Ramzan was the time when the lanes of the bustling Mohammad Ali Road in South Mumbai would come alive with makeshift eateries displaying a dizzying array of meals. Its streets would flip into an all-night meals competition supporting the companies of lots of of small-time eateries.
This yr’s Ramzan within the time of COVID-19 has been disastrous for these small companies. For the primary time in 15 years since he took over from his father, Muzzamil Shaikh has not put up his dahi vada stall outdoors the well-known Noor Mohammadi restaurant. “The earnings from the food stall during Ramzan ensures we do not worry too much about poor book sales during the rest of the year,” mentioned Shaikh, who runs a bookstore subsequent to Noor Mohammadi.
“The food industry does not make a lot of profit and works on a tight margin. With most eateries around Mohammad Ali Road falling under unorganised sector with no insurance, there will be hundreds who would not be able to return,” mentioned Kurush Dalal, a meals blogger who provides meals walks across the space throughout Ramzan.
Over the previous 20 years, Mohammad Ali Road has advanced right into a pilgrimage for meals lovers throughout Ramzan. While the municipal ward has about 5,000 registered retailers within the space, 1000’s extra mushroom throughout Ramzan. The streets host between 40,000 and 50,000 meals lovers throughout Ramzan weekdays whereas on the weekends, the footfall touches a lakh. People come from totally different elements of town, regardless of their faith, to feast on scorching malpuwas, jalebis and phirnis.
Mohammad Shafeek Surti (52) mentioned he’s a lack of Rs 80,000 this yr. He used to arrange a stall in a slim bylane behind Minara Masjid promoting kebabs, spicy bheja fry, nalli nehari and spicy soup. “One easily makes Rs 8,000 a day after paying the rent, workers and electricity charges. Business increases during the last 15 days of the month,” mentioned Shafeek, who runs a juice store in Mira Road.
The streets this yr sport a abandoned look. For Khalid Hakim, proprietor of the enduring Noor Mohammadi well-known for its Chicken Sanju Baba, enterprise that may double throughout Ramzan has diminished to a trickle with the restaurant opening solely between midday and 1 am for deliveries. “Throughout the night during Ramzan, it is cramped with people. But this year, we are hardly making two to three deliveries a day,” mentioned Hakim.
While some resorts have permission to house ship, Suleman Usman Mithaiwala, the well-known candy store that sells scorching and crunchy malpuwa throughout Ramzan, has remained shut. “Unlike hotels or restaurants, sweet shops are not open at all. There is no business at all,” mentioned co-owner Hakim Tariq Islahi.
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd