Whew! Last Friday I visited the famous Crawford market in Mumbai and am overwhelmed at the range of products sold there at economical prices! Mind boggling, indeed.
Since many years I wanted to visit this market along with my dear friend Saumy, but could never make it. Finally I decided that I need to do things that make me happy. So last Friday, Saumy and I planned to visit this ‘shopper’s paradise’! Moreover, I had a reason or rather a goal in mind – to buy decorations and return gifts for my daughter’s upcoming birthday, in May.
Wandering in the by lanes of Crawford market:
We started early after lunch and reached the Crawford market at 2.30 pm. One can get lost in the many by lanes of this huge market. So it is very important to be focused and first head straight to the particular lane of your interest. I was clear I wanted to buy the party items first. So we headed to that particular lane, which was adjacent to the Masjid. Before this we lost our way and went into the Cutlery lane. Though I would have loved to explore this area, Saumy, reminded me about my main goal.
One of the most common sights as you enter the various by lanes is that many men are selling packets of plastic garbage bags at an unbeatable price of Rs. 100 for 6 packets. Which works out to Rs.16.6 only for 30 bags? I could not believe this. And ended up buying all the 6 bags. Saumy suggested that I can get 7 packets of these bags instead of 6 and should bargain more…
Saumy, had got the name of one of the toy shops in this market and this was very helpful. So we headed straight to Raju Toys, which was located on the first floor of an old building. Though, the façade of this shop does not look fancy, once you enter inside, there, on display, stacked above on the top shelves are varied toys and activity sets. I was very excited. Immediately the shopkeeper, showed us many games/toys and do-iy- yourself kits. Immeditaley I picked up some for my daughter – now that her vacation will start, so that she engage herself during her long summer holidays.
Then I ended up picking up some return gifts. In fact I was tempted to buy more. But was worried, how I would lug all these to Goa. So had to stop myself and now headed to buy the party decorations. As we were passing by the lanes, we saw a lot of other girlie knick knacks, like earrings, hairbands, bangles, hair clips, tiaras, etc. All of these looked very attractive. Mind you – all of these are sold in bulk only. About a minimum of 20 -30 pieces or so.
We entered one of the many shops selling party accessories. And indeed it was amazing to see the huge range of items they had on display. I went berserk. The shopkeeper was very courteous and he abided to all of our requests to provide ‘Frozen themed accessories’. Especially going out of his way to bring some of the items we requested from the storage attic – for even a small blue matching shining candle.
Now, it was 4.30 pm. Time just flew by. However, I still wanted to buy some more party favors. So spotted another gift shop. But the sign on the glass door read as “ Entry for shop owners only’ For a second I hesitated and was reluctant to enter it. Will I have to buy in bulk of 100-200 pieces? No, I do now want so many.
But overcame my fear, and entered the shop. There I spotted some Frozen theme pencil cases , which were expensive. But also, found some Frozen pouches. I immediately picked up a few and was content. Ah! Finally we are done.
For me the prize catch of this shopping expedition was a warm and gentle pink colored cake stand. As I was waiting for Saumy to search and locate the ‘party accessories’ store, I came across a shop selling all things ‘quaint’. Like pretty gift boxes, canisters, vases, wrapping paper and cloth, cute caskets and boxes. I wanted to buy one piece of each, but the shopkeeper told me that it is sold in bulk only. I was a bit disappointed. Nevertheless, I spotted a beautiful pink colored cake stand. I always wanted to buy such a one. Moreover it looked very pretty with little bird perched on the edge. I went ahead and bought it. No negotiation here, please.
Though I would have very much liked to enter the ‘Cutlery galli’ again, I stopped myself. As we had a long way to go and had to leave by 5 pm, to beat the traffic. As we finished our shopping, a young man with a bamboo basket approached us. He said he would carry our goods till the taxi for us. I head recently read, recently about such arrangements at this market, recently and we hired him. As we now, had 3 heavy bags and had to walk quite some distance to the parking lot. He was very patient and in fact encouraged us to shop more. Tired, as we were passing the winding narrow gallis, we were stopping intermittently as we spotted some wares which caught our fancy, like a pink colored teacup, and some Frozen stickers, some fabric tablet mats and canvas shopping bags. Yes, my constant love for canvas bags resurged, but restricted myself and bought only one bag.
Once, I reached my hotel, I immediately packed my recently acquired ‘goodies’ and next day, morning, headed to the airport armed with heavy bags to return home.
As I was waiting at the airport, I was on my customary routine ‘Saturday’ call with my elder sister, Akka. As I was thinking about which new recipe I should try over the weekend, she mentioned about wheat cake. At first I was surprised and asked her you mean ‘healthy wheat cake’? She said yes. Immediately I asked her the recipe and memorized it.
Some of my fondest foods include rotis made of wheat and it continues to be on my favorite foods list. And am always on the lookout to make some tasty snacks which include wheat. One such ‘nibbles’ are, Wheat and Semolina (rava) cookies.
So, on Sunday I made ‘the wheat cake’ which my Akka told me about, or rather I tried Akka’s wheat cake recipe. Making this cake is simple and quick. The batter can be made within 10 minutes and baked within 30 minutes. Lo, your healthy treat is ready.
The ‘oh, so cosy’ flavor of wheat coupled with softness of the cake and with thoughts of eating healthy treats is indeed deeply satisfying, truly experiencing guilt free pleasure!