Saturday, April 11, 2015

Why you should check out LiL Flea in Mumbai

What does a woman want to brighten up her boring friday evening? The prospect of shopping, perhaps? Yes!! And that's exactly what had me decide to check out Lil Flea in Bandra for the first time. And this is one of those times when I feel that I do not do justice to living in this wonderful city which has so many fun things to offer! Anyway, I digress here. So, when a friend of mine mentioned this market as a place where Raghu Dixit would be performing, it had me excited. But I reached exhilaration when I checked online to discover that along with good music, there were going to be shops!! And, of course, food. And thus began my first visit to a flea market.

The place is just about 20 minutes from where I live. The exact details of the location on the website ensure you don't have to look around a lot. You can sense the festive vibe right at the first glance. It's colourful and decorated all around. 

The central stage at the LiL Flea for the concerts
The unique seating gives a very casual, comforting and informal feel to the space. You can see swings hanging and cots with pillows for people to sprawl on, if you wish. 

(L) The swings were a favourite with everyone; (R) And that's how you spend a relaxing Friday evening!

But guess what's the first thing I started off with? The shops! (or pop up) Neatly lined and full of goodies. You can see the bursting colours in the stalls making it look like I was in some Diwali fair!

The vibrant and colourful line up of pop ups! 

Stalls with ethnic kurtis, jootis, accessories, mugs, stationery, bags/purses/clutches and a lot more - all vying for my attention. For a few moments, my head seemed to be following a tennis ball in action moving from left to right. And I also wished I had eyes at the back of my head! It was hard to decide where to stop and what to buy.

And then I happened to stop at this amazing stall called Adorables with pretty unique merchandise. It had wooden pegs for holding your bills and other papers. But what caught my attention was a set of smooth stones with pictures painted on them. Aptly called, Story Potli, each set has 5 such stones in a cloth bag. Kids, should suit under 10 years, can take out stones at random and start creating stories. I think it's a brilliant way to get kids' creativity flowing and the variety that you can introduce is endless! They could use as less or as many stones or add as many twists to their stories. And I think such events are so great to bring out such unique things unheard of amidst the commercial crowd of retail.

Find them using #Adorables on Instagram and on Facebook

As I finished looking around the shops, I could feel fragrant aroma of food wafting through the air and knew that food wasn't far away. And the rumbling in my stomach told me that it was time too! I could see fresh kebabs sizzling on skillets, biryani being served in plates and whole range of mouth watering desserts neatly lined in glass cases! I was waiting for my friends but the culinary assault on my nose and eyes was too much for me to wait. I dug into chicken fingers by Bawi Bride, popular for catering Parsi food in Mumbai. Goofy's pork burger and famous spicy chicken wings by Street Kings are other recommendations.

And then came the highlight of the day - The Raghu Dixit concert! The band spun magic yarns with their music and idiosyncratic sense of humour. He kept the crowd mesmerised and energetic by belting out popular numbers one after the other. The good thing about such a concert was that the crowds weren't overwhelming. Being a Friday evening, when people had to come from work - and I guess not many look for concerts in a flea market - there were a small crowd of people who knew the music and loved it.
(Warning: Raghu seems to have a huge problem with people typing into their phones during the concert. He told off a couple of people - one of them during a song - pretty strictly. You may want to remember that the next time)

The Raghu Dixit Project
A couple of tips: Carry cash because cards are not accepted. And avoid heels so you can comfortably walk around and still have the energy for the concerts. Also, leave your husbands with kids at the art corner where they can indulge in their creativity with play doh and colours while you shop away to glory!

Creativity corner for kids with play doh and colours

The LiL Flea is a great experience, even if you don't shop. It happens multiple times a year and you may want to keep tabs on for the next one. Drop me a line if you made it to this one and let me know what you thought about it.

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