Mumbai is a city that has something for everybody. It showers you with oodles of opportunities, breaks you down, but also gives you the strength to lift yourself up again, catching you off guard just when you think you have it all figured out.
With the city’s ravishing stance, come its most underrated children, the suburbs, which indeed hold tremendous potential when it comes to development. Malad, being one of them, is home to a number of corporate events, malls, high-end commercial buildings and now, an event called ‘Malad Masti’.
The event is an initiative by Aslam Shaikh, MLA of Malad, in association with Vision Foundation and ALM (Advance Locality Management) Mindspace, Malad (Mindspace is a vast layout of commercial and residential blocks stretching from Hypercity to Palmcourt, Malad). The event, initiated by Aslam Shaikh, MLA of Malad, is extremely colloquial in nature, focused on bringing together the community of the area every Sunday. It started off on December 18, 2016, with great excitement from neighbourhood folks.
Vision Foundation is an NGO that was formed by a humanitarian group of people during the July 2005 floods that almost entirely submerged Mumbai. In more ways than one, the foundation started off with helping people of Malwani, Malad, an area deeply affected by the floods. Noella Varela, General Secretary, Vision Foundation, says, “ALM and Vision Foundation share similar ideas and work along similar lines, which is why it becomes easy to plan and organise events like Malad Masti.”
Malad Masti, in association with ALM (Advance Locality Management) Mindspace (Mindspace is a vast layout of commercial blocks stretching from Hypercity to Palmcourt, Malad), witnessed a crowd of over 8,000 on December 18 and over 25,000 on December 25, 2016. It was sort of an adventure due to the wintry 6 a.m. chills, the hopeful banter, and merry laughter that pervaded throughout the space and the breath-taking back roads that gave way to an even more beautiful expanse.
Puneet Khanna, Managing Committee Member of ALM Mindspace, says, “The main aim of Malad Masti is to create a sense of togetherness, a sense of belonging among the community. We had been seeing this happening earlier; hence, we wanted to curate something similar in Malad, too.” while pointing out at the huge, open roads of Mindspace, which makes for a perfect venue for the same.
During the event, the roads had quite a significant amount of activities and sports taking place at little intervals. Some of them included a Bollywood workshop, salsa workshop, a musical performance by Mumbai Music Institute, a drum-based workshop by Corporate Beats, and various sport activities like roller skating, badminton, sack race, a trampoline for kids, also an inflatable mountain set-up, and more. Set up on the roads were also a nail art studio and a photo booth with a variety of Christmas props.
“Malad Masti emphasises greatly on fitness and entertainment and does not indulge in any commercial activity, unlike Equal Streets of Bandra,” says Khanna, explaining the one thing that sets this event apart from any other. “Even the brands and institutions participating or associated with us are involved in some or the other activity,” he adds.
The commencement of Malad Masti had been in talks since 2015, but had been postponed due to permission issues, he says, giving special thanks to Aslam Shaikh.
Shahzad Rustomjee, President of ALM, says, “With every passing Sunday, more and more activities will be added, while the existing activities will remain intact.”
The highlight of the event was the stupefying line-up of performances including one by Zamee, an Indo-Balkan band that combines Sufi poetry, rustic folk songs, and Indian aesthetics with gypsy tunes and profound Macedonian melodies. This was followed by a musical performance by Sharib and Toshi, the much talked about singing duo of Bollywood, two salsa performances and a Bokwa (a South African fitness routine fused with dance) workshop. Post this was a guest appearance by Pooja Banerjee, a television actress, and Meiyang Chang, Bollywood actor and singer.
Whilst enjoying the activity-laden roads and admiring the bustling rarity of it all, I also got talking to a few visitors who had some rather interesting things to say. Niranjan Bajaj, a teenager, says, “This is my first time at Malad Masti and it already seems to be so much fun. I am looking forward to visiting it next Sunday as well.” Krishna Podar, a mother, says, “Malad Masti makes for a great event as it gives enough space to the public due to its long and wide roads. I would anytime choose this over a park.”
Aslam Shaikh in his closing speech to the audience, said, “Due to the recent scenario of demonetisation, people have been increasingly troubled, disturbed, and unsettled. We are trying to make Malad Masti a way to replace those blues with fun and happiness.
“I strongly believe that Malad will soon be known for Malad Masti,” he adds with a smile.
Even amidst the fun and frolic, Puneet did not forget to be grateful to that one body without which the event wouldn’t have been so well-organised. He says, “Our team deeply thanks the Mumbai Traffic Police, Bangurnagar Police, especially the DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police) and the Commissioner of BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) for extending their excellent services and handling the event with perfection.”
Talking about what the event has in store for the next installment, Khanna says there is going to be plenty of participation from schools and colleges. He also hopes for Malad Masti to happen next year, possibly for a longer duration. “What I think Bombay misses is a sense of oneness, and we are here to offer just that,” he adds.
Malad Masti makes for a wonderful weekend retreat, one with high-spirited laughter all around, buoyant, and brimming with delirium and a pocketful of joy.
Note: The event will be happening next on January 8 and January 15
Venue: Mindspace, Off Link Road, Malad (West), Mumbai 400 064
Timing: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Mili Doshi is a handpicked product of the Bayside Pathfinder where we empower the young and the young at heart with the power of storytelling. To become a part of our extended family of unique contributors, call up Prem Madnani at +91 9892913788 or email him on [email protected]