Mumbai Diary, Opinions

#GratitudeCircle- Farewell my local Banya

It’s time once again when we count our blessings for what we have. This week when the local banya told me that he was going to shut shop, I felt a sense of impending loss and I realised how lucky I was all these years to have someone just a phone call away to save me from a domestic disaster.

Indeed, one of the blessings of living in Mumbai is the homedelivery service offered by most vendors. I am grateful to all those who make shopping for my daily needs an easy task and ensure that my table is always full and my family truly happy!

  • Namdeo the bhajiwalla from Bhaji Gully who is robbing me blind but still delivers my fruit and vegetables
  • Pesca fresh who have made shopping for fish a thing of the past
  • My dhobi who brings in freshly ironed clothes every day
  • My chemist ( Noble ) who delivers even dental floss on Sunday evening
  • Celejor who delivers the yummiest chocolate cake

Today I’d like to acknowledge the role of my regular grocer and thank him for helping me run my household smoothly all these years.

For many of you ‘Banya‘ may seem like pure gibberish, a misspelt word or something simply unknown, but to me, the local Banya has been the mainstay of my household for the past 33 years and twenty five years before that while my mother in law ran the house. Indeed, there must be at least a hundred households in Peddar Road and its bylanes who depend on this neighbourhood grocer to promptly deliver anything you ask for – right from chilled coke (totally unnecessary) to sliced bread (very important in the morning).

Bhimshi Vershi, a small little hole in the wall of a shop surprisingly stocked a wide variety of goods, a range unmatched by even the huge online stores like, (which I frequently buy from) , GreenCart( which I occasionally patronise) , Nature’s basket, Reliance fresh ( which I NEVER buy from) and a host of other portals who claim to sell you everything you could ever want.

 Dineshbhai, Popatbhai, Shantibhai and Rameshbhai ( from left to right)

I spoke to Dinesh Chheda one of the four sons of Bhimshi Vershi the original owner of the shop who came to Bombay as an 11 year old from Kutch to work in his uncle’s (mama) establishment. Predictably, this hard working lad bought out his Uncle and set up the store my girls used to fondly refer to as vanya. I can’t recall the number of times he’s come to my rescue with the yummiest home made dhokla to make an ordinary meal special for the unplanned dinner guest , the ice cool lolly stick that I could pick up secretly on my way home from a walk, the pencil torch cells, the light bulbs that I remember to buy just as the sun is setting, the ball pens for exams , the safety pins and sewing thread – why he even kept Printer paper and gift boxes of chocolate or biscuit that I could pick up as a last minute offering to anyone I was visiting.

When Dineshbhai,the youngest of the quartet informed me that this was their last week in business, I was aghast. I immediately went down and asked him why. Shantibhai, the eldest of the lot explained that at 70 he was too old to work anymore. Besides none of their children were interested in the business with most of them working regular 9-5 jobs,the daughters married and well settled and some still studying in school. Popatbhai and Rameshbhai stood on quietly while Shantibhai said that he planned to concentrate on his charitable 200 bed hospital in his village near Mandvi in Bhuj ( made famous by the earthquake of 2001. Every January, Shantibhai and his wife set up a 250 bedded hospital under a tent where they have eye camps, weight loss programs and all kinds of medical treatment all for free and treated by the best doctors  all voluntarily with many of them coming from USA. Shantibhai wants to do social work full time especially since his son has now established a small travel agency and is self-sufficient.

Besides, DineshBhai who mans the telephone which he is in a crazy rush to put down while you order, explained to me that [tweetthis]shrinking margins and increasing taxes are slowly edging out small retailers[/tweetthis] who have to give their customers a month’s credit while they themselves are only given a week by the distributors and wholesalers of large companies. To make matters worse, manpower for free deliveries is getting scarce and above all, a high rental income as compared to a 14 hour slog makes it more worth their while to live off the rent rather than slave away for a pittance.

So from the end of this week I won’t be stopping at Bhinshi Vershi anymore even though the shop will re-open after a month under the ownership of his cousin operating a similar business on Altamount Road. Shantibhai has assured me that the service will be the same though I doubt the new management will offer me  free weight management tips ( yes, Shantibhai once saw me walking and he told me that I should eat fresh water chestnuts to speed up my metabolism and lose weight faster) and come home to deliver just a box of matches.

We all have a host of things to be grateful for; join me and others in Write Tribe’s #GratitudeCircle where other bloggers share the things they have to be grateful for in the month of August

Author: Unishta

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!


  1. Oh yes! We miss our Tejani in Bandra after we’ve shifted here! What a lovely thing they’re doing with the charitable work though, Usha.
    Thank you for joining our gratitude circle this month and adding your most meaningful post!

    PS: Water chestnuts? Hmmm..interesting!
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Living A Life of GratitudeMy Profile

  2. Thanks for joining us on the Gratitude Circle bloghop, Sunita. I understand how you feel! I am still mourning the loss of a local store that had a terrific staff and closed three years ago. Sigh. Some people make such a difference in our lives in so many ways. 🙂
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Happiness Happens #GratitudeMy Profile

    1. Yes we often take things for granted so it’s good to acknowledge one’s blessings from time to time

    1. The good thing though is that it has forced me to be more organised. I have to plan my menus in advance so that I don’t run out of ingredients.

  3. So nice and interesting post…. its truly a blessing to have people who are of service to us. I know its painful to bid goodbye, when we get so accustomed to the lovely people around us… I felt gratitude to all those people in my life… thanks for this lovely post.
    G Angela recently posted…Gratitude Link up for October, 2015My Profile

    1. Indeed there are so many things we take for granted and only appreciate them when they’ve gone!

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