The invisible store

PHOTO PROMPT - © Kent Bonham

Radha  rose before sunrise to cook for her family and get ready to take the first bus out, praying that prime spot at the entrance of the Bazaar remains unoccupied.  She calculated Rs3 as the break-even price for her goods that were purchased on borrowed money from a heartless loan shark. Profit meant ……. Not clothes or exotic things  sold in the bazaar under shiny lights…. but food for a day or two.  Her back throbbed in pain where her husband had battered her in his drunken stupor asking her for money …but she hurried on.

The prime spot was unoccupied. She thanked God for her good luck and put out a lemon in front of her make-shift stall to ward off the evil eye.

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The women who have inspired me are not the Indira Gandhi’s or Hillary Clinton’s of the world but these unassuming , uneducated , hard-working women who lift their families out of starvation and ruin amidst numerous challenges and who serve as the invisible backbone of many a country’s economy. The pictures below would say what I feel more eloquently than any words I can write:

Photos of beautiful hard-working women entrepreneurs from around the world:

India:

photo credit: www.telegraphindia.com

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/janyjacob/beautiful-women-of-south-asia/

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indias-invisible-workers/article4488407.ece#im-image-12

Peru:

Photo Credit – http://bicycletouringpro.com/blog/250-reasons-to-fall-in-love-with-peru/old-woman-640×426/

Vietnam:

Photo credit: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/10/street-food-vendors-from-around-world.html

Jerusalem:

Photo credit: http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/image/I00009SgPXnL.ssA

Mynamar:

Photo credit: https://freedommuzic.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/myanmar-friends-cptc2.jpg

Ethiopia:

Photo credit: http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/30056644street-vendor-harar-old-town-ethiop-30056644.jpg

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This  100+ word story is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes, that fellow Friday Fictioneers have, on the same photo prompt:

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43 responses to “The invisible store

  1. I once calculated the global GDP divided by the global population gave a wage for all of around £9,000 per year each (tax free of course) I think we could live on that.

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  2. I’ve seen many such women, near the railway station and first at the market and so on. I’ve tried to imagine their story too, but you’ve said a lot in 100 words 🙂 Nice.

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    • Thanks. I used to buy from these ladies on my train rides back in India and never appreciated the well to-do people who bargained with their reasonable prices.

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  3. When travelling, I always feel odd with the bartering culture. As a westerner I’m used to the price being the price, but in any case, they are bartering over something that is pennies to me (as a Westerner) and riches to them. It feel wrong, but their entrepreneurship is incredible. Thaks fr raising the issue in both your words and the pictures.

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    • Except tourist spots where trinkets are sold most other street vendors selling fruits, flowers and vegetables etc. stay within reasonable profit limits because most often their customers are not very different from them economically. Some tourist areas expect bartering and inflate prices astronomically and that’s a totally different creed of enterprenuers from the women in the story/pictures.

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  4. Loved the story, and thank you for sharing the pictures too, it really makes us think.

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  5. Sorry if I posted twice here. I think I moved on without posting though. I was with a business colleague in Hong Kong when such a woman approached selling boxes of matches. He bought several though he didn’t smoke – it was a principle with him – to promote and reward endeavour. Lovely story.

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    • Thanks Sandra. No , you didn’t post twice. Your colleague has a good principle, which i too try to follow when I see abject poverty and relentless hard work.

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  6. A tough world well illustrated by the photos you’ve provided.

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  7. Thank you for giving these women a voice today. Powerful 100 words.
    Tracey

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  8. Great story and accompanying photos. A great contrast between your woman’s stall and her desperate need to make ends meet, and the rather plush-looking shop in the prompt photo.

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  9. Dear Ansumani,

    You told a lot of story in a few words. Her battered back…the heartless loan shark. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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  10. Thanks for sharing the pictures of the women who inspired your story, which was gripping. I had hoped she would get her desired spot. Is it true that in many cultures, these market women have a superstition about the first customer of the day? If they buy something, the day will be good; if they don’t the day will be bad? I heard that…

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    • It is true…most of these women are very superstitious and prefer to sell to “married woman” first rather than widows(who are considered inauspicious) . For about two years I travelled to work by a local train in India and that is where I had the exposure to their lives. In the early morning train they would be returning from the wholesale market to other parts of town. Once a vendor refused to sell to a older widow (yes, widows were easy to spot as they dressed in white and didn’t wear the bindi on the forehead) …it was a cruel discrimination of a women by a women but these uneducated women have such hard lives that they aren’t going to take chances with superstition.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing the plight of women trying to survive and raise a family with no support from the spouse. This is something folks need to be aware.
    In some areas, organizations provide microloans to women so they can get their supplies and avoid the loan shark.

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    • You are right. There are many organizations that offer these microloans with a lot of success. These micro loans are a very neglibible default rates…they are almost always repaid. When you compare that with “successful” people like Donald Trump who declare bankruptcy and default on loans…these women can be considered truly successful.

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      • There is always two sets of rules. But these women have triumphed in every way that Trump has failed. And, now he’s running for the presidential nomination!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. What a wonderful story..and yes so much hard work simply to eat. The difference between making the spot or not.. and the husband drinking and beating.. For some every day is a struggle.. so well written

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    • Thanks Bjorn. It is sad to see some these women who accept these struggles as normal and are unable to put a stop to domestic abuse. Alcoholism , mostly amongst men, is another huge impediment for those in the lower economic strata in many developing countries.

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  13. Excellent piece! And the pictures, amazing. Women are the salt of the earth. Don’t know why but now I just keep using cliches!

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  14. Francesca Smith

    Many of us could learn a thing or two from these ladies.
    A wonderful take on the picture prompt!

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  15. I love Mick Lively’s economic theory. He should run the International Monetary Fund. You can be his second in command, and the world can stop struggling and fighting. It makes so much sense! But people and nations are so accustomed to pushing their own agendas and feeding their own egos that they can’t see any possible solutions that are right in front of their nose.

    Your story is beautifully written and focuses attention on an important issue. Well done!

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  16. A beautiful story about a real problem, and an informative and humbling glimpse into Radha’s world. The pictures are wonderful.

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  17. Such a hard life – my admiration and respect to all of them nicely highlighted in your stories and the photographs below. We take so many things for granted in our commercial throw-a-way society these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ansumani, what a remarkable story you’ve told here. These women would sacrifice anything to keep their families afloat. I enjoyed the photos!

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  19. Excellent story, very powerful and true. The photos make it even more powerful.

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  20. Really brought home the circumstances that millions of people live under throughout the world. We have it so good and don’t appreciate it. Compellingly written, thank you!

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  21. Great piece, Ansumani. We’ve often purchased from women like that. I hate to think of them going home and being beaten by a drunken husband, but it happens with some. Some charities here give food instead of money to families because they know what often happens. Well written. The extra pictures are very effective. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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