By Prachiti Dhopatkar
Few months back I got shifted to Elphinston or (Parel East) if I become more particular. Earlier I used to stay at Borivali it was a very lively are full of Gujarat’s. We had many places to eat and I love to eat street food; Indraprasth’s Masla Papad, cheese franky and Gola 2. Thakkar’s Mysore Masala Dosa etc.
But now I stay in Elphinston a area full of Maharashtrian’s (mill workers area) and if you be in an area near Haffkin there are not much options to eat but I also observed very closely that this area is not at all good in street food the only thing that is good is ‘Vada Pav’. The people who live here are mostly middle class and lower middle class people who used to work in mills and after the mills closed down they had nowhere to go. In my area a women who sells vada pav, her husband was a mill worker but after the mills closed down she had nowhere to go they still stay in a chawl and she makes vada pav and earns. But still the shops close down in afternoon when I asked my vada pav wali ‘kaku’ ( Lakshmi kaku) why do you start selling vada pav’s at 6pm don’t you think it’s too late? She smiled and said,’I known it’s too late but if see this area the shops close in the afternoon 1-5, the bhajiwala doesn’t work in the afternoon he also starts at 6 you know why it’s because we want to give time to our family I have to teach my kid he goes to school (Marathi school) he is in 3rd standard. I love to spend time with my family I earn for them.’ After coming to this area I actually can relate that Maharashtiran’s do work like Britisher’s.
Another specialty is that this area is politically very active.
1. When the Yuva Sena registration was going on there were large number of people standing in queue to become a member of Yuva Sena. This area is the maximum supporter of Shiv Sena.
2. There are a lot of communities events organized and celebrated in this area. Kamgar Maidan is where every year Shiv Sena organizes a fair where almost every household products are sold at discounted rates. They organize functions like Malvani Jatra where products of Malvan are available at a cheaper rate or they promote and exhibit Malvani culture and products. Eminent personalities like Corporaters, MPs, MLAs come and make a speech.
3. Almost all Maharashtrian festivals are celebrated. There is community oneness. Everyday at 7 there is arti in my building, in my area, the temples and my neighbour buildings etc. Festivals like Shiv Jayanti, Navratri, Republic Day, Sai Baba-Bhandara etc. rare celebrated. Also these people used to live in chawls and now they are living in flats but their culture is still the same.. the doors are open always only after 11pm the doors are closed, all the ladies come down at 7 for arti and then sit for a while and gossip.. I also get a feeling of belonging. It’s true I ‘belong’ in my Borivali area and I ‘also belong’ here.
It’s true each and every area has its own specialty and after understanding their culture it becomes easy for us to adapt and live in that place. Off course I being a Maharashtrian I didn’t face many problems but took a bit long to understand their culture but now I get sense of belonging.