Maya Bazaar was established with the idea of creating an inclusive marketplace for members of the queer community to sell and showcase their work, to support their businesses and ventures, and to facilitate connections within and beyond the community.
Sanam – One of the founders states that the idea behind Maya Bazaar is an urge to find community in towns where hardly any exists. Their first event happened in Goa with a footfall of more than a 1000 people, out of which more than 250 people were openly queer. “It was a huge success. Many people even came out at the Maya Bazaar and now we are expecting the same in our 2nd edition in Shimla. The Himachal Queer Pride happened in Palampur, which is what led us to believe that there was space for the Bazaar in Himachal. Keeping the summers in mind, we know that most people hit the mountains and thus the destination for the upcoming June Bazaar is in the mountains”, Sanam concluded.
Maya Bazaar is not a curated show. It’s an experience put together by queer folx for the rest of the world. Sauparnika, a queer baker and mental health counsellor says while talking about the earlier of Maya Bazaar: “I have been part of pop-up markets before, which weren’t run by queer people. The experience was very different. The organisers were very warm as opposed to the strictly corporate nature of other events. Also it was nice to be in an event organised by people from the community. It was nice not to be vigilant with regards to who you’re revealing your identity to. It was like doing business while hanging out with friends”.
Even for the founders it is something much more than what was actually planned and the most interesting parts of this Bazaar are its after-affects. “I live in Goa and with each passing day, we meet people who come to us and narrate their stories of how they found partners, friends, doctors and many more through the Maya Bazaar. Someone got their mother to Maya Bazaar and now she repeatedly asks, when is Maya Bazaar happening in Goa again. It is amazing to see the impact that the Bazaar has had and it is the driving force behind the 2nd one. We know from our experience in Goa that this is something that people want to be a part of.”
In June, when the world celebrates Pride month, Maya Bazaar would be celebrating the small ventures from the queer community in Himachal. The bazaar is taking place on 4th and 5th June at Hotel Peterhoff in Shimla. This time it features pop ups by a lot of new faces, but also some familiar ones as well. Nazariya, Saksham, and Sappho for Equality are some organizations that you can expect to see at the stalls this year.
The bazaar is being organised in partnership with the Himachal Queer Foundation, Queer Collective Dehradun, and All Sorts of Queer.
The Bazaar promises to be a place that offers you something more than just a shopping experience, but also a chance to connect and create a community.