For a city that never sleeps, here’s a poser: Where can you go in Mumbai for a late-night coffee and snack?
Other than a five-star hotel, illegal stall near a railway station or a vendor on a cycle selling coffee in plastic cups… nowhere.
You can’t even enjoy an ice-cream by the seaface post-midnight without being shooed away by policemen.
So, when new guardian minister Nawab Malik talks of weekend bazaar sans cars, Gothic heritage buildings and Art Deco precincts restored and lit up and an all-night food court, it sure seems worth a serious thought.
It’s time to revive old Mumbai, put some life back in the island city after office hours, draw those tourists. And a bustling late-evening hub could do just that.
“For the first time, the state is expanding the scope of heritage buildings. They are talking of reviving entire precincts and making them accessible to tourists,” said conservationist Abha Narain Lambah.
Malik’s proposal may be a little optimistic, but it’s not impossible.
The success of the plan is in working out niggling details — traffic solutions, security, coordination between the state and BMC. That’s where it could get derailed.
Similar plans have worked in India. Gangtok’s main market allows no cars in the evenings, after which it transforms into a mini cultural bazaar. Delhi has its more permanent, one-stop market for all Indian handicrafts, textiles, curios and food at Delhi Haat, a favourite with tourists. Ahmedabad showcases local handicraft at a dedicate street market.
There’s no reason it can’t happen in Mumbai.