Inside An Inclusive Mumbai Chai House That's Empowering Marginalized Communities

Inside An Inclusive Mumbai Chai House That's Empowering Marginalized Communities
Bambai Nazariya

The Instagram page of Bambai Nazariya is an explosion of vibrant colours. They have pink chai, Pallonji’s sodas in many flavours and the staff dressed in bright floral aprons. This space is an inclusive chai house in the bylanes of Lokhandwala in Bombay. With Bun Maska and Pav Bhaji that their frequent visitors love, this space was started in 2022 and has become a well-deserved hideaway that people keep coming back to, for the food and the people. 

Founded by Diego Miranda and his partner Glenice D’sa, Bambai Nazariya employs those from the transgender community - from the kitchen to services. According to the founder’s interview with the Indian Express, the café is the culmination of a dream that the founder shared with his father of wanting to do something for the Transgender community to create more opportunities that they deserve. While the café only opened a year ago, they came up with its name seven years ago. The founder mentioned in the Indian Express article that “We just came up with that name seven years back. ‘Bambai’ because we wanted to evoke the old Bombay feeling and ‘nazariya’ because we want people to change their nazariya or outlook. ‘Nazariya badlo, Nazaara badlega‘ is the tagline of the café as we want everyone to change the way they look at things.”

The café found their initial three employees from the community, with help from the Humsafar Trust and Tweet Foundation. While one of the employees had experience in a trans-led café before, they weren’t looking for those with hospitality experience. Currently, they have seven employees which include four people who are trans and three people with disabilities. In a feature regarding the café on Citizen Matter Mumbai, Nitin Karani, an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights talked about the importance of ventures like Bambai Nazariya in reshaping the perspective of people towards those from the Trans community. He went on to say, “The café offers the people a different side of the community to the people, compared to the limited interaction they may have with them on streets. Initiatives like these show the transgender community in a different light and debunk the myths surrounding them. It gives them a livelihood and dignity, which is a social outreach for the community,” 

Bambai Nazariya has been created with a simple, home-like atmosphere, where one can feel at home, have conversations and enjoy the hospitality. The founders have worked to ensure that even for the employees, it doesn’t feel like a job, but rather to create a home environment where they are welcoming guests and showing hospitality. The menu at Bambai Nazariya features simple Bombay comfort food such as Bun Maska, Pav Bhaji, Misal Pav, and a host of other sumptuous Indian dishes. The most talked about drink here is their pink chai or Kashmiri Noon chai, which is a shade of pastel pink and has become their most Instagrammed item. While the food and drinks are worth the attention it is receiving, the heart of this venture is truly the intent with which it began - attempting to change people's Nazariya (perspective) towards marginalized communities, over a cup of Chai.

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