Welcome to Mumbai! We recently took a stroll down a street near the MarketPlace workplace. This is the route to the Santacruz East train station, part of the amazing Indian railway system, one of the largest in the world. The Mumbai Suburban Railway alone has 7 ½ million riders every day: people traveling around the greater metropolitan region to go to work, home or school. The artisans outside of the Santacruz neighborhood often use the train to travel to the MarketPlace offices for meetings, social programs or to deliver products.
Our walk down the street comes with its own soundtrack. The incessant traffic contributes engine sounds and honking horns as cars, auto rickshaws, motorbikes, and buses dodge and dash by at full speed. The train contributes the squealing sound of brakes as it stops at the station. We also hear vendors touting their wares, shoppers bargaining, and the ringing of brass temple bells.
On both sides of the street are stalls and small shops providing goods and services for the millions of people passing by each day. You can buy almost anything here, from safety pins to a new cell phone.
Here is a sampling of the sights on the street:
Delicious bananas for sale. India is the largest producer of bananas in the world. More than 20 varieties are grown here, many of them regional specialties.
Colorful clothing for everyone: little girls’ dresses, long skirts, T-shirts and more. Some of the artisans who produce for MarketPlace make ready-to-wear clothing in their down time to sell in markets like this.
A small Hindu shrine nestled next to a tree provides a space to take a moment out to pray and reflect.
Produce sellers take pride in how they display their fresh bounty. This beautiful vegetable still life of polished and piled veggies can supply all you need for a delicious meal.
Adding to the signs and sounds along the route are the smells! Those looking for a ready-to-eat option can find food vendors throughout.