‘By-cul-laah’, I repeat to myself; it seems to roll off the tongue nicely, a strong syllable ring of some place important. A sense of time gone by seems to bequeath its streets, even though most of it now lies in the shadow of concrete flyovers. I can imagine the partial shadows that once glanced her streets were those from fully branched trees . I tend to romanticize things lost or things I have never experienced or things no one may ever experience again. Others may think this romanticism is misplaced- for how can you mourn something you have never had? How can you yearn for the “Byculla Soufflé"? If you look carefully the past clings on like a phantom in a time machine - may be you will see it or may be you won’t. I went searching for the Byculla Soufflé but I didn't find it today. Lets see what I found:
The Byculla Soufflé - a very Edwardian dish, the pride of the Byculla Club in Bombay; a sweet mousse in which layers of cream are flavoured with different liqueurs - Chartreuese, Benedictine and Maraschino - and set with gelatine. Since the Byculla Club ceased to exist in 1920, to the best of my knowledge so did the Byculla Soufflé; but maybe some reader can correct me.
A sabjiwalli at Byculla market, which was Bombay's muncipal vegetable market but then Bombay became Mumbai and they shifted the market wisely to Navi Mumbai [Vashi].You can still find the freshest and cheapest vegetables at Byculla.
Potatoes neatly lined up in jute bags; our smiling salesman here is waiting for you to say yes so that he can weigh them, bag them and the collect the money.
Busy Byculla runs on chai and its the chaiwallah who runs a successful roadside business. Here is a batch of fresh steaming, sweet, strong chai in half-glasses....... Ohh I want some cutting... right now.
The colourful exterior of the Maharaj Jhunka Bhakar Kendriya.... Just look at all the brands on display here- Brooke Bond Red Label [did I mention chai before], Pepsi and if you look very closely- an upside down Coca-Cola crate holds up the pay-phone.
So what is jhunka bhakar? 'Bhakar' is basically a roti made of jawar. 'Jhunka' is a very special dish made out of besan[type of corn flower], wheat, onions and basic spices.
If you interesting in learning how to make a Bhakri The Cooks Cottage gives us a good account here.
[Byculla has temples, mosques and synagogues.]
"Palace Talkies" - "A continuous babble on and off the screen, music and shouting, the cry of pedlars selling peanuts, flaking rexine seats, the unrestrained comments of spectators – all this jarring sound under the slow light of an aging 42mm projector.
Palace Talkies stands here, painted in a regal chalk white but sadly the films it has been reduced to showing are not all that regal. A dubbed version of Basic Instinct is running, probably a platinum showing.
[A diligent accountant]
That's it for now but if you guys are looking for a larger helping of Bombay go on over to Metroblogging Mumbai.