It's Festival Time

[Some Phirni]

India is alight in an collective mood of festivity and Indians everywhere irrespective of their persuasion or denomination come together in this collective rhapsody of colour, culture, religion, food and dance. The festivities start Hindu festivals of Navratri, Durga Puja, Dussera and all this with the Muslim observance of Ramzan or Ramadan.

This month long conviviality end with Diwalli and Eid both around the same time. Festivals are great times and for me, they mean two things food and photographs. Here's a short round up in and around Bombay.

Midnight Meals at Mohammad Ali Road.

The red hot charcoal solder as the smoke rises through the tenderised chicken and kebabs into the air, wafting into my nostrils, air such divine. It's a frenzied scene as full pitched bazaar flows by with smiles and sighs under the green glow of the well adourned mosque and the orange glow from the alleviating traffic behind me. I glance at my wrist watch and it blinks backs 00:00 am at me. I frown in disbelief think out aloud, "It can't be tomorrow already, the city is alive and awake" My words at any other time would have been audible but today they seem to have been drowned by the life around me.

"Aao Aao Sahb, Mensahb .. Humare Badiya Khana Khao", "{Come one and all try out our delecious fare} shouted the man next to me in his crisp white kurta and colourful skull cap. Seeing that I was paying him some eye contact he diverted his sales touts to my directions.
People think Indian Bazaars are haphazard, I disagree each market has a finely planned out anatomy. Just like when you're in a department store and you find the Womens section on the first floor, childrens on the second, and mens wear on the third or sometimes on the fourth depending on where they want to put the lifestyles stuff. In the same way the midnight bazaar has womens shoes, everything from skilettos to juttis on the outer rim. There is also other stuff hair-bands, clothes, costume jewellery etc etc but since I'm not the target consumer I ignore. I by pass the shoes with out second look and move on directly to the good stuff, the food. Back to the anatomy we have the dazzling variety of methais [sweets] and food of all shapes and sizes on the left. Food Court Style yet outdoor very cool.

I was there for the sweets and Suleman Usman Bakery was the place to enjoy them. Phirnis, Maalpuas yum. I lapped down a rich and creamy kesar Phirni till my plastic spoon scrapped the bottom of the terrecota cup it was served in. The Maalpaus pure heaven served hot with their crispy brown honey dipped sweet exterior and their custard creamy interior melting in you mouth as your palate just wanted more. Sensory overload.

Making Maal Puas.
[Maalpuas beeing made afresh. Umm..]

You want a piece of this and you're Bombay you could try this walk beeing planned [here], I hear it's filling up fast.


I didn't have the honour or the pleasure of particpating nine nights and ten day, this festival of dance, music and celebration. But Charu of A time to reflect did, read her account and extract some vicarious pleasure, you know I did.


Goddess Kalli

In a words of Rahul of livinghigh, a self-described "Bengalli expat in Bombay"

"Why do I feel like sighing and sniggering, when I see the Bong expats in joints
like RK Mission and Bandra Park and Shivaji Park, clustered around a Durga
murti? It strikes me as a cheap imitation of a Baghbaajaar or a College
Square or a Maddox Square in Calcutta. I always knew I was a snob, but so
much a Bengali chauvnist snob, I didn't guess"

Anyways, I'm not picky about my Raj Bhog and today being Dusera I headed for the Durga Pandal at Shivaji Park. Fun it was I took some picture, eat some stuff I could n't quiet pronounce, all involving fish. Left there content as a cat. Thank god my mother wasn't there otherwise I would have spent most of my time at the sari vendor.


I'm feeling lazy let the pictures do the talking and before I forget.

Happy Dussera Folks !!!

Ravana - Dusera 1
Ravana - Dusera 2
[Here the colour ful effigy of Ravanna that is set alight.]

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aparna said...

me went to shivaji park was crazy out there.did u have moghlai porotha????????or did u have fish chop?????me saw dhunnuchi too.also since animal sacrifice is no longer allowed the pujo asso in my area deciced to smash the coconut and put red powder onit to symbolise the act of the sacrifice.happy dussera to u too

aparna said...

hey the malpuas are huge!!!!!!!the one my om makes are 6 cm in diameter

Akshay said...

Aparna - I did promise you that I'd cover Durga Pujo during Chathurti time, remember. Mughali Porotha and Fish Chop to be honest I had both ! I'm such a glut.
The malpuas were great not to mention oilly but it's an once a year thing isn't it. Such try some you're moms' sometime.

Melody said...

Firstly - WOW !! The pics are as breath-taking as always! Excellent!

Secondly - a close friend was just trying to convince me this afternoon to go to Mohammad Ali Road with him for a Midnight meal.... but somehow all these roadside meats scare me? How hygenic are these places anyway? Or does it really matter? And am I really a true Mumbaikar if I don't try it??


niki yokota said...

wow~ the pix look sooo dynamic in big size! thanx akshay...
i wanna try that Phirni! droolzz~. happy dussera!!!

gawker said...

Man, your posts are torture on a hungry stomach. Note to self : Do not come here in the morning without having had breakfast.

Ashu M said...

Nice Dussehra pictures ... drooling at the sight of all the goodies!

charu said...

happy dusshera to you too :)
the maalpuas pic is brilliant! captures some sort of movement is a still life situation!

Akshay said...

melody - firstly thank you,
secondly, if you can't stomach the food don't eat it there is no cowardice in that but you must give mohammad ali road a visit. I'm gaurentee you'd could carry out a phirni and a bag full of memories.

niki - konnichiwaa, how are you doing ?
I feel like some toraya wagashi myself.

gawker - I should put that put that down as a dislaimer somewhere, seeing the number of law suits flying around - just kidding. Well you can alway enjoy a vicarious meal.

ashu - isn't you're mom in town cooking for you ?

charu - thank you. Did I mention the maalpuas where great.

niki yokota said...

my goodness! do u know toraya wagashi????? LOL
yeah we love toraya. especially sweet potatoes cake. thank u very much!!!!

Geetanjali said...

Drool - that's the thing I love about festivals : all the sweets gong around, though I do hate it when other food is forced down on me ;-)

Can't wait for Diwali when Ma will make gujiyas and malpuas at home...slurp!

KJ said...


pls have pity on us " the tortured souls" who can only drool & slurp over ur pics of malpuas & phirnis!!!!!here in the UAE, during Ramadan, we cannot have anything in office.

And udhar u r torturing us / rubbing salt on our wounds (zakhmon pe namak chidakna)
LOL :-)

wonderful pics, amazing as always....


Totally agree with Gawker.