Original shopping mall

Traditional market or original shopping mall?

While Shopping Malls are a recent shopping concept, I like to think that the world’s biggest shopping mall is the Bhuleshwar, Kalbadevi, Lohar Chawl Crawford Market area which literally has everything you could ask for right from a glass bead to a shower fitting all under one sky.  Each road with its narrow side lanes comprises of specialist shopping enclaves like the Thieves Market,  the Copper Market, the Wholesale vegetable and fruit market. The  Wholesale fabric market includes a lane dedicated to laces and the other to buttons and beads. In the Plastic market you get every kind of plastic container and furniture.  I love the Jewellery market too.  The area is crowded with people and wares, impossible to take your car into, with shop numbers and lanes with names that are hard to find this is still the best place to shop.
Since most of the shops are wholesalers, I don’t venture to this market more than once a month.

Revamping a 150-year-old Bathing Beauty

It all began with a 150-year-old copper vessel that belonged to my grandmother-in-law.

This traditional copper double handled basin was a common bathroom accessory in the olden days. Three generations of our family have bathed with it. Sadly though, this too is now obsolete. Like the brass bucket, it is relegated to a show piece. In our house, I use it to keep newspapers. However,  in some homes, the ghangal is used in a divine capacity for the daily bath of the household Gods. Hence it is still found in markets selling traditional pots and pans.

Was grandma gypped?

Grandmother-in-law knew lots of things about maintenance.

At 97,  she could read without spectacles, recognise people without prompting and eat with her own teeth. She attributed her good health to her disciplined lifestyle , ate freshly made good food and drank water from a copper vessel.

So I was surprised that the ring on which the “ghangal”  rested was made out of iron and not copper. How could she slip up and not realise that the ring wasn’t made of copper?!

Scared that the rusty ring was a potential source of Tetanus, I took it to Girgaum’s main road to size up a replacement.  I was shocked to find that several shops, formerly selling pots and pans had gone! They had morphed into mobile phone sellers, pastry shops and other stores unlikely to be seen in my grandmother’s time. I spotted an old man in a dusty, old shop who disdainfully dismissed me and the rusty ring with advice to return a week later as everyone was too busy watching the cricket matches for the World Cup!

I was even more determined to get it fixed as the ghangal was a family heirloom.

Tamba Kata or the Copper Weighing Scale

TAMBA KATA roughly translates as Copper Weighing Scale. At one time it was a Wholesale copper market where people bought pots and pans by the kilo. Officially known as Kalbadevi Road on a half kilometre stretch from Pydhonie to the Cotton Exchange, you can still buy pots and pans on weight. Shops of aluminium pots line up one side (at Kansara Chawl)  and copper, brass and stainless steel on the other. It is the perfect place to browse around for regular cooking pots and traditional vessels

Surprisingly, I found the ring in the very first shop. I made the transaction in minutes. After I paid Rs.650 for a copper ring 3″ wide and a diameter of 7″, I realised that this was at least 1000 times more than the original cost of the entire vessel!

Useful tips

  • it is worthwhile checking Commodity prices before venturing to this market.
  • most  shops don’t accept credit cards so take a stash of cash along if you intend making any purchase.
  • you can have your name  engraved on every kitchen utensil in the squiggly handwriting of Guejrati masquerading as English.

[ctt title=”Tamba Kata despite the heat and dust, is more fascinating than any mall and is definitely worth a visit.” tweet=”Tamba Kata despite the heat and dust, is more fascinating than any mall and is definitely worth a visit.” coverup=”gN8R_”]

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A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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