Let me make this clear – it’s not a flea market, it’s a junk market. Behind Vellore’s fish market in Long Bazaar you’ll find street vendors lined up every Sunday selling all manner of rusted stuff with a few hidden gems lurking in the back.
We love all manner of junk/flea markets and postponed our trip back to Vizag when we heard there was one such market in our very own home town of Vellore. We were told to expect disappointment…and our expectations did not disappoint. The most rusted of bicycle parts, old mixies, mobile phones, machine parts, radios, keyboards, mouses (mice?), music systems of a bygone era, even a mountain of old ballpoint pens. It’s all here. Most of it is stuff you do not want. But if you look closely enough and can block out the smell of pee, there are some gems to be found.
I found these candle stands for Rs.100 and this “lota” for Rs.20, in which I now set curds. But you shouldn’t go to this market thinking you’ll find stuff as nice as these candle stands – that was a fluke. The red candles are the ones we bought at the Yap Temple in Penang.
The DH found a lampshade/head which he painted and used to transform his father’s old Ikea lamp. He had to rewire the entire thing and remove the original lamp head. Here it is looking like a beauty. He painted the inside of the lampshade white and the outside black. It was originally a horrid brown colour. Good ol’ Sunday DIY.
Among the vendors we saw this guy with a lovely array of LED emergency lights. I see them hanging up in all the “poti kadais” (little provision shops) around Vellore as electricity cuts are now more than 12 hrs a day.
This is a typical type of stall that you’ll find at Long Bazaar’s Sunday Junk market – bicycle parts, machine parts, nuts and bolts, odd bits of plastic.
Among all the rust and broken computer parts was a wedding tali and bangles drapped on an old steel trunk. The tali is what all Hindu brides are given during the wedding ceremony. It’s supposed to symbolise the circle of protection for you and your husband. It is the distinguishing mark of every married Hindu woman. It looked totally out of place and made me quite sad to see. Was someone selling the last of their jewelry for money? Had someone’s wife died and they needed the money? Whatever the reason, that tali looked very lonely.
If your Gandhi cycle or motorcycle is broken or missing some parts then this is the place to come. The quintessential art of Indian recycling. Nothing is thrown out till it is absolutely falling apart. This is the ultimate place for patchwork accessories.
If you were starting up a small food business and didn’t want to spend too much on utensils, you’d come here.
Why this man thought that someone would want a mountain of ballpoint pens (that aren’t working or have refills) I just do not know…
We’ve recently discovered a show called American Pickers on History TV 18 (9PM, Mon-Fri) where two guys, who really do know their antiques, hunt through piles and piles of junk in people’s garages, attics and warehouses. A great show if you have a passion for digging around for that impossible find.
I guess this is a good junk market if the stand of your Gandhi cycle is broken or your kid’s tricycle wheel is damaged and you want just one wheel. My brother in law needed that tiny loop of leather that holds the end of your watch strap in place. Every watch shop said he had to change the entire strap, a perfectly good leather strap. But this junk market had that very loop.
The majority of stuff in this market may not have been what I wanted but someone must want this stuff. And because we did find a few good things among the wreckage, it’s very tempting to go back next time we’re in Vellore. That’s the real draw for me – that you’ll never know what you may find.