhat regular hours, setting up as early as dawn when temperatures are pleasant and generally closing up at dusk, as all seem absent of electrical outlets or furnishings of light.

Perhaps most curious is the dichotomy of cherished and careless construction that typifies these structures. While they are hand lettered, securely strapped to a tree over night, or locked with fist-sized pad locks, the materials they are made of, often seem no more than piled on or tacked together. They are composed of branches, odd planks, rusted metal cabinets and draped in plastic tarps tied on with small nails or twine. The Shoe, Shave and Key shops raise more questions than they answer: are these places dear to their owners or a scorned area of toil and repetition?

Empty, these structures serve as a light biographical account of the activities of their keepers. In some cases, a pedestrian may wonder by to find tools left out, someone having just left the scene and wandered off for a moment or so. Like stage props awkward without their enlivening actors, the stalls themselves take on the role of a character, some dingy and clumsy, others decorated in lime, chili and marigolds in the superstitious act of warding off evil spirits.

In an empty barber’s shop a worn stool sits waiting. Shaving lather and a small bowl of water rest on the nearby ledge in a wall. There is no bell to call the shopkeeper, and no queue for a shave. The owner is somewhere nearby, eating or smoking, and tends to appear if someone lingers in the shop space for more than a few moments. A small mirror is propped next to the shaving brush and cream, reflecting sky and trees overhead.

While the pedestrian may enjoy the functionality and curio nature the Shoe, Shave and Key shops provide, he or she would be naïve to believe they are not also theatre in return. These shops, like television boxes of activity turned on and off with the day’s light, also provide their occupants with plebian box seating— an unpretentious roost by which to view the cinema of the street.

ally reeves. copy-left. site source if used.2010

Population Paired with Hawking Zones in Mumbai

29 01 2010