Have you zealously coaxed your parents to buy you a Rs. 5/- flute so readily available in the fairs, sports events, and religious conglomerations? If you celebrate Krishna Janamashtami, it is very unlikely you missed hearing that sound that picks some of your favorite tunes mixed with some bhajans that you enjoyed, perhaps in your childhood. Yes, we are talking about that bansuriwala who sells bamboo and plastic flutes at such places.
I have always been attracted to this sound and have tried my level-best to buy a flute almost always. However, now, as I moved up in my life, I realized how a flute or a bansuri is the only instrument that is sold by street hawkers. No other musical instrument (perhaps a very small sarangi, occasionally a tambourine/duff ) is sold on streets.
Why? My question is, why? Why does somebody not explore the idea of selling musical instruments on roads when nowadays, lots of youngsters try to buy musical instruments as compared to earlier times when music was considered as a pastime or a distraction by many?
Some of the answers that I can think about this issue are:
1. Both the size and price of musical instruments are not conducive to such type of business.
2. Musical instruments are bought on a trust basis–there’s an emotional connection with the product. If the vendor is not trustworthy (local), there are hard chances that consumers will like to spend money.
3. Unlike flute, other musical instruments might require repair, which consumers can get only from an established shop.
4. Kids like to play electronic instruments rather than traditional musical instruments, which lowers the prospect of business.
All these factors reduce the chances of musical instruments being sold without a shop. Share your thoughts if you feel there are some solutions to these problems.
(Photo was taken at Swaran Jyanti Park, Indrapuram, Ghaziabad)