A Portrait of Bhaji Gully

by Sukruti Anah

The Bombay winter sun has barely risen. The sleepy streets stretch and  sprawl in an honest attempt to wake up. The early boys are all wrapped up in their dreams, engrossed in their own little worlds, unaware of the noisy school-going children or ringing bicycles. A small fire illuminates the indigo chill, while the rough bristles of the old broom scraping the stained pavements suddenly eclipses the din.

Gradually the empty baskets and stands are loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. Shutters are pulled up to reveal overflowing shops and stalls, filled with buttons, ribbons and other bits and bobs. The men and women drowsily arrange and rearrange their goods, in solemn preparation for another great day of trade.

This is a portrait of Bhaji Gully (meaning vegetable market).

This market, which evolved during the 1930s flooded an entire street with the freshest of fruits, vegetables and everything else. Let me take you a for walk with the people who make it what it is today, the men and women who stand and fight against multi-national giant brand names, supermarkets and even online grocers. Surrounded by the only life they know and the by-lanes they call home, they drown in a cacophonous symphony of trade, everyday.

Except Sundays, of course.

Bhaji Gully, Grant Road, Mumbai

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