Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shopping at Mangaldas Market.

"The streets were packed with last-minute Christmas shoppers. The stores had slashed prices and harried salespeople were rushing to and fro trying to appease multiple shoppers at the same time. The thronging crowds and the steamy heat of the stores suddenly reminded Lucky of the Mangaldas fabric market and the raucous stalls on Fashion Street in Bombay. True they were different in appearance but the atmosphere was the same - the frantic impatience of the shoppers , the hurried, terse sales pitches, the general chaos." ( P.137)

Mangaldas Market is the largest indoor cloth and dress material market in Mumbai. There are hundreds of stalls where you can buy beautiful material from the finest silk saris to raw cotton. Open Monday to Saturday 11.30 am to 8 pm

While the convenience of shopping in an organised store cannot be denied, there is an undeniable charm of shopping in the local markets of Mumbai. Mangaldas Market, is one of the most fascinating wholesale textile markets I have visited. Right in the heart of this bustling city, the merchants have tiny stalls set up in a space which has textiles specific to the lane. Thus you have one end of the market where you can get furnishing fabrics, another where you get sarees, and another that specialises in "Uniform" material ( i.e. fabric for making uniforms for schools , policemen etc) , lanes which have "fancy material" for making fashionable garments for women, Shirting for men, undyed fabric, pure cotton, bales and bales of fabric almost every conceivable texture and count.
The shop keepers sit on mattresses, covered with clean white sheets, leaning against fat bolsters, and call out to you while you pass through the narrow lanes , " Sister, what you want? saree? dress material? " If you do happen to stop, they will tempt you with a hot cup of tea which is delivered by the tea boys running through the market, or a "cole drink" as they call any fizzy soda..........
One can literally spend hours in this fascinating maze of colour and organised chaos.

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