A profusion of colours , textures and textiles, Mumbai’s Mangaldas Market is the fabric lovers’ paradise. Every day, hundreds of merchants from all over the country come to this wholesale old fashioned markets. As you make your way past the main road, touts will ask you if you want “sarees, nice, polyester, silk” droning endlessly even as you ignore them.
Entering the market, you are assailed by a riot of colours……as pile upon pile of fabric, neatly folded like the stack of linen above catches your eye….
My favourite seller of shawls and stoles “Kamlesh” in the 5th lane always has the latest ( or at least he calls them the latest) designs and is ever willing to patiently show you shawl after shawl till eventually you get confused with the designs spilling one into the other – each one better than the other.
Pure cotton pieces of printed fabric which will be made into “salvar Kameezes” by designers both professional and amateur alike. With 9 lanes of market, with each lane specialising in a fabric or variety, most stalls still have mattresses with crisp covered white sheets on which merchants display their captivating wares bale after bale.
N Chandrakant at the back of the market specialises in cotton fabric – so crisp and fine that it is sought after by designers like Ralph Lauren ( so he says) and Arrow.
This fascinating market where the lanes are so narrow that the shoppers from one shop are bumping into the shoppers at the next. Where you have to make your way through draped fabric flapping into your face as you try to make way for the gaggle of ladies coming from the opposite side. Where you can easily drape the fabric on you and ask a passer by for her comments on whether the colour suits you or not. Where the shop keeper is keen on settling the deal by offering you a hot cup of chai from the tea boy who wanders around………
Now why would I want to buy in a clean aseptic mall?