|Classic street shopping|
“250 ka? Kya bhaiya hamesha ka customer ke saath aisa karoge? Reasonable rate kardo, 100 mein de do!” Sounds familiar? Have you heard yourself speak these words to the street shop owner with authority and élan and managed to bag a bargain yet again? Then welcome to a delightful experience of shopping on the streets!
Street shopping gives such an adrenaline rush which any other adventure fails to match up with.
Our generation has thrived shopping on the streets of Mumbai. The main haunts were Linking Road, Hill Road, Colaba Causeway and Fashion Street (famously called FS). I remember carrying 1,000 rupees in my pocket during my college days and shopping for the next 6 months in these streets. Ah! Good times!!
|Inorbit mall - Vashi|
And then one day big, wonderful looking, glass paned malls came and voila our attention and loyalties were diverted instantly. Taken in by the beauty and charm of the malls we spent almost all of our free time in these malls, until the shops shut down and we were practically shoved out of the mall.
Picture this. Today, a typical Saturday or Sunday evening goes like this – go for a movie at the multiplex in one of these malls, come out having ridiculously priced popcorns & samosas, do a little window shopping before we reach the right product at the right price and place (waiting at the never-ending trial room queue and then at the bill counter), end it with a dinner usually at McDonalds or Dominoes (after a fight for the table and chair as half the population of Mumbai is jammed in here) and go back home with a lesser weighing pocket and even lesser satisfaction.
|Colaba Causeway in Mumbai|
Gone are the days when we sweated it out on the streets buying stuff from almost every shop (since every shop had something unique and priced low), take a break and have a sugarcane juice from a corner shop, go back to shop some more, break for lunch (which mostly consisted of sandwiches and dosas from another street vendor), rest, shop, stroll, shop, drink, shop, and finally go through all the shops once more to make sure you haven’t missed out anything before taking a train back home.
After our fight for a window seat we settle down and go through all our purchases which are haphazardly thrust into plastic bags (it was legal then :-D) and compare stuff until the entire compartment is clued onto your exhibition.
|Shopping in groups is fun!|
These shopping excursions were usually taken by a group of girls/boys. So it was fun and excitement on the one hand and it proved to be useful taking in loads of advises before we zero in on any purchase.
We still recall how a particular girl in college wore a similar T-shirt we bought from these streets and swearing never to wear them again, how we regret not buying a bag which was quite cool and we had extinguished all our cash and had to return without it, how we loaned each other so that a friend could buy a sandal she was eyeing and longed for, how a firang or a new-to-street-shopping girl had to shell out 500 bucks for the same skirt you purchased for a mere 150 rupees.
It was total fun and showed the spirit of shopping together, spending time with friends and made for some memorable picture to reminisce down the years.
Street shopping, I assume, is one of the best memories of being in college and it prepared us to be decision makers early in our life (what with deciding which color of the same T-shirt looks good or which bag will match your recent purchase of cute mojaris :P).
Hope to continue this legacy of shopping and to make our road side vendors or ‘bhaiya’s’ (as they are fondly addressed) a little more rich!
So where will you be this weekend?