Blog To market! To market! (HT Brunch - Sun Aug 22)

To market! To market! (HT Brunch - Sun Aug 22)

Posted by Author on in Blog 49

The Hindustan Times did a lovely story this weekend, on "Hidden Cities" - little known delights of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking Mignonne, the writer who covered the story, on a walking exploration of Bhuleshwar and Kalbadevi.

These vibrant areas of the city constantly surprise me - even when I think I know it all, they throw something new at me. This time, on the walk, it was a little signboard in Mangaldas Market, that said "Extra Gully".

Mangaldas Market is one of the largest wholesale fabric markets in this area - a somewhat addictive experience if, like me, you have a thing about fabrics. It is divided into little lanes, and each lane has a number that helps orient you in the maze. I've been there several times, but this was the first time I saw this little board - Mignonne pointed it out to me. An Extra Gully - a builder's quirk, perhaps, but firmly declaring its presence :) We are here too! say the shops in this lane! All you have to do is follow this arrow!

I had to squint up to look at the board. Hard to spot!

The sign is in English, Devnagri and Gujarati. By its very nature it reminds me of the multi-cultural mix of traders who have made this area their home. Muslim, Parsi, Hindu and Jain traders, all use the Gujarati script. Marathi-speaking dealers use Devnagri. English is commonly used by all these communities...notice that the word Extra is English; and so is the word Gully...that doesn't stop anyone from understanding it and writing it in whatever script they want!

On the walk, I also took Mignnone to one of my new favourites - a fantastic little bindi shop near the TBZ store, called Tanvi.

What fascinates me about this shop is how they constantly have new products. How does one innovate in something as simple as a bindi? Apparently, the possibilities are endless.

For example, I spotted this bright orange box amidst other bright boxes, and asked "What is it?" Kya hai? "Khol ke dekho madam", said the guy at the shop. Open it and see.

The box that caught my fancy

So I open it, and ta-da! It's a Bindi Wallet, with a little mirror on top for me to admire my forehead.

Given how expensive fancy bindis are, a wallet to keep them all in order is a practical idea, but what evokes my admiration is the design effort that has gone into making the wallet attractive and appealing. Clearly, this is designed so that it is perfect as a part of a bridal set, or maybe just a wonderful embellishment to a woman's dresser.

And if you find the bindi wallet too large to carry around, here's a tinier version, to slip into your purse :) Notice how the design is more no-nonsense, perhaps it is meant to appeal to the working woman of Bombay? :)

Go wow 'em at the office, girl!

And that's not all. The world of bindis extends beyond the forehead, to hair ornaments, anklets, tattoos for the arm and back...and all manner of body art.

Body art in every colour you can dream of

There are new designs every couple of months.

I see the stocks of bindis and tattoos constantly changing, and marvel at the design impetus behind it. It is the market itself that drives this design. The Indian woman - with her love for all things colourful, and her readiness to try new things - is at the heart of these products.

Photo of me which appeared in HT Brunch - at Tanvi Bindi Shop.

Tanvi is a wholesale shop, but you can see how the entire business is geared towards appealing to the women of the city. "Yeh chalega kya"? Will this work in the market? This is the single-minded question that drives all of Kalbadevi and Bhuleshwar into a frenzy of innovation and change. More power to this machine, then! May it thrive and prosper!

P.S. If you want to read the full article then it is here, with many interesting other tidbits about Bhuleshwar.

  1. Sudeep dube
    Dear Deepa,
    As you know quite a bit bout Mumbai markets, I was wondering if you could help me locate a place where I can buy a bobblehead (dancing head) Tanjore Dolls.
    Would Matunga/Dadar house any such shop selling these dancing dolls from Tami
    September 9, 2010
  2. Sunita
    Fantastic post and loved the article. I'm beginning to feel seriously deprived! Over 20 years in Mumbai and I still haven't been to the Mangaldas Market :(
    September 7, 2010
  3. rahul
    hi deepa. a wonderful blog you got there... just love the different colors of aamchi Mumbai very much.As you did for bindi shops, can you talk about mattresses infact review them.Actually I am looking for something reasonable for my home.Somebody told me
    September 4, 2010
  4. India Property
    Didn't know there is so much in Mumbai..all eyes now!
    September 2, 2010
  5. Haddock
    Had been to Crawford Market and the surrounding areas many times but as you said every time its a new discovery.
    This extra gully is something that I would like to take my wife next time.
    August 31, 2010
  6. Ananva
    Thanks Deepa! Seems pretty easy to get to. I did visit Crawford market and was floored by the huge sitaphals that you get there! They tasted really good too. Thanks again!!
    August 29, 2010
  7. Deepa Krishnan
    From Sion or Wadala, you take the straight road to VT. Before you hit VT, you will pass Crawford Market on the right. Everyone knows Crawford Market, so ask for it. Mangaldas Market is in the lane opposite Crawford Market. If you peep into that lane, you
    August 26, 2010
  8. Ananva
    Where exactly is Mangaldas Market? I came to Mumbai last year but no one in my family knew the exact location (after reading about it on your blog), so I missed it- we ventured near the tirupati temple in Mumbai, but I wish I had just asked you. Do you m
    August 26, 2010
  9. Vivek John Varghese
    hi..i am new to reading your blog. good to see someone constantly exploring ad doscovering newer things about Mumbai. i have been experiencing the same for the past three years and havent even reached quarter way i am sure. i had read the HT article too..
    August 25, 2010
  10. Vivek John Varghese
    hi..i am new to reading your blog. good to see someone constantly exploring ad doscovering newer things about Mumbai. i have been experiencing the same for the past three years and havent even reached quarter way i am sure. i had read the HT article too..
    August 25, 2010
  11. Anu Karthik
    This is so cool Deepa. So when can I get a tour :)
    August 25, 2010
  12. Bellybytes
    I love the way you find new "discoveries" in this old old city!
    August 25, 2010
  13. Bellybytes
    I love the way you find new "discoveries" in this old old city!
    August 25, 2010
  14. Anjali M
    fabulous..please take me on a tour too next time in BBY..will treat you to a great lunch! Anjali
    August 25, 2010
  15. Jitender Gyani
    Nice one
    August 25, 2010
  16. Anu
    I saw the article and your pic too, and thought of writing to you immediately, but then forgot as i got caught up with other stuff... but great going... and i loved the article... esp the bindi wallet! imagine living in bbay for over 30 years and not even
    August 25, 2010
  17. Anu
    I saw the article and your pic too, and thought of writing to you immediately, but then forgot as i got caught up with other stuff... but great going... and i loved the article... esp the bindi wallet! imagine living in bbay for over 30 years and not even
    August 25, 2010