South Mumbai on Sunday

We took a little walk through the empty streets near the stock exchange late on Sunday afternoon. The roads were far from busy, and it was easy to take photos. I haven’t done street photos for almost year now, and it felt good to be out with my camera.

There was construction going on in this lot for a while before the lockdown due to COVID-19. Now work has stopped completely. I wonder whether it will resume at all. If the building industry crashes one can imagine that a lot of savings will be totally wiped out.

A street barber can always find work. The featured photo is a close up of this same barber at work. No masks! That seemed to be common on Sunday. This is not a political statement that the media is geared to recognizing. But it certainly is a response to the way the poor have suffered through the pandemic.

A raddiwala sleeps outside his shop. Sunday afternoon is a good time to sleep. Why is he sleeping there, I wondered. What’s his story? He is likely to be an employee. If he is still here at a time when this business is doing so badly, he must be quite desperate for work.

Above the raddiwala’s shop were lots of small apartments. The pink casement caught my eye. Every building looks battered after the monsoon. Some of them will get a coat or two of paint soon. Other buildings were not being maintained because the owner was planning to make money by selling the lot to a builder when the tenants moved out. These calculations will have to be redone.

There were games of cricket on every street. Sometimes even two to a street. This happens every Sunday, but it seemed to me that there were more people on the road now. Lockdown fatigue?

Younger children were going into a park to play. Different age group and different economic class. That’s why the toy vendor is standing at the entrance. The flood light is from a film shoot which had just finished. So they are shooting films again. Lack of consumers is not the problem with that industry.

This old man also seemed to be a raddiwala. Why was that little diya burning inside his kiosk. Evening puja? I feel sorry for people in this business. The margins are low, and at this time I’m sure he’s barely making money.

Near the stock exchange is this imposing neo-classical building which holds a bank. It’s almost a hundred years old now, and is in slightly better repair than many others around. It was perhaps the last of the neo-classical buildings here. Just about the time that it was finished, Art Deco became all the rage.

Time to get a taxi. This lemonade stand does business near the parked taxis. Clever guy. But someone should teach him the right way to wear that mask.

At the end of the walk I was very happy that I had a good mask and a face shield. I’d passed too many people who were not wearing masks. Outdoors the risks are lower than they would be otherwise. Still it is not the most comfortable situation to be in. I usually see a larger fraction of people with masks. Perhaps the people I saw today are always without masks, and only the middle class office workers, bankers, and businessmen wear masks. I’ll have to watch carefully the next time I come around here.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


  1. It must be difficult for them out working the whole day to be in masks, especially the ones doing more active work. Such an unfortunate situation.
    Is the topi a common wear there, both the barber and the toy vendor are in that top?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear, it looks like people there are suffering from pandemic fatigue and are beginning to ignore the necessary precautions. Here there is still a disconnect between the scientists and those who are non-believers in the science. Now that our president has caught COVID it will be interesting to see if his most ardent followers will begin to pay more attention to the rules. Your images really brought the city to life for those of use who have not visited your country. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed the photo walk in south Mumbai. I love your street shots, these images tell stories their daily live behind the scene. A great photo walk, IJ! Thank you for taking us there. 🙂
    Sorry… the link didn’t make it. WP has some issue, I must say.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed your walk, IJ. A fascinating glimpse of everyday life in your city. We also see a lot of people not wearing face masks properly. It makes me so annoyed!! I also worry about the impact of the virus on the shop owners who are barely making a living.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The toy vender is charming!

    Every day I’m distressed by the lack of masks here, not so much outside when it isn’t crowded, but on the train and bus and places like the grocery store. I do want to shout a people who have their nose hanging out “Your nose is attached to your lungs!”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am enjoying my walk through the streets of Mumbai in the comfort of my home. Your photos are interesting but I guess if you are personally there during a pandemic…it is rather scary!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for taking me on this walk through Mumbai streets, when I am a thousand miles away. Even with all the mess, I miss the city!! Also, very worried about lack of masks!!


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