Although the Diwali rush at the popular Mahim Halwavala hasn't changed this year, owners admit that they've had to introduce newer flavours for modern times, and increase prices

Every Diwali, the workers of Joshi Budhakaka Mahim Halwawala, popularly known as Mahim Halwavala go into overdrive to cater to the thousands of people who throng its premises. In its 224th year of operation this year, nothing has changed, except the prices, and a few new varieties.

Workers get busy laying Halwa sheets at the shop.
Pic/ Shadab Khan

Owner Ramchandra Joshi explains, "In 1951 you could buy Mahim halwa for Rs 4 per kg. In 2011 it costs Rs 320 per kg." That's an increase from Rs 280  per kg in 2010.

That's not all. In a bid to move with the times, the sweet shop, founded in 1787 by Girdhar Mauji who came to the city from Jamnagar, today stocks the halwa in flavours like strawberry, badam, anjeer and pineapple, "which is our modification to cater to the liking of younger generation. We have also started keeping other sweets but Mahim Halwa is our USP. It can be stored without refrigerator for two months."

In an age of mithais for the diet conscious and calorie-free chocolate, Joshi is confident of surviving the fierce competition. "We take pride in maintaining our quality over the years. What we offer may not look as attractive as the sugar-free sweets, but we believe in giving quality stuff. People relish Mahim Halwa for years once they eat it."

Today, the seventh generation handles the business, which has its branches in Dadar set up in 1937 and Tardeo set up in 1939. He proudly says, "Mahim Halwa is very famous for its unique taste. We use a secret proportion of wheat extract, sugar and ghee. It takes four people and half an hour to make the halwa. Some of our workers are third generation employees."

Its name, acquired on account of the moniker given to Mauji by children who would call him 'budha kaka' when he started selling the halwa door to door, certainly fits the bill.