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The Bandra Fair is on in full swing

Thursday, September 14, 2017
By Monarose Sheila Pereira

The Bandra feast which is the birthday of Mother Mary is celebrated on the 8th of September every year. The feast is followed by the Bandra Fair which is a week-long celebration starting on the following Sunday. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, commonly known as the Mount Mary Church sees thousands of devotes with the number increasing every year. Masses and Novenas are said every day. Devotees from all faiths come here to petition and thank Mother Mary. She occupies pride of place because it was on her request that her Son Jesus worked His very first miracle at the Wedding Feast at Canna. Therefore people ask her to take their petitions to her Son Jesus.

This is the only ‘Star’ in Bandra that attracts more people than Salman Khan’s fans who wait outside his Galaxy. People from all echelons and walks of life come to Mount Mary Church. Paul Fernandes, Center Manager Mickey Mehta Gym says, “The devotion and faith at the Church is phenomenal and touches you deep inside. People from all faiths come here to pray. It is an inspiring experience.” National College student Nikunj Panchal, who makes it a point to pay a visit almost every year loves the religiousness of the people who genuinely come with a wish and hope to get it fulfilled.

In the olden days people would set up small stalls along the way offering food, water and soft drinks to the tired pilgrims who came from far and wide. Gradually the stalls started to include small games to keep the children and adults entertained. Today the stalls have increased and resemble a mini bazaar replete with food, sweets, toys, clothes, jewelry, joy rides and games. Everyone jumps on to the bandwagon to make a quick buck. Prices are soaring along with the temperatures but no one’s complaining even if they make you break into a sweat.

One great place to visit is the September Garden at Mount Carmel’s Church at the tail end of the journey as you descend from Mount Mary after your devotion. Despite trudging up and down the hill people still have the energy to stomp their feet and sway to the good music. The place is replete with entertainment of various types for all ages. The Tumbling Boxes and Trampoline Jumping are a great attraction for kids. The most popular joy rides are the Giants Wheel and the Tora Tora, where you actually pay to go around in circles. They take you to dizzy heights only to be beaten by the Demon-itization spin.

Food is a big crowd puller. MMK College student Prithvi Tulsiani wonders, “What's it about the 8th of September that makes people so hungry? I think it's the charm of the Bandra Fair.” The fair is indeed a gourmet’s paradise as there are a variety of cuisines - Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, bhelpuri, ragda pattice, tandoori, Shwarmas, crispy chickens, typical Goan and East Indian delicacies like Sorpatel, Fugias, potato chops and panrolls. Daisy Naidu’s delicious Fugias and Choris Pau are sold out in a jiffy. Harvey Fernandes’ food corner has exotic dishes like chicken cutlets stuffed with cheese, Australian Pulled Meat, and Arabian-Indian Chicken wraps. The cold drinks, ice-cream, and kulfi stalls are a great way to beat the sweltering heat and melt your money.  The St. Paul’s stall has many books for those who want to turn a new page. There are many games of skill too. You can pop a few balloons with an air rifle or pick a lucky draw and win prizes. Ah yes! There is a stall where you try and put your balls into a mud pot … if that’s where you like to put it…sigh! They always bounce back. Wrong place guys!

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