Trivial Matter Eats : Yazdani Bakery


In the historic backstreets of Flora fountain, where the meandering street meets pale old mildew covered buildings you'll find Yazdani Bakery & Restaurant. The aroma of freshly baked bread fills the street and its hard not to tip your head slowly backwards and follow the smell till you seat yourself on a creaky Irani chair by a spotlessly clean yet chai stained marble top table in the single storied bakery. I predict you will then raise your hand and unconsciously order a chai and probably a rich and varied composition of the following things: a well buttered bun maska or some bread pudding or a golden sponge cake or some "fiery ginger biscuits" or some Oat & Raisin cookies all baked in a wood fired oven I might add. I ordered the apple pie and followed that up with some bun maska and lots of chai. Yazdani is probably the oldest Irani bakery in Bombay and its claim to fame is the delectability of its selection of breads and Pavs. Made from an age old Irani recipe, their kadak pavs live up to their fame; their velvety interiors are soft with a hard crusty armor. Baked in fluted molds, they have the look of small, beautifully formed sandcastles.


According to Upper Crust,

BBC TV once did a story on Yazdani Bakery and interviewed Zend. 'Why is your bread so good,' the TV reporter asked the baker. 'Because it has fewer chemicals, preservatives and softeners,' he replied, 'and it only contains apart from God-given salt, water and yeast, the Irani baker's blood, toil, tears and sweat!' The TV reporter, a woman, made a face.


Yazdani is a Bombay institution not to be missed.

Here is their address if you need to pay them a visit

Zyros Zend/ P.M Irani

11/11-A, Cawasji Patel Street, Fort, Mumbai - 400 001. INDIA.

Tel. 2287 0739

They have a sense of humour too which is made obvious by their various signs and especially their tagline - "Your Daily Bread"

Our Lady of the Mount Mary Revisited

Our Lady of the Mount Mary

Come September and the streets of Bandra reclaimation are clogged with festivities. What festivities you ask ? Every September, the feast of Mount Mary is celebrated on the Sunday following the September 8th which is the birthday of Mary the Mother of Jesus.. This is a week long celebration known as the Bandra Fair.

Here is short blurb from my post on the fair last year.

Most residents of Bandra associate September with the birth anniversary of St Mary and the week long Bandra Fair that follows. All these activities are centered around one of Bandras hillocks, and the crowning glory of this hill, the 101 year old , Our Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount Mary in Bandra, commonly referred to as Mount Mary.

As most would know, Bombay was originally seven islands originally lived on by the Kohlis, it was then initiated by the Portuguese, till it was briefly held by the Marathas before the British took her over till independence. Proof of this brief Iberian tryst is quiet simple to explain, most people in India call the potato - aloo, but in Bombay it is called batata with is incidentally the Portuguese word.

I live in Bandra and drawn by the tales of home made Goan specialities Vindaloo, Xacuto and Sorpotel and not to mention Bibinca, decided to pay the fair a visit. I started at the base of the hill, at Bandra reclamation where the small entwining streets of Bandra Village end. The streets were lined with shops selling everything from strangely shaped candles to clothes to shinny new toys to candy floss and sweets to snacks and food. Hordes of people made their way slowly, in a festive spirit to the top. Kids tagged their parents hands pointing up to the Ferris-wheel and making the appropriately cute gesture, coaxing them into coughing up the money needed for some delirious fun. These are the scenes that make me as trigger happy [with the camera] as a Japanese tourist with a 2 gb flash card.
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As always I decided to visit and take some pictures.

Symbolism 1
[Religion is all about the symbolism]

Our Lady of the Mount Mary

Roadside Gameshow @ The Bandra Fair
[Street side games. The rules are simple pay the guy 10 bucks grab one of the rings, stand a fair distance and throw. If you are lucky you could walkaway with a packet or biscuits, a bar of soap or a colddrink.]

80 Sale
[More stuff for sale]

Tiny little Gods
[Tiny little Gods]

Bubble Boy

More Bubbles.

Symbolism 2
[More Symbolism]

[Flowers for Mary]

Wax works
[Painful arthritis? Give a leg. Want a baby? Give a doll. Wish for a safe journey? Give a plane.

These are just some of the candles, believers to the Mount Mary church at Bandra, offer as part of their prayers. Believers say that the offerings can help cure illnesses.

So, on the rows of stalls, just outside the church, are candles in the shape of different body parts like eyes, ears, nose, legs and other shapes like houses, dolls, aeroplanes, money, etc. Each shape has a special significance.]

Lump of Blackish Clay

Clay needs shaping

A heavy dry smoke rises up from slowly burning cotton waste. As it catches my eyes it stings and I squint in an attempt to see beyond the screen of smoke. Befoe me an open kiln is layered in mud, soft clay posts and cotton waste has been set on fire. As the soft clay slowly hardens, the narrow by-lanes of Kumbharwada outside are piqued with activity. Inside, the light from the door leads me to a dimly lit room where a middle-aged Rajabhai is sitting intently fashioning a garden pot on a slow moving potter's wheel from a lump of blackish clay. From day break to sunset he works continuously rarely stopping for a break. At his feet, a young boy stamps on moist clay, preparing it for Rajabhai and other Kumbhars.

Potter at Kumbharwada
[Kumbhar on a break]
Pumping Life into Clay
[The potter's wheel]
More than Clay - KUMBHARWADA - Dharavi - Mumbai

Kumbharwada, where a community of potters has been staying for many generations, is emblematic of the pressures on livelihood in Dharavi,Mumbai. The Kumbhars, a community of potters from Saurashtra in Gujarat, were first relocated here from South Bombay in 1932 (after two previous relocations, always to the northern edge of the city as it was defined at the time). They found a swampy, uninhabited district with plenty of space for their kilns and houses. Many years later, about 1200 families now live in Kumbharwada and most of the free space in the area has been taken up by kilns for firing the traditional earthenware pottery that the community makes for a living. There is no further room for expansion. The potters themselves are well aware that to be competitive in the long term, they must fire modern ceramics rather than earthenware. But such projects are unrealizable without the infrastructure or space for new kilns. Also bank financing is not easily available to people who have no collateral and therefore the Kumbhars must look for investment capital within their restricted family groups. In the meantime many of the younger generation are turning to new occupations such as carpentry, diamond cutting and even the merchant navy, as plastic is replacing earthenware as a material for many of the articles produced here.


Mumbai city is the natural stage for such collisions between traditional community livelihoods and the new urban reality. When I ask Ramjibhai about such a change he only turns to me and says, "We are all but clay in the hands of God and he is the only one that can shape change."

At the threshold.

Skycrapers of Clay.


You could also read my Dharavi related - Shadow City - A look at Dharavi.

The Silly Picture Thing

Alas, I've fallen victim to the Silly pic meme which seems to have enraptured the Indian blogosphere - all thanks to Saket and Sakshi.

So here goes

[Picture courtesy Nick]

This was taken at the La Meridian, Pune the time we infilterated (Yes-Men style) a seminar on Indo-French agricultural co-operation. [Yawn !!]. Anyways free food and drinks awaited us. We made full use of all facilities ... burp !