It’s no point denying it, I’m not fond of fish. Or the smell of it. But the sight of it …? Give me an Asian fishing village and I’m ready to go any minute. Madh Island in the north of Mumbai is such a place. Here, you’ll find clean beaches and expensive resorts – but also a smelly and heavily polluted fishing village. If you’re new to it, it might be quite a challenge to your senses!
I’m travelling in an autorickshaw with my guide through another fishing village, Versova. Roads are narrow, lanes even more so. It’s crowded, people carry heavy loads on their heads or transport even bigger loads by handcarts accompanied by likewise heavy shouting and everybody seem to be in each other’s way. Dogs are scuttling here and there, on the look-out for a free meal – which shouldn’t be hard to find.
The barge that is going to take us across makes me slightly apprehensive. People stand shoulder to shoulder and jump off together with a few two-wheelers. Next, it’s our turn, we board and the crowd is less – which means that my idea of sinking becomes less intrusive … And before I know it we have reached the other side, a few steps lead us to a turnstile where we pay the fee which is so small I have to look twice! (ten rupees if I’m not wrong). And we’re at Madh Island.
An autorickshaw takes us along the main thoroughfare of the fishing village which is lined with stalls. People are selling fish and other food, after a while we jump off and walk the last part to get a better feel of the atmosphere and to speak to people on our way. It’s crowded, it’s smelly, it’s energy at high speed! Just what I was looking for!
We’re aiming for the pier where boats unload fish. Today there seem to be shrimps and more shrimps! All the way along the pier people, mostly women, are working with shrimps. Some children are helping, or maybe they just want to be close to their mothers.
The ground is full of shrimps. Together with the setting sun the world takes on a pink-ish look. Beautiful wicker baskets, waiting to be filled, surround the women.
I have forgotten all about the fierce smell pushing its way through my nostrils as we make our return to the wharf. The market is still lively, buying and selling – and cooking – will take place for many hours still. A barge is on its way as we reach the jetty, we stumble on, ready to return to the city.
The http://www.zamorinofbombay.com/ took me to Madh Island.
More photos below.