Dadar Flower Market

If you are up even before dawn in Bombay, you may want to do something different for change. Skip the jog for one morning in the sparse green belts and head out to THE flower market. If you pay a visit to Bombay’s flower market in Dadar, you will soon realize besides the riot of colours and freshness of petals and dew how much money you land up paying for a nicely packaged bouquet of flowers viz a vis flowers brought straight off the road and creatively packaged yourself!:)

This phul market in Dadar is a temporary market that comes alive at 4 am and disappears by 9 am. Traders display their offerings during this time when retailers and decorators, and some customers who want flowers for their personal use, come to stock up for their own customers. There are times I've seen the municipality officials arriving with those large ugly grey vans and the street vendors fleeing with their wares and flowers.

There are flowers everywhere. Marigolds heaped on tarpaulins on the ground and sold by weight, champa in tiny baskets and sold by the number and delicately wrapped in broad leaves, the dazzling orchids and gardenias, as well as the colour co-ordinated gajras of mesmerizing blooms, the cacophony of the sellers and buyers screaming and jostling all contributes to a spectacular audio visual symphony. It is a unique delightful experience for the brave hearted.

The accompanying smiles on the flower sellers faces early morning lingers in the mind. From the woman sitting cross-legged on the ground weaving busily, to the young men weighing the flowers, the older gentleman convincing you to buy the garlands, to the young lady with matted hair selling fragrant lotuses - they all have beaming smiles on their faces.

They probably wakeup very, very early in the morning to be here to sell the flowers (we got there around 7:30 am). Their sales probably determined what they ate for dinner, or if they went hungry. I would cringe whenever I would hear someone bargain for a few rupees. Many a times it appeared, that their whole life belongings were right there in that little jholi by their feet, yet their grace and joy with the world, came through loud and clear. A lovely experience - this market.


North India winters

In Punjab its cold and brrrrr at this time of the year. Very cold.

Open fields. Sarson in full bloom and o boy! It is a sight for sore urban eyes. A town that is bursting at its seams , the bullock cart and the sedan both jostling for space on the same over crowded market road, the havelis almost touching its neighbors walls on its 3 sides. The warm sun trickling into the courtyard in the center of the haveli and the charpais being laid out to sun ourselves. Hot paranthas being served with a tall glass of warm milk and ghee, breakfast and conversations and the entire extended family together over a weekend. Can be heart warming and so very different from my daily city life.

Days later drive into Delhi , struggling with the onslaught of city population and urbanization. Smell of food, and CO2 emissions mixing together to cause nausea. Not withstanding the onslaught, making our way to the tiny lanes of old Delhi to eat Dalebe’s hot ghee soaked jalebis. And Lohrilals aloo rasewala and kulchas. No place for the driver to park the car, so double park it brazenly and invite him to eat along. Or better still have him served in the car while we stand amongst the many others rubbing shoulders with all socio economic classes to get the soul food.

Making our way past Janpath (my mums maternal home), I cant help but reflect on the summer days in Delhi when we used to sleep under the open skies in the garden lawns. We were in class 6, 7, and 8 then. There was no light, sound or other pollution at that time. By 10pm we would be done with dinner and all would move to the well laid out khatayis beckoning us in the gardens. I remember initially as a city slicker I was way too afraid to sleep in the open lawns as my cousin would have my back up with stories of she devils living on those trees that looked down on me as I lay on the cot in the open air. Eyes squeezed tightly shut, having moved my cot closer to mum n dads, I would slowly feel my lids becoming heavy with sleep .The universe was there to comprehend in all it's fairy tale glory. The stars and the moon would create a magical world for us glistening at arms length. I would search for the rabbit inside the moon and spot it without fail every night as I’d lie on the cot in the garden by night.

In those days we would travel as a big family from Bombay by train to Delhi and the journey in itself was a huge holiday. Packed with food and chocolates and water flasks and tea thermos’s. The added zing to the journey was the many stations where the train would stop we'd alight and then jump back on promptly in case the train started and left us behind! And of course my parents delight drinking tea in those beautiful kulhads at some railway stations en route to Delhi, my mum buying Surahi’s by the dozen because she was fascinated with these earthen wares for drinking water that tasted like straight from earth- pure and clean and then lugging it back to Bombay! Simplicity had a different meaning then:)


Well you know you are in Bandra when

--When you are stuck in a jam simply because a vehicle ahead wants to take a U-turn in a galli so narrow, even Adnan Sami would think twice before walking in.

-- When no matter how cold or warm and the traffic snarl up a little beyond Elco market is cramping your ankles, a lady is manning the traffic junction so effortlessly that if you ever try to hoodwink her, her whistle will surely deafen you or partially maim you

--When a 5 rupee brun maska is simply renamed ‘bagel’ and sold for 175 rupees.

-- When you see a random biker clearing the road at bandstand at 2am because Sallu wants to ride his Hayabusa without landing up in court

-- You are standing outside Crepe Station, but feel you have arrived at Baga beach

-- When 2 or more consecutive gallis you want to drive through are either one way or no-entry

-- When the birdy dance music reaches your ears you know a wedding is taking place and the spirits are high in St Josephs cathedral hall or Stanisluaz school.

-- When Bob can mend any of those gorgeous old designer jeans of mine and have me fit back into them, voila!

--When Andoras or Hearsch's are running full house on rum balls and plum cake and mutton patty;s and mince pies & merry songs are jostling for decibel levels with the jam packed bodies in a tiny 5 x 5 space of the bakeries

--When the shoes and the bags and accessory shops are spilling over and the road traffic is reduced to a one lane on the main roads!

Sigh,Bandra! Am not sure, am happy out of it:) or sad out of it:)