Bambai Nazariya: A Place of Pride

A new café in Mumbai run by transgenders is all about bringing social inclusivity into dining spaces

author_img Tanisha Saxena Published :  27th March 2022 12:39 PM   |   Published :   |  27th March 2022 12:39 PM
Employees of Bambai Nazariya

Employees of Bambai Nazariya

Bambai Nazariya has become an equaliser for the people of Mumbai. Located among the hip urban cafes of Versova, it has quickly climbed up the ladder of popularity since its launch a couple of months back. Run by transgenders Deigo Miranda and Glenice D, this chai house thrashes heteronormative assumptions about gender, while creating a non-judgemental space for queers and others alike. It is run entirely by transgender employees too.

A frame at the café reads nazariya badlo, nazara badlega (change how you view things and your perception about them will change). Another one says: dekho magar pyar se (look, but with love). Needless to say, social inclusivity is its signature offering.  

The white-pebbled al fresco section is a hit with everybody. Quirky décor such as a box TV set and a gramophone placed on a sewing machine are props remodelled to serve as tables. There is a mini library too. “The inspiration to start this came from my father who always felt deeply for the neglected community. One day he told me: ‘Whenever you can, help the queer. They need us.’ Despite growing up in a chawl, I learnt from him to treat people well. It did not matter what their sexual orientation was. During Christmas, when the hijras would come to our home asking for donations, my father would not only offer them food, but also respect and love. This stayed with me,” says Miranda.

The food at Bambai Nazariya is as much the talk of the town as its concept. Specialities include pink chai, cheese croissant and chicken pepperoni. Mumbai staples such as pav bhaji, keema pav and misal pav are among favourites. “I have been coming back for their lamb burger. Also, Akshatra, one of their transgender employees, always welcomes everybody so warmly,” says Rayyan, a non-binary queer person who is a regular at the cafe. He adds: “This café has taken a big step towards establishing a safe public space for the queer, who otherwise have to make do with restaurants in hidden corners of the city where they won’t catch too much attention.” But for now, Bambai Nazariya has surely caught our attention for the right reasons.