Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The humble panwala Bandra Reclamation .

He sees me every morning going to play tennis and does not forget to greet me , he sits opposite my friend Kaleem bhais stall ..Kaleem Bhai makes puris and vegetable kheema for the migrant ricksha drivers and all this is close to the Bandra Sunni Mosque where my dear friend Ahad Bhai reads the Urdu newspapers he is one of the person's in my recent post Peaceful Muslims of Bandra and that is the beauty of Bandra we are one as Muslims though we may hail from different sects .
There is no sectarian hate animosity among the Muslims of Bandra .
And the panwala is a Muslim so I thought why not shoot his video and his picture it made him happy important but I politely refused the Banarsi pan he offered him .
As my dad was from Lucknow he ate pan and so did both my grandmothers they had their own ancestral pandan
My wife's family gave me a pandan on my wedding day and it was made of brass but when Asif Shakir my son got married in Lucknow my wife gave the pandan to a brass dealer and bought brass pots Matkis that are given to the girls family.
Most houses where pan is the staple pastime you will find a pandan and Ugal Dan for spouting out the pan spit .
But as Lucknow had culture adab tehzeeb in those days it was a taboo to spit the pan red on the walls unlike what you find at government offices people here love to spit the wall red with a vengeance .
Pan is served during weddings and also after majlis in some places .
Silver foiled pan the best was at Strand Cinema made by a Sindhi guy and next to his stall was the Sindhi guy who made gurda kaleji seeks and Sindhi producers families would come from Bandra Warden Road to savour it .
There was another pan that was very famous and cost Rs 10000 this was sold at Bachu Bhai ki Wadi at Foras road Shuklaji street it enhanced your gun power and languishing libido I had a a very rich friend at Oberois where I worked he was a jeweller and whenever he struck gold he bought us to the mujra ladies I hated songs and the Pakeezah styled women.
My friend I remembered was offered a nubile virgin going to a convent school for Rs 50000 early 70 s .
I just walked away to go and get drunk away from this house of Sodom and Gomorrah .
He took us to Congress house another mujra joint and I just could not digest the dance or the chemical romance .
So in short the pan has a lot of interwoven memories and too much of red.
Later when I began documenting the red light areas the hijra street walkers survived on pan and it was a painful moment of street nostalgia .
The madams who own the cages eat a lot of pan and the pimps in white safari suits with red lips who stalked customers at Arthur Bunder road where there were sophisticated who're houses like Green line Guest house and Paradise .
The bhais of Strand Cinema loved pan and 14 goli chilum.
I wish I had a camera only my memory that is serving up words as images .
Chandul opium dens were very famous too those days .
And this pan made me digress from Bandra to those old days of yore .