#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 Bigbasket.com, LocalBanya.com (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.
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