In the Mughal era, a visit to Meena Bazaar accounted as a day of joy; famous for traditional clothes and accessories for women along with mesmerized decorations and a whole-lot-of laughter and fun.
A miniature of the same shown on this page, flourishes us in excitement on seeing a flower seller who has put her stall for the first time on that day in the ancient white structured shop; she has a full stock of colorful flowers of all varieties- bouquets wrapped in paper, placed beautifully in various shapes and sizes of pots, some hanging on the roof while others are hung or piled up in a weaved garland.
The vibrant beauty of flowers and their sweet fragrance catches the attention of the dasis, who come running towards the damsels, all dressed up in usual elegant attires, to purchase flowers either to decorate their homes or to adorn themselves in flower jewellery and gajra to lure their lovers. The consciously happy and calm expressions of the sellers fill them in ecstasy and love to have a happy flower shopping.
This colorful mural is framed in a contrasting deep golden ancient border and bright gold flower patches giving an essence of the historic era.
For obtaining greater space the shop has been divided into various tiers. Flowers arranged in baskets have been hung with the ceiling. The space on both sides in between the baskets has been negotiated with bunches of garlands. Around the shop's mid-height have been created two platforms and a stand. On the stand have been displayed different sets of garlands having larger size; and, on the upper platform lay three golden pots with flowers in them, and on either side a circular flower-fan. Other flower-pots larger in size and variously designed, have been arranged on the lower platform. Aligned to it is another stand with garlands of smaller size. With a huge mass of garlands around, shop's proprietor is seated on a simple but elegant carpet and is showing a garland to her buyers while her assistant, though their conversation has distracted her attention, is engaged in stringing flowers for preparing more garlands. She is seated on the subdued part of the floor with a heap of loose flowers in her front and two baskets adjacent to them for depositing the garlands that she prepared. The two buyers in all probabilities, the maids of the royal harem, on the right being perhaps the senior one, are discussing the merit of the garland, which the shop's proprietor has shown, in context to the purpose for which they were buying it, or what they were ordered to bring. In her attempt to know what exactly the two buyers want the shop-keeper is listening to them with full attention. Elegantly bejewelled, all four women are attired in lehangas petticoat-like long skirts, odhanis an unstitched large sash-like upper coverings, and cholis short blouses. Not exactly contrasting, the artist has used for each garment a different colour. As beautiful and delicate as flowers are the colourfully garbed young damsels. Sharpe-featured and brimming with vigour of youthfulness, theirs is the glow, whatever their rank maids or mistresses.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.
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