Mumbai: Mohammed Ali Road, in the south of Mumbai, is one of Mumbai’s oldest and best known neighbourhoods. With shops selling everything from sweets to perfumes to tiles and clothes, it is always bustling and busy with traffic and pedestrians, day and night. It incorporates the historic Dongri area and also the famed Chor Bazaar, which attracts buyers of antiques, real and fake.
The entire stretch, with its numerous mosques, many of them over a century old, comes alive during Ramzan, the holy month of fasting. A large number of faithful observe all that is associated with it – fasting, piety and spiritual self-reflection – and, come evening, the streets are alive with food stalls with all the delicacies associated with it. Foodies from far and wide throng the area till late at night, moving from stall to stall to try everything on offer. By the end of the month, there is a rush to buy new clothes to prepare for the festival of Eid.
But not this year. The lockdown ensured that everyone had to stay indoors and the streets were uncharacteristically deserted. People observed all the rituals at home, from the praying to the evening meal, which usually is eaten with friends and loved ones.
These photographs of the lockdown show an uncharacteristically quiet neighbourhood, with the normally packed streets completely empty. Last year’s photos show what a normal Ramzan is like in Mohammed Ali Road.
Aparna Olwe is a Mumbai based photographer and artist and is working on documenting the challenges faced by the city during the pandemic.