Bhendi Bazaar ki galliyon se: 2021 memory calendar and a hope-filled 2022

Hello Bazaaris! Hope you have your cup of chai and some khaari ready for the last charcha of 2021. After a rollercoaster of a ride that this year was, starting with some locals moving into their new abodes at Al-Saadah, to the second wave of the pandemic, slow reopening of the city and celebrating the festival spirit with more kindness at heart, we wanted to take the streets of Bhendi Bazaar to capture some of the most memorable moments from 2021- good, bad and hopeful. 

Our mohalla is sure known for its elaborate bazaars. For years Mumbaikars have been flooding the streets in search of antiques, fabrics, culinary indulgences, etc. This year, however, that came to some bit of a standstill because of the covid scare. If there is one thing that is absolutely true to say is that no virus could dampen the spirit of this mohalla. With some breaks in between, both the shoppers and shopkeepers returned to a somewhat normal world and brought back the bazaar shopping vibe. Starting with small talks over the lockdown in the new shops at Al-Saadah shopping centre, the bit that Bhendi Bazaar is known for – human connections, came back to life. Abedalibhai Contractor, a shop owner, said, “Iss saal ki sabse achi khabar thi ki lockdown hat gaya. 2020 ke lockdown main hum kaafi pareshaan hue the, par gharpe puri family ke saath safe the yeh important tha. Of course, because of lockdowns sab apney kaam ki shuruaat firse kar rahe hai and are growing in their own way. While the future is not something we can predict, we only hope for a better tomorrow.”

Khozen Mithaiwala, another shop owner, spoke of what he feels 2022 should look like and said, “Pichle doo saal have been tough for businesses but we feel lucky that we come under the food business and have managed to stay afloat. We hoped the virus to be left behind us in 2021 but we see news on omnicorn and how its affecting other countries so we don’t know what lies ahead of us. Is liye, we only hope that 2022 is better than the last two years for all”

Taher Patanwala, one of the residents, over a chai with our khabri shared, “ Everything went into lockdown as soon as we moved into our new homes at the start of 2022. Everything was new for us, we took time to get accustomed to the new neighbours but alhamdulillah with time it all fell in place and we are now enjoying ourselves here. It again feels like we are a part of a larger community, living in a much safer place. True to the closeness our mohalla is known for, we have found back our social life with the round of activities organised here and the constant buzz of kids happily playing in the gardens. I hope the situation with street hawkers and the traffic gets better.”

Just like every bazaari said, we, too, are looking forward to a lively Bhendi Bazaar in 2022. Our gallis are always filled with stories and next year our promise will be to bring to you all of those right in time. Meanwhile, we wish you all a safe and happy start to a new year!

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