The traffic snarls of Bengaluru have gained such notoriety that they are very much a part of the city’s legacy, much to the angst of her motorists. Most commuters in the city have to endure being stuck at, at least 4-5 signals on their commute to or from work, traffic. But while you are waiting, there’s a lot that you can do other than curse your luck. The city’s signals have become commercial hubs for ingenious hawkers who peddle their wares to drivers and their passengers. This gives you an opportunity to do some shopping or at the very least to keep yourself occupied, whilst waiting. From eatables to household wares and stationery, there are plenty of useful things that you can buy while you drive through Bengaluru.
1. Sliced Cucumber, Watermelons, and Mangoes
There’s nothing like a snack when you’re bored and frustrated at having to wait, for what seems like an eternity, at one of Bengaluru’s signals. Yes, the city may be noted for its pleasant weather and chilly winters, but being stuck outdoors on a hot summer day can be unbearable even in the ‘Garden City of India’. Hawkers have long been savvy to the food-cravings of the populace, but they’ve also learned that the best place to make a sale is in a traffic jam. They sell conveniently sliced fruits like watermelons, cucumbers, and mangoes, which are simply refreshing and make the long wait so much more pleasant. It would be hard to survive the city’s traffic without these treats.
2. Earphones & Handsfree
Ever since the days when walkman and discman players became commonplace, hawkers have been selling cheap earphones at most busy points in the city. As cell phone use increased, crackdowns became increasingly common on motorists texting or talking while driving. Quick to catch on, the city’s hawkers upgraded from simply selling headsets, to also selling ‘handsfree’ mobile earphones, especially at busy signals. So, if ever you are stuck in traffic wishing that you had remembered to carry earphones, so you could kill some time listening to music or watching a sitcom, you can just pick up a spare set.
3. Socks and Handkerchiefs
Socks and handkerchiefs may not seem like the most necessary or desirable items when you are stuck in a traffic jam, but you’d be surprised at how fast they sell. Yes, socks have a way of wearing themselves out and handkerchiefs are never to be found when you need them, making the city’s traffic snarls a great selling place for these supplies. The next time that you are short on these essentials, you needn’t head to a marketplace, but can simply make a purchase while you’re driving through the city.
4. Woolen Gloves, Caps and Mufflers
Bengaluru is known to have delightfully cold winters, but this weather is only pleasant when you are indoors or draped in woolen shawls or jackets. The city’s street-vendors, who frequent the signals, begin to sell woolen gloves, caps, and mufflers, during the winter months with the slightest sign of the change in season. If you need a new pair of mittens or a sweater, you can do your shopping right from your car, while you are held up in traffic. Even if you don’t plan on making a purchase, you owe these hawkers a debt of gratitude for reminding you that it’s time to dig out last year’s winter wear.
5. Roasted Peanuts
There is scarcely a person who can resist snacking on warm roasted peanuts, so it’s no surprise that practically every signal in the city has at least one hawker selling peanuts. With the exception of those unfortunate enough to have a peanut allergy, these tasty treats are a universal favorite and Bangaloreans love them just as much as everyone else. Peanut-sellers always do brisk business, no matter the season or time of day. The next time you find yourself craving a snack when you’re waiting for the signal to turn green, lookout for one of these vendors.
6. Phone Chargers and Holders
Isn’t it annoying how quickly your smartphone battery runs out, especially when you are stuck in traffic? Well, Bengaluru’s hawkers even sell phone chargers and holders at signals, so the next time you are waiting for the green light, you can make this useful purchase and stay connected. While the quality of these car phone chargers may leave a lot to be desired, they are extremely cheap, so they are still good value for money. The holders can also come in handy, especially if you want to use your phone’s GPS for navigation.
7. Flash Lights
Power failures may be a thing of the past in India’s ‘Silicon Valley’, but an emergency light is still always handy. You can buy such emergency lights, torches, and even laser key-chains the next time you are stuck in city traffic. Many vendors even sell cheap rechargeable batteries for the torches, so you don’t even have to worry about replacement batteries.
8. New Year Diaries & Calendars
Towards the end of the year, you can be sure to find people selling New Year diaries and calendars at almost any signal or crossroad in the city. Digital calendars may be handy, but they have certainly not made conventional notebooks, diaries, and calendars obsolete. Most Indians still prefer to write down plans, appointments, and travel schedules on paper, because they are a lot more reliable than technology, which can fail from time to time. So, the next time you need a new diary and calendar, you can simply buy one on your way home from work; you don’t even need a reminder, as you’ll find them being sold to you while you are seated in your car waiting for the traffic to move.
9. Car Fresheners
Despite air-conditioning, the interiors of a car can get quite stuffy and the air often smells stale. It’s a common woe for every car owner, especially for those who live in areas with sweltering tropical summers, as in India. Car fresheners will not make the air in your car magically pure, but they can mask unpleasant odors and fill the vehicle with a pleasant fragrance. This is one purchase that you should definitely consider, because being stuck in a car with a refreshing odor certainly beats having to wait for traffic to clear in a smelly vehicle.
10. Sun Blinds for Cars
Every time that you take a seat in your car and grab the steering wheel, there’s a good chance that you find yourself wishing you had picked up sun blinds. Cars parked in the sun, whether for a few minutes or hours, will heat up rather quickly. Now this doesn’t just make driving uncomfortable until the cooling kicks in, it’s also less energy efficient for the air conditioning. Additionally, direct exposure to sunlight also results in faster wear and tear of the dash and interior upholstery. Car blinds actually offer great protection against such exposure and not surprisingly you will find them being sold at almost every signal.
While these are just 10 useful things you can buy while you drive through Bengaluru, you will be sure to find a lot more interesting wares, if you keep your eyes open. The next time you need to do a lot of shopping you should also consider signing up for a trip to Bengaluru’s largest wholesale market via Cleartrip app.