Estimates peg their number to be over two lakhs. Spread across the city, they give us unbelievable bargains and add to our shopping convenience.
Meet the hawkers:
A bunch of thriving roadside vendors are the second hand booksellers in Matunga (E), Churchgate and Juhu. D Vishwanath , for example, sits just opposite My sore Café, Matunga (E). He gets his stock of books from libraries as well as enthusiasts who read books once and then throw them away.
Mega Maker, BPO employee, is among the many enthusiasts who likes buying books from these roadside vendors, as the costs are much lower as compared to bookstalls.
She has fixed vendors there who sell books at a reduced rate, as she is a regular customer. “I can afford to spend only Rs 300 on books so these guys are my solace.” Her last purchase was Brida by Paul Coelho. At Rs 85, she considers it a steal.
Scrap is beautiful
Old is gold.. especially if you happen to be a raddiwala living in Mumbai. Mushrooming across the city, most are moving with the times and have regular customers whose demands they cater to. Novelty Art Corner, a raddiwala located just beyond Sahyadri, Malabar Hill, is zara hatke. Instead of newspapers, empty cans and a weighing scale, his shop is filled with chandeliers, hookahs and furnitures of eras gone by.
The shop has been around for 25 years and has a regular clientele of antique buyers. The owner, who did not wish to be named, says that they are sourced from diplomats and expatriates who give them away just before leaving the city.
Rummage long enough and you may literally strike gold in the form of a rare painting or a chandelier that may have once belonged to royalty. Costs range from a few hundreds to a few lakhs depending on the product.
Areas like Dadar, Bandra, Kandivli and Andheri are considered fashion shoppers’ paradise frequented by Mumbaikars as well as out of towners. In fact, Fashion Street is a part of the Mumbai Darshan tour. The city’s fashion lovers vouch for its trendy apparel and accessories as well as the affordable prices and decent quality products.
Suraj Dhawan, one such hawker selling belts, shoes and accessories from his fold-up bag, says, “We are the fashion gate-keepers of the city.”
Hawkers on Linking Road are available on their cell phones for special orders from regular clients. It also means free home delivery, but only for a select few, and if the order is large enough.
Famous for their delectable dishes, these sellers are synonymous with the food they sell. A clampdown by the BMC on outdoor cooking too didn’t dampen their spirits. The many khau gallis in the city continue to thrive despite the ban.
Ramakant, who owns a vada-pav stall in Dadar (E) feels that it is the street food that personifies the city’s spirit. “So long as the middle class and lower middle class are fed, the city will work smoothly,” he says.