Chor Bazaar

Chor Bazaar in Mumbai is a pretty interesting place. I had a business meeting not too far away, after which I decided to wander around this flea market to see if I could find a BS32 carburetor for my Impulse project. I needed to kill a few hours before I headed back to the airport. A better idea of killing time somehow eluded me.

I tried many shops without luck. Then at one shop belonging to a shady character I posed the question. He turned around to another shady character and gave him a sign. The second guy got up to leave, but I stopped him. I asked the first shady character if he had a BS32 carburetor in his shop. “Only 15 minutes”, came back the reply. I waved him away with a “No thank you” and walked away. No prizes for guessing what the second shady character was planning to do in 15 minutes.

The people in the automotive section of the flea market buy scrap 2 and 4 wheelers and break them down. Right in front of their shops. Sledge hammers and brute force are the preferred tools. Every blessed thing is taken apart and sold. Right down to the nuts and bolts. Nothing goes to waste.

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There are shops that sell horns. Only horns, nothing else. Some sell only starter motors. Every possible kind of starter motor. The way this place is organised you simply need to show up at the correct shop and state your wish. I tried to find a shop filled carburetors, but couldn’t find any. Maybe carburetors are removed from vehicles before being scrapped. But ultimately my search paid off and I did find a BS32 carburetor in one shop.

They say you can get anything here. And if it’s not available, someone will go for a 15 minute walk and come back with the item you want. :-)

I once heard a story of a guy who lost one of his wheel caps. He went to Chor Bazaar to buy a single wheel cap instead of buying a set of four. Someone went for a 15 minute walk and came back with the wheel cap he was looking for. I think you can figure out the rest of the story. :-)

For the benefit of your non-Hindi speaking friends, “chor” means “rogue”. It all makes sense now, right? :-)


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