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You see them sometimes outside a temple, sometimes at a wedding, sometimes in a corner of Delhi.You may think, we are talking about flowers. But we are talking about the people whose lives are entwined with the flowers - the flower sellers. ome of them have been in the flower trade for generations and some of them migrated to Delhi and picking up a flower basket was the only vocation they could find.

These portraits of flower sellers have been meticulously compiled by Ahana Jawahar and Ankita Kumari. The portraits and the texts have been recorded as conversations.

Flower Seller Image

NISHA, Chattarpur

Meet Nisha, a bright-eyed thirteen year old who frequents between her school and her dad’s small wooden vending cart positioned outside Shri Adhya Katyani Shakti Peeth Mandir (Chattarpur, New Delhi) which sells ‘Puja Samagri’ (prayer items) to devotees.

“Arre Bhaiya, devtaao ke chadhaaye mein kanjoosi nahi karte. Papa ne bola hai 10 ka hi dene ko” ( Brother, You shouldn’t be stingy while offering worship. Dad has asked me not to sell it for any less than ten rupees) .With an unyielding expression and a tense forehead, she argues with a customer who has been ¬haggling for an unconscionable time over the price of a prepackaged packet of basic prayer items ( it consists of a garland made up of ‘genda’ or marigold flowers strung together, incense sticks, ‘mata ki chunri’ or red cloth, coconut, ‘siddh kalawa’ or sacred thread)...

Flower Seller Image
Flower Seller Image

CHANDAN & SONY – Mehrauli

We found Sony alone in the shop, happy to get photographed. A moment later, when her husband walked in, she stepped out and asked us to click only her husband. The husband however, refused to get shot alone. We finally managed to capture the couple together.

"What do you not like about your husband?"
"He hardly ever speaks to the customers."

"What do you like most about your wife?"
"She does all the talking for me."

Flower Seller Image

ROHIT – Chattarpur

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “An army officer”
“When you do become an army officer, how would you remember these flowers that you sell now”? “They will always remind me of the bad time my family had to go through that compelled us into this business.”

Flower Seller Image

SURAJ AND ROHIT, Jangpura

Two young boys managing and selling a flower shop, caught our eyes when we got lost in Jangpura. Meet Suraj and Rohit, best friends and students who help out their father on weekends.

"What are your favorite subjects?"
Suraj loves Maths because "wahi ek cheej hai jo samajh aati hai school mein" (Maths is the only thing I understand at school). Rohit likes Science although he doesn't quite know why, "bas pasand hai".

"Have you ever gifted flowers to your friends?"
Suraj : " Yes to my best friend from school. I gave him a bunch of roses on his birthday". Rohit : "Abe! Mujhe to kabhi kuch nahi diya" ( WHAT? YOU NEVER GAVE ME ANY... )

Flower Seller Image

BABITA – Mehrauli

“Why do u think flowers are such an important part of our poojas(worship)?”
“You cannot make Gods happy without flowers. They just have to be there, in all the poojas in every religion.”

Flower Seller Image

MOHMAD ALOM, Kishan Garh

Parenting comes easy to this man who hails from Kolkata. Uneducated himself, he made sure his five kids received good education. Now three are married, one daughter is pursuing a B.A and a son is studying for CS (Company Secretary). Plants are a natural extension to his family.

“Main inko apne bachon ki tarah paalta hun.” (I tend to them as my own kids)

Flower Seller Image

GOPAL, Sukhdev Vihar

“Aise hi ghoomne aaya tha Kolkata se. Yeh kaam achha lag gaya toh issi mein lag gaye. Isse sundar kaam kya ho sakta hai?” (I just came here for a visit from Kolkata. I liked this job so I got my hands into it. Can there be any work more beautiful than this?)

Flower Seller Image

ASHOK, New Friends Colony

“What do flowers mean to you?”

“Dekhiye, dene ke liye phool hi hote hain. Hum aate hain phoolon ke saath, hum jaate hain phoolon ke saath.” (look, it’s only flowers that you can give. We come into this world with flowers, we leave this world with flowers).

Flower SellerImage

BHUPENDRA, Julena

“Which flower would you gift your girlfriend?”

“Rose. Sabse jyada personality rose ki hi hai.” (Rose. It is the only flower with personality)

Flower SellerImage

VIJENDER, New Friends Colony

“Have you ever been cheated by a customer?”

“Nahi, cheat toh kisi ne nahi kiya. Par kabhi kabhi kuch kisse ho jaate hain, ki hum bhi jaane dete hain. Ek buzurg aaye the apni pothi ke saath, Valentine’s Day par. Bola pothi ke liye phool chahye par paise nahin hain. Aaye the Maruti mein. Unhone bola ki kal de denge paise. Yeh toh mujhe pata hi tha kal aane se raha. Lekin de dete hain hum bhi.” (No, I’ve never been cheated by a customer. But sometimes, some incidents happen, and I also just let it pass. On Valentine’s Day, this old man came to me with his grand daughter. He wanted to buy some flowers for her but he claimed to have no money even though he came in a Maruti car. He promised to pay me the next day. And although I knew better, I just let it go.)

Flower SellerImage

BINOD, Greater Kailash

Binod from GK, loves roses because as he says “baaki flowers toh bas ‘normal’ hain” (other flowers are just ‘normal’)

“Have you ever given a rose to anyone?”

“Bohoton ko diya hain. Haan ji, do ko pata rakhe hain (i have given it to a lot of people. i have two girlfriends)”


 

 

 

 

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