Fasting followed by feasting atBhendi Bazaar
Ramzan is a time for fasting. Ironically, it is a time when foodies descend on the lanes and bylanes of Bhendi Bazar to savour the most tasty offerings sold after Iftar.
The choicest of sheek and shami kababs, bheja fries, gurda kapuras, chicken tikkas, mutton chops and kheemas, etc, are available. All freshly made right in front of your eyes. You have to literally push your way through the huge crowds that clog the roads during the holy month.
The smell of attars from Lucknow fills the air. For those with sweet tooth, there are malpuas, phirnis, shahi tukdas, gulab jamuns, faloodas, mango and chikoo milkshakes. Of course, the choicest of meetha and magai paans are available late into the night.
The mosques are brightly lit and everyone is in a festive mood. Unfortunately, the Chinese fever has caught up with the Ramzan spirit as well. So you have stalls selling chicken fried rice with schezwan sauce, chicken burgers with soya sauce et al. Habib miya, a local resident, said: “The young generation prefers Chinese stuff. It doesn’t know what it is missing.”
Rendering quiet service to Mumbai’s communities
Manoj Gandhi is a lawyer by profession. But the thing that makes him the happiest is helping the poor. He is a volunteer of Gunj, a large NGO that collects old clothes, footwear, furnishing material, etc, and recycles them.
A resident of Ghatkopar, Gandhi helps collect these used stuff and sends them in a tempo to Gunj’s main centre in Mira Road where the goods are reconditioned or recycled and given out to the needy. Rags of cloth are cleaned thoroughly and converted to sanitary pads for use by the rural folks.Gandhi’s father was a solicitor and social worker of Ghatkopar who died in an air crash. Gandhi pays tributes to him by continuing his tradition of social work.
After his father’s demise, Gandhi’s mother went into depression. He realised there were patients like her who do not get adequate psychiatric counselling. So he formed an NGO that organised interactions between psychiatrists and patients at Antonio D’Silva High School in Dadar. He later formed another NGO that provides a platform to bring together doctors and philanthropists and needy people. These are gems of Mumbai who render silent service to the community.
SEEKING THE BLESSINGS OF THE GODDESS
Devotees throng the Mumbadevi Temple in Mumbai on the occasion of Chaitra Navratri to have a darshan of Goddess Mumbadevi | Swapnil Sakhare/ FPJ
A vegetable vendor and Bollywood aficionado
Meet Rahul Kumar Yadav, the immensely popular vegetable vendor of N Dutta Marg, Four Bungalows, Andheri West. Rahul is 26 and hails from Siddharth Nagar, UP. He is a graduate and besides Hindi, he can read and write Urdu effortlessly; speaks broken English too. He has acted as a lead artist in a number of mythological plays, including the famous Ram Leela, and even now he remembers and rattles off the dialogues of the various characters with consummate ease.
He is an avid movie buff but he watches only vintage films (1930s to the 1970s) and sings only old songs with great passion and without resorting to written lyrics. He has watched films, including Pukar (1939) and Tansen (1943) to Sangram, Afsana, Mirza Ghalib, etc, of the 1950s to several romantic musicals and costume dramas of the 1960s and 1970s. You name an actor, and he will recall immediately at least 10 songs filmed on him or her and start singing one after another; at times with an analysis of the lyrics and the situation, the make up and costumes worn by the actors.
Yadav attributes his fondness for vintage songs to Manohar Iyer’s Keep Alive music programmes that he used to attend at the Bhaidas Hall, Vile Parle. He writes lyrics in Bhojpuri, gets the music and arrangements done professionally, records them in a studio and shoots the videos with budding artists available in UP. Recently, he started learning to play the harmonium too. He has his own YouTube channel with around 3,500 subscribers and 4,850 Facebook followers.
He is very popular among the residents of Four Bungalows area and several celebrities, including Hitendra Ghosh (veteran sound recordist), Lalit Pandit (of Jatin-Lalit duo) and Chandrani Mukherji (playback singer). He celebrates his birthdays by distributing samosas and pens to poor students. Hope one day he will make it big.
Compiled by S Balakrishnan
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