The music at Navratri pandals stops at 10pm, but the party doesn’t end. It just moves to famous eateries nearby.
In Ghatkopar, the next stop after numerous rounds of garba and dandiya is pav bhaji joint, Achija.
“People come here to complete the Navratri tradition. First dance with family and friends and then head here to satisfy their hunger,” said Raj Gopal, manager of Achija, who hires extra staff to manage a crowd of 300 people each night during the festive season.
While these eateries draw a larger crowd than a usual weekday, for others the response hasn’t been the same as last year.
“Last year, during the Navratri weekend, we had around 300 cars waiting outside. This year, there were only 25 cars during the two hours after the pandals shut. There are fewer people because Falguni Pathak is not performing in Mumbai this year,” said Manjunath Pujari, manager of Amar Juice Centre at Juhu.
He is hoping next weekend will see a lot more people both at the pandal and his juice centre, which is famous for its pav bhaji.
While families are seen at these eateries gorging on pav-bhaji, chaat and juices, youngsters have their own choice. They throng their favourite weekend hangouts.
“Along with the usual crowd, youngsters are now coming in from Navratri pandals. We have special requests for Jain mini-meals along with the usual hookahs,” said Mangesh Phanke, manager of Timbuctoo in Mulund.
It is not just food that is drawing people here. “With loudspeakers not playing after 10pm, the crowd has nowhere to go. Along with friends and family, it is fun to discuss the time we had at the pandal and plan for the next day — all over delicious food,” said Priyal Vora, a 23-year-old resident of Mulund.