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A Portrait of Bhaji Gully
Dissent: Volume 6 of the Helter Skelter Anthology of New Writing

A Portrait of Bhaji Gully

Bhaji Gully

The Bombay winter sun has barely risen. Sleepy streets stretch and sprawl in an attempt to wake up. The young boys on the street are wrapped up in a dream, engrossed in their own worlds, unaware of noisy school-going feet or ringing bicycles. A small fire pierces the indigo chill, while the rough bristles of a broom scrape the stained pavements.

Bhaji Gully
Sleepy streets stretch and sprawl in an attempt to wake up. Photograph by Sukruti Anah Staneley.

Gradually, empty baskets and stands are filled with the season’s best produce. Shutters are pulled up to reveal shops overflowing with buttons, ribbons, and threads of every colour. Men and women drowsily arrange and rearrange their goods in solemn preparation for another day of trade.

This is a portrait of Bhaji Gully.

Running parallel to the street that leads up to Grant Road station, this market—which evolved during the 1930s—flooded an entire lane with buyers and sellers. In this series, I document the people who run the market; the men and women who directly or indirectly resist the looming multi-national giants. Surrounded by the only life they know and the by-lanes they call home, their voices come together like a symphony of trade, everyday.

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Except on Sundays, of course.

Bhaji Gully

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