Come evening.. and Juhu Beach is a sea of humanity. The place has been a favourite among tourists and locals alike since the British rule. It was then that the British, understanding the maximum proximity of the Mumbai city and the coastline, decided to make the area into a hub of pleasure seekers escaping from the tiring city life.
Not much has changed since. Apart from the usual beach activities, there are exciting beach sport and entertainment options to avail from.. cricket and football on the sands being the most sought after.
On a roll
The donkey rides, acrobats, horse and pony rides and toy sellers too are a common sight, especially on the weekends. One can also jog along the beach or go for a spin in a tiny rented boat.
For the foodies, there’s local food like the bhel puri, vada pav, pav bhaji and batata vada that grabs attention. The recently opened food court ensures that the service is quick and efficient. The kulfi, coated with dry fruits and nuts, is a favourite during the summers.
Chinese wares are the ‘in’ thing here these days but small home-made toys and other indigenous Indian artefacts too catch the eye.. and add local flavour. Dotted among them are five feet tall machines.. with glittering red lights by the side. The funky looking equipment is in fact a weighing machine and very much in demand among the 50-odd operators located outside the Juhu Beach food court.
These weighing scales cost up to Rs 15,000 and are available at Mumbai’s top markets.. Grant Road being the preferred destination to shop. Most operators on Juhu Beach, though, prefer renting them. Kailash, who has been at the same spot since nearly five years, says, “Trends keep changing and such a huge investment is risky.”
Weigh me not
The operators at Juhu Beach had to go in for newer models after someone in their midst opted for this version. Kailash says, “We weren’t getting customers as they were attracted towards the new versions. So we had no other choice but to follow the crowd.”
Step on to these machines for a nominal charge of Rs 10 and a booming sound emanates telling the customer his or her exact weight. Following the declaration, the customer also gets a personalised astro forecast. The voice behind the forecast too varies.
While most operators go in for a voiceover that comes readily available in the market along with the machines for a small sum, some opt for professionals. Vijay, another operator, says, “ We get small time voiceover artistes to dub for us. It’s a small, one -time investment.”
He says that a unique voice grabs attention in a crowd and one can make as much as Rs 300 over one’s immediate rival. “There is a guy a little bit ahead who has managed to get the voice over of Amitabh Bachchan. Right now, he is making the money. But sooner or later my time will come.” We hope so too.