Monday, September 04, 2006

The View from Saturday

Saturday is a fine, fine day, don't you know. I mean, how can it not be when you spend all day doing three things you enjoy most: reading, eating, and photography.

It begins by haring across town to the British Library to be able to spend at least one hundred minutes of wonderful self-indulgence, and I also get to be a geeky student again. Then it's one of two things: a movie or photography. If it's a movie, the time I leave the cinema determines whether my camera runs away with me first or dinner does. Whatever the order, the meal usually has only one address - Crystal Restaurant near Wilson College on Marine Drive.

In a hyper-expensive city like Bombay, Crystal is a boisterous, rundown place that serves vegetarian food at prices hardly credible. Where else in Bombay could you order 14 butter rotis, 2 plates of rajmah, 1 plate of aloo jeera, 2 bowls of kheer, and 1 bottle of water and pay only 175? And to say the food is merely superlative is to insult it. I think it's the best North Indian food you will eat - outside a home... or a dhaba in Amritsar, I'm told.

I studied not very far from Crystal and ate away my undergraduate years there. Those days I loved it because I was perenially penurious and Crystal was great food really cheap. Today, I love it because not only is the food great but everyone's equal - no reservations, no special treatment. Everyone wants a table, no one's willing to wait in line. The waiters don't always know your name but they smile genuinely. No culinary flatulence while "discussing the order."

As an aside, I must admit that the prices at Crystal have gone up since 1998 - the rajmah was 20 bucks to the 25 it is now. :-)

The photography? Where shall I start? This is St Thomas Cathedral in Fort, Bombay. Here, I was regaled by a constable telling me about how a student of JJ College was taking photographs near the CID headquarters and was promptly taken in as some manner of spy!

He stayed talking to me for nearly two hours. Time punctuated only by him explaining to other cops on his own beat and others that I was this worthy young woman who was doing no harm - only photographing "aamchi Mumbai."

St Thomas Cathedral, Bombay

This is the front entrance of the Institute of Science, Bombay. One of my most fun photography jaunts ever. Imagine long exposure shots - about 10-14 secs - with my subjects moving all over the place after I released the shutter!

The Institute of Science, Bombay

The epiphany for the night: Saturdays keep me sane.

The title is borrowed, I admit. Surely - but slowly - more on that later.