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   One of the pleasures of Sunday mornings is going to the Grant Road Market. (October 9, 1998)

Outside Crawford (Mahatma Phule), it is the most composite market in town. Sassoon Dock and Khar-Dhanda may have better fish, Null Bazar better meat, and Byculla better and greener vegetables, but Grant Road has all these together, and of good standard.I used to go by train from Churchgate, get down at Grant Road station and walk, and return the same way. Now I take the car, via Nana Chowk, park opposite Novelty Cinema, and enter the market through the narrow lane between buildings. Inside, the market sprawls out in various blocks, and yet is conveniently located so that one section leads into another.At the entrance, there is a stall selling jute market bags, conveniently placed for the forgetful marketgoer who forgets to bring his thela along. At one stage, I found I had a large collection of them, and I also found I could not give them away to people, they would not have them. Plastic, yes, jute, no. Hopefully things will change now, though I have not yet understood why so much fuss is being made against plastic. There is enough other muck in the streets of Mumbai.At the entrance also, there is loose tea to be bought, plain and masala, and tins of ghee. The first stalls are vegetables, intelligently placed at the start in order that the non-meat eaters do not have to to wade through rows of slaughtered animals hanging on hooks. I have my favourite vegetable vendors, who hand out complimentary 'curry pattas' and extra limes.

Among the butchers, there are those who specialise in livers and kidneys and brains, and who chop meat into a kheema in front of the customer. But the seafood stalls are the best, the women in heavy gold ornaments hanging from their nose and ears, enthusiastically bargaining and expertly splicing and cleaning the fish. I like the black pomfrets, and the local name for it -'Halwa'. And I like the squid, though I am not good at cooking it, it comes out hard and rubbery in my inexpert hands.People tell me that the Grant Road fish market should be visited in the evening, around lighting up time, when fresh fish is brought in with the fresh tide. It must be so, but I have no personal knowledge of it.What remains is the poultry, and a couple of shops selling quail, a delicacy that I do not particularly care for. I also avoid the poultry stalls, the feathers flying around affect my breathing.The best part of visiting the market on a Sunday morning comes on returning home. I take out the brain, fry it in a little Belgaum ghee, a touch of green chillies, kothmir, some tomatoes chopped, I slice the fresh bread bought from the bakery outside the market, and I brew some masala tea. That's breakfast, with the Sunday papers.

 
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