As the monsoon makes its way to Mumbai, fishing activities come to a halt for three long months. Nets drawn in and boats hauled on to sandy beaches, the residents of Mahim Koliwada, one of the oldest fishing villages of Mumbai, are among those who look for alternative work to find other sources of income.
For many traditional Koli families, this season is when the repair works start. “During the period when the ban on fishing is in force, we do our repair work. From mending our nets to repairing boats, all maintenance of equipment is done during the monsoon,” says Dilip Pagdhare, resident of Mahim Koliwada.
Koliwada refers to a colony of fishermen. Mahim is one of the seven islands that originally formed Mumbai, and the fishermen’s colony is among the oldest. Surrounded by the Arabian Sea with a view of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the Mahim Retibunder, or the sandy patch next door to the fishermen’s colony, is increasingly being frequented by Instagrammers and photography enthusiasts.
The sea link, among the most photographed features, attracts less enthusiasm among the locals, however. Pagdhare says, “The Bandra-Worli sea link is our problem. More than 80 acres of area rich in fish is not available to us any more.” He also grumbles that government nods for hotels and other such buildings are easier to get than permissions for much-needed maintenance and development of the Koli community’s living quarters.
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