I have heard about flea markets but have never been to one. This was my first experience of a flea market and I must say, a very unique one indeed. Mumbai’s happiest ‘Lil Flea’ was organized in association with Mumbai Mirror and was held at Bandra Reclamation Ground on December 20 and 21.
The open air Lil Flea market had around 200 quirky pop-up shops, Food stalls, Live band, Play areas, Selfie booths, Paintings, Crafts, Clothing, Handmade Knick-Knacks, Accessories, Home decor, Jewellery, Workshops… you name it and it was there under the roof of The Lil Flea. Wow! Almost whole of Mumbaikars including some foreign nationals were there to experience this Flea market madness.
As you enter the market after paying a nominal entry fee, you will notice these board signs which will help you plan your stroll. There was a corner for book exchange, where book lovers could leave a book they have already read in exchange of another. Well, I was in no mood to exchange my John Grisham’s “The Runaway Jury” which was safely tucked away in my sling.
I chose to start with the shopping stalls just because they started right next to the entrance. There were these eco-friendly stalls which had cloth hand bags with pictures of Bollywood actresses of Sixties and Eighties. They also had bags having “pièce de résistance” of Mumbai and India pictured on it.
My lil sister went crazy to see the Tiaras and Trinkets and my wallet felt lighter after we crossed these stalls.
Before I could indulge in the aromatic food section, I observed one tree full of red post-its tied to it with red ribbons. I am aware of a ritual in Hindus where they tie thread to the tree but this modern red post-its with red ribbon was novel. When I was standing few inches away from the tree, I realized that it was a “Make a Wish” tree where you could write your wish on a post-it and hang it on tree and Santa will fulfil those wishes. I did laugh aloud after reading a few wishes hanging on this tree (‘Ho ho ho”). No one will be surprised to know that this tree was surrounded by “girls” only. Well no more comments on this.
Without wasting a minute, I headed to the small colourful hub of the Flea market which had delicacies one can only wish for!
Sandwiches, Mexican wraps and bowls, Dumplings, Maggie, Pasta, Risotto, Pizzas, Chole batura, Shawarma (wrap), rolls, Seekh kebab, Biryani, cupcakes, chocolate and caramel waffle from Waffle House and what not!!! There were people of all age groups treating themselves on the haath gaadi’s (cart pulled by hand) which was used as a table.
I laid my hands on the Classic Chicken wrap from Maroosh, shared Cheese Maggie with my lil sister and Stuffed Choco Chips with Dark Chocolate Ganache Waffle which was something new to me. It was the most delectable and sinful treat to myself. I decided to skip my Dinner after this sinful act :p
Though there was a strong urge to commit the sinful act again, but I desisted and stepped out of this food land. I was surprised to see another stall of cupcakes beautifully arranged on the stand because none of the food stalls were duplicated. As I reached close to the stall, I read a disclaimer on the stall “This is soap – Do not eat”. What!!! These were perfumed homemade soaps having fragrances of lavender, strawberry, coffee, chocolate and so on.
By this time I had seen all the stalls. The only thing that disappointed me was that there was no stall for postcards while there were stalls for greeting cards and the creativity was making its presence felt in most of the stalls 🙂
For those who love clay articles, earthen pots, crockery, they will surely be lost in the creativity. I feel photos talk and can paint a thousand words if you stop and take a moment to look at it. I really liked these creative articles displayed on the floor.
Some portion of the market was also occupied by shopkeepers selling wooden furniture, carpets, home décor, wooden Riyal (on which you place Holy Books) and idols of almost all deities that I am aware of.
The Lil Flea is a sure-shot not to be missed place if you like shopping or immerse yourself in the Indian culture and witness the interesting mix of like-minded people.
Cheers – Lubna