There’s a silent mental preparation I do whenever I go out dining with new set of people. As I put final touches to my ‘maggi curls’ I stands in front of the mirror and promise to myself that I won’t react when during ordering for food I am exclaimed at for the 1875684th time – “What you are a Bengali and you don’t have fish!!!!”
Well yes, I know you guys make it sound like its worse than being an unchaste Brahmin girl, but so be it! I hate fish.
Period. Oops sorry “Dot” – my new fascination after watching Rajnikanth’s Robot!
Though my gustatory calyculi (yes, I am just showing off that I know the scientific term for taste buds!) repel fish, those various Sunday morning escapades with Baba, tagging along proudly holding the ‘jhola’ to the Fish market has somewhere made my olfactory glands immune to the smell of raw fish. And so when I decided to cover Sassoon Docks for Mumbai Mondays, M thought I would faint, but I knew better!
Built in 1875 on reclaimed land,by Albert Abdullah David Sassoon (1818–1896), son of David Sassoon, a Baghdadi Jew and the leader of the Jewish community in Bombay, belonging to the Sassoon family, the dock the biggest dock in Mumbai and one of the few docks in the city open to the public.
Just off Cuff Parade in South Mumbai, the dock is best visited at dawn. The first local at 4 am took us there and I had one of the most awesome train rides here in Mumbai with only a few fish vendors to give us company. (And albeit stare with their sleepy eyes at a hyper active me doing beyoncing in train – all excited because she was out covering for MM!!!!)
The stench of fish near the port shows you the way through darkness and the alley of boats forms a beautiful trail that encompasses the entire semi circular stretch.
This colourful waterfront is a favorite haunt of local gourmets and restaurateurs who throng here for quality seafood at dawn, when the trawlers unload their catch.
People can buy baskets of shrimp, lobster, bony mackerel and fleshy pomfret at wholesale rates.
There are also cold storage places from where one can buy cleaned and filleted varieties which is earmarked for export.
Fisherfolk bring in their catch from the deep seas and by 5:30 the auctioning and bargaining of the stuff is at full bloom.
The locals say that those fish that survive the dawn break, rarely get sold, for the choicest ones are always picked up in darkness!
If the smell and the stench irks you, the smiling faces of the people and the beautifully weaved baskets and the array of ships overlooking the Marine Mumbai stretch and the Oyster Dock makes you switch off and witness one of the loveliest sunrise any city can ever offer!
Photography is strictly prohibited and the area is more cordoned after the terror attacks of 2008, but the spirit of Mumbai still runs high. So when we requested for a few photographs we were smilingly indulged into what was ‘against the law’ of the land!
Surrounded by the Colaba fishing village, we had the time of our lives identifying surmai, pomfret, prawns and lobsters. And when the sigh of the fishes got a bit too gruesome I turned towards the boat and make shift dry ice counters to keep myself fascinated.
Round it off with a heavy breakfast at the Britannia café or Indigo at Colaba Market and you have one of the best Sundays ever. Only till the time your mother calls you at 11 am to find you mumble to her that you have just hit bed after come back from a fishing village!
“But why on earth will you go to a fishing village at almost midnight???” , she asks!
“Because Ma that is the only time nobody is bothered as to whether I am a fish addict or a photography addict”, I mumble.
“Can’t you visit places like other normal girls of your age, like discos , pubs and parlors??? What did I have when I was about to deliver you I wonder”, she thinks out aloud.
“Definitely Fish Ma! For else my affairs and trails wouldn’t be so fishy right??”, I crack up groggily.
Does anyone know of a good site that can deliver some fish to make my mother talk to me!
Mumbai Mondays is all about seeing Mumbai and its surroundings through my eyes. It’s my take to introduce you to a city and its surroundings which I love, as I see it – alone and often with friends (we call ourselves the Mumbai Mad Caps). It’s a thread that goes live every Monday. I cover places randomly and welcome suggestions too. You can find more posts about Mumbai Mondays here.
Want to write about Mumbai and share your experience – do drop me a line. We are open to Guest Posts too – Come join us and spread the Mumbai Madness around!