The Fokinni Bazar, otherwise known as “Gorib er Bazar”, is a market for vegetables and fruits salvaged from the nearby Karwan Bazar. The bazar, which started back in 1983, has some 120 open-air stalls selling produce. According to the vendors, it all started when those living near the rail lines began collecting vegetables that fell off wagons or were thrown out for being “damaged”. They took the scraps and sold them for less than half the price. The financially-challenged customers of the bazar do not consider the blemishes to be deal-breakers and instead use them to haggle down prices. The bazar serves as a grocery haven for slum dwellers who live in and around the area. However, due to frequent eviction drives, it may just be in its twilight years.
In Aaghoria in Sirajganj’s Raiganj upazila, a change is creeping up. Rice fields are taking over jungles where once murta plants ruled. At times, there seems to be a harmony between the two, but looks can be deceiving. The murta plants are used to produce the traditional shitalpati, the naturally cold mat which is a blessing on most summer days. The mats come from the trees taller than men. The trees are cut, then boiled and finally individually coloured. Fold it as much as one wants, but it never breaks. The shitalpati is something special. But it is being replaced by plastic. And slowly, but surely, the locals are moving away from their heirloom pieces.