Chowakaran Musa and the Mapla Por of Bombay

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Musa Mapla, the EIC and his Bombay residence

Many decades ago, when I was working in Bombay and a bachelor, I would walk aimlessly through the Colaba, Ballard estate and Flora fountain areas often, stopping finally to munch a good meal at the Fort Ananda Bhavan. In many of the road corners you could spot youngsters from Malabar desirous of going to the Gulf, doing part time work by selling smuggled goods on the sly. Well before all that, they sold coconuts or mats i.e. nariayal walas and chatai (grass mat or pullu paya) walas of Malabar, but in my time those professions were not popular and the malayali street hawker sold Casio calculators, perfumes, cigarettes and small electronics like radios cassette players on these streets.