Chor Bazaar – The thieves market has always been one of my most favorite places in Mumbai! Not just because of its curious and mysterious name, but also because it’s one of the oldest markets in Mumbai and houses the most quirky and beautiful pieces of art you’ll ever find!
Did you know, the market wasn’t even originally called chor bazaar…! It was called ‘shor’ bazaar… which simply means ‘noisy’ market, because it was the most crowded market in Mumbai! The British however, couldn’t pronounce it, and started calling it ‘chor’ bazaar… which slowly became its name!
Eventually, after the informal renaming of the place, thieves actually started coming there and selling stuff… and at one point, chor bazaar was a haven for buying and selling stolen goods!
There’s a popular saying… often heard in a lot of Bollywood movies of the 70’s and 80’s… ‘If anything of yours is ever stolen, don’t worry… you’ll find it in Chor Bazaar!’
Today however, Chor bazaar is far from being that! It’s not even that crowded anymore. Honestly, in my mind… it’s only the most charming and enchanting of places in Mumbai!
For me, things that a lot of people might consider trash, are precious gold! Old movie posters, broken wooden sculptures, dysfunctional glass lamps, old tape recorders… they’re nothing short of romantic! They’re all things that remind us of who we were, who we are and how far we’ve come!
Every time I take a stroll on Mutton street (that’s where the antique’s market is), I can’t help but be thrown back to either my childhood toy cabinet with those age-old toys calling out to me… or my school tiffin where I’d carry those little dabbas and tin Parle G cases … or even my teenage years, where I’d collect stereo cassettes of every single shady Bollywood movie that ever released… or to my summer vacations and my grandfather’s old rocking chair, or shaving mirror!
It’s all there at chor bazaar… everything! It’s a thieves’ market alright… but one that steals and stores beautiful memories and nostalgia… and nothing else 🙂
This outfit that I’m wearing is inspired by the nostalgia and memories that chor bazaar brings back! The skirt, boots and two side ponytails… that’s kinda like what I’d dress as a kid… or how I’d see ‘older’ people dress in the 90’s!
The maxi skirt I’m wearing is a handloom one from Jaypore.com and the scarf, is an indigo piece that I bought in Kolkata’s Hogg market.
The tassel earrings with hand-painted ‘surya’ (sun) is something that I thought added another artistic element to the outfit, apart from giving my face that blast of colour! These earrings are from Artfully Your’s by Chitranka… they’re hand-painted on canvas, and so is that ring I’m wearing. (Was also wearing a hand painted saree from her in my Kumbharwada chapter, you can check it out here)
For me, Chor Bazaar is like calm in the midst of chaos… it’s art in the middle of butchery and dirt! (Yes it’s called mutton street because it’s also lined with butcher houses on one side)
It makes me happy 🙂
Thank you so much for reading… I hope you enjoyed this post.
Coming up next is my 3rd chapter in this Inside Mumbai series – Dhoby Ghat!
So Stay Tuned for that!
And also, do check out the chapter 1 in this series: Kumbharwada.
All these photographs are works of Sonalee Das