Sounds of indian streets

Crawford market is one of the busiest, evergreen and chaotic markets of Mumbai. Located next to the most iconic railway station in the world (CST), makes it a famous tourist point too. From different kinds of exotic fruit to pets, imitation jewellery to spices, imported fabric to Chinese toys, one can find almost any item here. The range and variety of cheap products available here makes it a densely populated market.

The activities within the market and the surroundings like mosques, busy streets, people and railway station contribute to the hundreds of sounds produced and lost in this chaos. A large amount of sound produced is by the people in it. Arguments between people, monotonous and rhythmic call out for product sale, endless bargains, telephonic conversation, confusion at a chai and snack stall are very commonly heard. The only time when the sounds of people is buried is when the sounds of animals and birds takes over in the pet section.

This project focuses on bringing out the essence of the market through a variety of sounds encountered within and around it. The motive is to showcase not just the sounds but also the emotions inherent to it.


Audio designed for the project (5:45 mins) :


Design focus

The audio clip designed is a stand alone result of my project. Seeing is believing but hearing leads to strong visualisations. Hearing without seeing also leads to higher concentration on micro activities happening in an environment. A chaotic environment can be understood by just listening carefully to the sounds and conversation. 



Chai Stall : Right next to the open area is a small tea and snack joint. This stall has about five people working, every one assigned tasks by the head who is an one old man of approximately 60 years of age. His friendly but strict behaviour is captured. The younger ones at the stall are heard taunting each other and calling out funny names. The sound of kettle and clinking of chai glasses and coins is constant. Having so many men working in a tiny space calls for lot of conversations, scolding and taunting and laughing.

Spices Stall : The owner of this shop in his broken English explains the specialities of the various spices and masalas to one of the foreign tourist. Creative way of explaining the uses and the customer’s curiosity is quiet clear sensed.

Fruits and vegetable vendors : Entrance of the market opens to a space dedicated to fresh fruits & vegetables. Sellers are often heard shouting the rates of their item. It was funny to hear one of them say ‘Das ka do, das ka do’ (Rs 10 for 2) and selling it to a tourist for Rs 20. Women are often seen bargain- ing & arguing with the vendors. Activities like cutting cabbage skins, peeling of coconut tops, emptying sacks of tomatoes in baskets, sweat- ing men brining heavy sacks of potatoes in carts from small entrances making their way through the busy market is a common sight.

Pets Section : Further inside towards the right of the market is the pet section. Hundreds of love birds are caged here. There is nothing else one can possibly hear over their shrill chirping. Crowing of cocks was heard in regular intervals. Geese and ducks are kept further ahead. Their

sounds are not shrill as the love birds. In fact, they have a low frequency sound that makes it easier to communicate in the area. Doves, pigeons, parrots, cockatoo are heard too along with rare hoots of owls. Animals sold mainly include different breed of dogs and cats. The joyful sounds of dogs playing as well as doleful cries of animals in pain can be heard.

Street Performance : Performances in the open area in the market are quiet common. There are times when young girls and boys come with monkeys and drums to perform tricks. Captured is the one where a 5 year old boy does acrobatics along the drums played by his two sister. At the end of the performance he goes around collecting money from the audience.

Meat Shop : Cutting of meat can be heard clearly outside the slaughter house. The sounds of numerous knives over the wooden and granite platform forms a rhythmic pattern. To make the meat tender, the hammers used make a deeper and softer sound that gets lost in the atmosphere. There are fewer customers heard compared to the butchers who are often heard talking and passing tools to each other.

Other sounds : Toys, decorations, bells, drums of beggars performing are other sounds that a person may encounter. Interesting conversations amongst vendors and across customers have been recorded to capture the mood and vibes of this place. These sounds have been used as fillers.

Vehicles : At every entrance of the market one can hear the chaos of people shopping in outside lanes and traffic sounds of cars, buses, scooters and bikes. Presence of high number of bus stops leads to honking of buses every now and then. Bicycle bells are common in and around the entrance since a lot of vendors and workers use them to take goods from one point to another. The fastest way to reach the market is the CST Station just a 2 min walk away from the market. The stations is so close that at times the train honks and faint announcements are clearly heard outside the market.