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Ima market Manipur

Humans of Wanderlust #19: Thoi – Ima Market

Thoi who works in Ima market belongs to Chalwa village in Senapati district in Manipur. Later, she got married and shifted to Imphal. She is 42 years and a kind-hearted person with a jolly nature. She loves to talk and giggle with her mates.

About her family

She has two kids, one daughter and one son. The boy is elder and the girl is younger. She got this place to run the business from her mother-in-law who used to sell different varieties of grains at the same spot before 1995. Later, she joined the business.

About her profession in Ima Market

She said, “I started working here when I got married in 1992. I belong to Senapati district in Manipur. After getting married, I shifted to my husband’s place in Imphal. My mother-in-law was doing business here and I used to come to see how things work. I have heard of this place many times and also it interested me when I saw the ladies have discussions about socio-economic and political factors.

Ima Market place totally belongs to the women who are helping their family by doing business over here. Till date, it has been 17 years of me doing business over here. Earlier we used to sell different grains and I continued the legacy after my mother-in-law started resting at home.”

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Does tourism have any impact on your life or business in Ima Market ?

“Not much, because most of my customers are locals only. Sometimes just to be curious, people from outside come and ask what’s this and what’s that. I sell them this black rice which is only available in Manipur. People take it as a souvenir sometimes. Yes, I can say this market has been a hub for many travellers who come to Imphal.

The place is unique in its nature and also it has been quite old with its traditional way of selling. Most importantly people see discussions happen over here between ladies about the place or any particular issues which they are facing,” Thoi said.

Which kind of customers or travellers visits your stall for buying the commodity?

“Mostly women are my consumers who buy this black rice for there daily consumption. People in Manipur prefer black rice the most because it has more amount of nutrients compared to the white or brown ones.  Sometimes, men also come to buy grains. It’s all usual here. Men do shopping and women do selling, that’s the nature of the place most of the times. You might haven’t seen this kind of market scenario. A lot of women here work peacefully and helps each other which makes us unite in every possible way,” she explained.

What do you think about the future of this place?

“I think the market is already at it’s fullest potential. More and more women are settling down here to sell and survive in their daily life. Outside the market, women who didn’t get any spot are selling things on the road. I think there will be more happening in the future. We are trying to start the first floor above this building, where ladies can sell their products easily and not on the road. It creates heavy traffic during the evening time and also their life is in danger doing business on the road,” she said.

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What do you think about technology? is it a boon or bane?

“It differs from person to person. For me, it’s a boon because I have started my business via WhatsApp as well. People who can’t come daily to this market message me and give their orders and my husband or my son delivers them the commodity with a nominal charge for the delivery. The business is going really well with the help of technology.

Modern and traditional way of selling helps all of us to do business. Whatever technology comes, the traditional way won’t vanish here. There are people in Imphal who still believe in tradition and physically buying the commodity. Due to the modern era, some people are moving ahead. Both are acceptable to me as long as I’m getting business,” Thoi said.

Has any kind of pollution affected this place?

“Yes, sometimes in summer, it gets too hot and suffocating to sit here for business. Air quality is degrading day by day as this market is near the road. Vehicle smoke does affect this place. While in the monsoon, it tends to get a lot of rainfall which causes the grains to get spoilt. So I have to be extra cautious at that time. Winter is a good season for me to do business. We all are taking initiative to install fans over here for summer and heaters for winter. It’s a united step what we are taking. Rest the Imphal weather is good compared to other cities,” she signed off saying.

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