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Azaad Bazaar closes down

The Bandra store, the only one in Mumbai that catered specifically to the LGBT community, has decided to shift base to Goa from November, but hasn't ruled out a return to the city

Azaad Bazaar, India's first full-fledged Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Pride store, selling pride-themed products like mugs, t-shirts, keychains, home d �cor, which opened in Bandra (W) nearly two years ago, is shutting shop on Saturday, October 29, and moving to Goa. The Azaad Bazaar website states in gung-ho fashion that the promoters would be taking Azaad Bazaar, 'On the road for a few months, doing exhibitions in various cities starting with the Goa's Saturday Night Market. We will be shifting base to Goa for six months, so our Bandra outlet will close on Saturday October 29... and a new adventure will begin!'



Says Sabina Gulati and Simran Singh, co-founders and directors of Azaad Bazaar, "We are moving out because we have outgrown this space. We wanted to look at new avenues and now is the perfect time to do so, as our lease is also over. It is time to expand our reach and therefore we are moving to Goa. We always wanted to go to Goa during the flea market season, and this is the perfect time to do it."

LGBT supporters have no reason worry. According to the website, the store will be back in the city, some time next year. It states, 'We will be back in Mumbai for our annual, 'Get Dressed for Pride' exhibition in 2012, and might look at reopening in another location in Mumbai later that year. So for now, this is not goodbye... it's till we see you again!'

Adds Gulati, "We will be back in Bandra, though at another venue. We are also going to look at other cities, while in Goa. In the past, we held exhibitions in Bangalore, Pune and Delhi." 

In response to a question, the co-founder categorically denied that they have been forced to move due to any kind of harassment. 

Once it reached Goa, Azaad Bazaar would have a presence at Ingo's Saturday Night Bazaar, every Saturday night, from 6 pm to 1 am at Arpora (near Anjuna). The market will start sometime in end November or early December 2011, and continue till April 2012.

The co-founders see the move as a natural progression for their venture. When it started a couple of years ago, Azaad Bazaar was an online enterprise, after which it started holding a number of exhibitions and finally, graduated to a full-fledged store. In a city, where there are a few 'safe' spaces for the LGBT community, Azaad Bazaar had hosted a number of events specific to the community, like meetings, student interactions and book readings.

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