IRON NEST

Located in Tamil Nadu on the southeast coast of India, Madurai's central market originally functioned as a ‘Sunday’ and ‘Wednesday’ bazaar. The market was renowned not only for the goods available within it, but also as a famed spot for holding public meetings in the city, especially during the freedom struggle. People who frequent the market come looking for second-hand goods sold at low prices and many shopkeepers selling house furnishings, construction materials, electronic and iron goods have expanded their businesses over time successfully with generation after generation holding on to the family identity  through commerce.

Following directly in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers, shopkeepers in the market today often represent the second or third generation running the family business. Arriving early morning and roosting in their stalls from dawn until after dusk they cry out to passers-by and cluck their tongues when negotiations go awry.  The market is full of their chatter when business is slow or there is big news.  Perched, often precariously among their wares; the merchants seem oblivious to their daytime habitats and how they have burrowed, scraped, suspended or mounded their products around them. The traders evolve over the years, organically blending with their stalls as into a natural camouflage.  Adapting to the rhythm of the market—the day passes, the sun sinks, the calls fade—the iron nests empty for the night.

 All Images © ĀRUN

Chennai, India

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