A tale of Indian florists

India is a country where we can celebrate every month in a year. We have thousands of gods and goddesses to worship and the list of festivities is endless. We can celebrate one god for an entire week, the best part is that occasionally our government also supports it. Days when we are not indulged into worshiping or celebrating festivals, we all keep ourselves busy in preparing for all the upcoming weddings.

If we look in a different way, weddings are the one of the most celebrated events. India, being a diverse country in all manners, some prefer gold loaded bride, others simple arrangements, while some prioritize better food. Country’s northern region, especially Delhi and its NCR, has proved its craziness for weddings with its blooming and larger than life weddings. Each year Delhi celebrates wedding season twice, i.e. summer (around May-July), and winter (around November-February). Every wedding season marks thousands of weddings. For example, on December 7 2015, the city witnessed more than 25,000 weddings in a single DAY.

It is the time when a number of occupations earn maximum profit in a year. Each of the businessperson prepares a different theme, fabric, schemes, collection to stand out in the competition, and to attract as many as possible customers.

Among all businesses, one business never comes under the spotlight and it is the floral business. Yes, they are the ones who make sure that each of the wedding ceremony, or any occasion of our lives is aromatic. Flowers are the real essence in any ceremonies. It makes an event even more celebration worthy. Like other cities the country, Delhi is also blessed with one big and authorized wholesale flower market, Ghazipur Flower Market.

Van
A van and its driver waits for the vendor to collect a batch of fresh roses and other items

The Mandi (market) is located in the Ghazipur Village and is formed by merging three major flower markets of Delhi- Mehrauli, Baba Kharak Singh Marg (Cannaught Place) and Fatehpuri. In 2011, the Government asked to move all the vendors to Ghazipur, for a systematic and a better marketplace. The decision raised many questions on the sudden shift. Vendors organized several group walks from Baba Kharak Singh Marg market to Mehrauli Flower market to show their protest against the decision. Among all concerns, distance was a primary issue. It is the small-scale vendors who are affected the most. At present, many sellers travel by local trains, rent trucks, and share some newspaper delivery van. While other vendors travel by their own vehicles.

Ravinder
Ravinder likes reading a newspaper when he is not attending any customers

Ravinder, who is a farmer and a wholesale dealer at the market daily travels from Kapaseda border to the mandi via truck that he shares with some other sellers. He believes that it is a quick and easy way to travel, however, he is not happy with the amount being spent on travelling. On each ride Ravinder pay Rs 300-400 to the driver, and so does others.

“My business is ok, and during peak season (wedding season) I earn a decent amount. But the sad part is that I have to spend ¼ of my income on travelling. It is even more difficult for others who do not earn much.” 

Kapil
Kapil calculates his expenses for the day as he waits for the customers

On the other side, there is a section of small vendors, who sell ‘green’ (Thuja). Among them Kapil is one young and energetic seller who has inherited his business from his father. He resides at one of the city’s slums, Sultanpur and travels by local trains.

“I travel by local everyday, and I find it very convenient and money saving option for me. Missing train means no business for the day, and I cannot afford that.”

Time is precious for all, but for these sellers it is their bread and butter. Early they present their fresh flowers to the customers, early they will be able to sell their entire stock.

“Our business completely depends on our luck. If it is in our favour, we easily sell all our flowers at a decent price and that too within two-three days. If not, our flowers are left worth of nothing,” says Dayaram, who is a farmer and a licensed seller in the market. 

Dayaram
Dayaram in conversation wit one of the other sellers

Like Ravinder, he also stays at Kapaseda village. Each morning he travels via newspaper delivery vans and pay them Rs 300 per day. He believes that it is more reasonable, time saving and safe method to travel with such delicate luggage.

While some small businessmen struggle everyday, there are some, who run a full-fledged business of some of the most exotic flowers like, Orchids, Lilies, Carnations, Heliconia, Gerbera, Lillium Casablanca, Tulips, all other varieties that are available during a season. Luckily, I had the opportunity to talk to one of the youngest businessman in the market. Ranveer Yadav, is currently engaged in the commissioned business. Originally, he belongs to a family of farmers, and to start a flower business of his own was a major step for his career and of his life. Till the date his business has hardly seen any low phase.

Ranveer
Ranveer Yadav poses for the camera while he presents his collection to us

“I take a 10 per cent commission on the total sale. Which is quite beneficial and worth of my time. As such, there are no losses, because I am in direct contact with the people who cultivate these magnificent flowers.”

It is great to see how much hard work and efforts all these people put to maintain a proper supply of flowers in our local markets. A majority of them are deprived from the real earnings, as they are the ‘wholesalers’ and they are supposed to sell everything at a ‘very low cost’. It is a request to all my readers, if you ever visit this market, or any other wholesale markets, kindly consider the efforts being made and the pain they suffer into consideration before you bargain. Remember, they have a thin margin.

Should you visit the Market?

Hell yeah!!! This is a must place to visit, as the rates are way too low that the retail market. For example, a Dalia flower that can cost for Rs 20-30 in the local markets, over here you can easily buy it for 10-15 rupees. If you are buying in bulk, it will cost you even more less. 😀

Even if you don’t want to buy in bulk, there is nothing wrong in visiting a center of the flower markets in Delhi NCR.

Gifted Flowers
Dayaram and Ravinder who sits next to each other gave me these to Dalia flowers.

When Can You visit?

The market is open all four seasons. It begins at 3.00am and remains open till 8.00am (summers) and 9.00am-10.00am (winters). During the wedding seasons, it begins at 12.00am to 2.00am till 9.00am (summers)-10.00am (winters).

Cons: Bargaining during the peak of the season, may be difficult. However, it is not impossible.

Some other pointers:

Nearest metro station: Anand Vihar

Distance from Metro Station: 20 minutes (walking); via Rickshaw: 10 minutes

Tips:

  1. Do not go for sharing rickshaw, they will drop you at the outer ring road.
  2. Reach the market as early as possible, that way you will grab the freshest batch of flowers.

 

 

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