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Chapter 15
From Market to Home

A family is sorting vegetables from baskets and bags.

Day at night!

My name is Vaishali. My father is a vegetable-seller. My whole family - Amma, Bhaiya, Chhotu and I, help him with his work. Can you guess at what time we begin our work? At 3 o’clock in the morning. When most people are fast asleep, we start our work. Our day’s work begins when Babuji, Amma, Bhaiya and I take out the previous day’s vegetables from the gunny bags and baskets. This is to prepare for bringing the fresh vegetables from the mandi. Sometimes Chhotu also helps us.

As we finish doing this and are having some tea, we hear the horn of the tempo. It is time for Babuji, Bhaiya, Chachu (uncle) and some others from our street to leave for the mandi.

  • Does anyone in your house have to get up very early? What time does he or she get up? Why do they need to get up so early?

Preparing for the Day

A woman with children is arranging vegetables on the floor.

While Babuji is away, Amma, Chhotu and I put the previous day’s vegetables on gunny bags, and sprinkle some water on them. By 6.30 a.m. Babuji is back from the mandi with baskets and sacks full of fresh vegetables. At that time our house looks more like a small vegetable market! There are brinjals, potatoes, tomatoes, okra (Bhindi), pumpkin, gourds, chillies and many other vegetables all around. Everybody helps in sorting the vegetables. The vegetables which are not fully ripe and ready to sell are kept aside. We have to sort the vegetables fast, so as to reach the bazaar as early as possible.

For the teacher: Discuss the role of vegetable mandi with the students.

A vegetable vendor.

By 7 o’clock, Babuji arranges all the vegetables on the handcart and leaves for the bazaar. He says that if he is late, then his regular buyers may buy their vegetables from someone else. As soon as Babuji leaves, I quickly get ready as I have to reach school by 7.30 a.m.

A school boy waving hand to the vegetable vendor.

In the Bazaar

Chhotu attends school in the afternoon. He rests for a while and goes to the bazaar later with food for Babuji and Bhaiya. He stays with them at the vegetable cart, until it is time for him to go to school. Sometimes he goes back after school to help Babuji. Babuji tries to see that the previous day’s vegetables are sold first.

Let us talk

  • Babuji sells the previous day’s vegetables first. Why do you think he does this?

  • Have you seen dried or spoilt vegetables? Where?

  • How did you know that the vegetables were spoilt?

  • Chhotu is helping his family. What do you think Chhotu has learnt from it?

  • How do you help the elders in your family?

As the previous day’s vegetables get sold, Bhaiya takes out fresh vegetables from the sacks and puts them in the cart. He also keeps sprinkling water on the vegetables so that they do not dry up, especially in summers. Babuji and Bhaiya return home, after a long day, only around 10 o’clock at night. By then Chhotu and I are asleep. Everyone else sleeps around 11 or 11.30 at night. And at 3 o’clock next morning – only four hours later – our family is up again. Another day has begun!

● Look at the clocks given below. Write what you do, and what Vaishali does, at the time which the clocks are showing.

Clock showing 3 o'clock
Clock showing 6 o'clock
Clock showing 10 o' clock
Morning Morning Night
  • From where do you get vegetables for your home? Who brings the vegetables?

For the teacher: Care may be taken to sensitise children to help the family and people around without encouraging child labour.

Some fun with vegetables

The next time when you get okra (Bhindi) at home, look at them carefully. Are all of them the same size?

  • Find the longest and the shortest one. Measure them.

  • Do all the okra (Bhindi) have the same thickness and colour? Cut two okra (Bhindi) lengthwise. Do both of them have the same number of seeds? Draw them in your notebook.

  • Seema’s mother has brought some fruits and vegetables from the market. Can you find them in this picture? Colour them and write their names alongside.

Different types of vegetables.

Find out

● Given here is a list of vegetables and fruits. Which of these will spoil earlier, and which will stay for some days? Write the names in the correct column. You can add more names in the list.

Spinach, Potato, Banana, Tomato, Pear, Chikoo, Pineapple, Gourd, Onion, Cabbage, Cucumber, Grapes, Ginger.

Fruits and vegetables that spoil quickly

Fruits and vegetables that spoil quickly

Some of these fruits and vegetables are smooth to touch while some are rough. From the list above, put the names in the correct column.



  • Which vegetable do you find the heaviest to carry? Write its name and draw its picture in your notebook.

  • Which is the lightest fruit or vegetable that you have eaten? Write its name and draw the picture in your notebook.

  • Write names of three vegetables which do not have seeds. _____

Fill in the table given below. You can add three more names and fill in the table.

Colour Length Weight Price
Apple (½ kilo)
Banana (1 dozen)
Potato (½ kilo)

  • Talk with a vegetable-seller in your area. Ask the following questions and make a brief report in the notebook.

    • What is his or her name?

    • How many people are there in his or her house? How many children are there at home?

    • What are the names of the children? How old are they?

    • Who all help in the work of selling vegetables?

  • Who all stay with the vegetable cart or sit in the shop?

  • What vegetables do they sell?

  • What time do they start work?

  • For how many hours in a day do they work?

  • Ask them about any three vegetables that they sell.

Vegetable 1 Vegetable 2 Vegetable 3
Name of the
The price of
the vegetable
Where does it
come from?
How much of the vegetable
do they buy at one time?
In which months does
this vegetable usually come?