Such lovely names: Crawford Market, Victoria Terminus, Flora Fountain, Hornimon Circle. All these places have new official Indian names now, but there’s something charming about the old British names. They have a lovely ring to them.
Crawford Market was, until very recently, the biggest wholesale market for fruits and vegetable for Bombay. The little break in the tarp overhead lets in a long, vertical strip of light into the alleys of fruit and vegetable sellers, shoppers, men that carry in heavy baskets of produce on their heads, cats and dogs, broom sellers and beggars. I sat by Osmanbhai’s stall ( in the foreground, holding up a Pomegranate) and sketched while a chaiwala brought me piping hot cups of tea, courtesy of Osmanbhai. Nothing like a good cutting chai to keep me sketching.
This fruit seller spent a good hour lovingly arranging the fruit in his stall. A stand full of fruit is lovely, but it made me wish I were here in the mango season when the air is filled with the heady scent of mangoes ripening in crates of hay.
A mosque at the end of a busy street outside Crawford Market. Someone asked me how I capture the mad chaos and activity of India, and I tried to explain it. This is what I do: I watch the scene for a while. After a bit I start to see a pattern to the madness: what looks like a random moving mass of people has a flow and direction. Then I start to draw, always remembering that even though I’m drawing in the details: the people, the cats, dogs, cars, all of that, there is an underlying pattern. My challenge? To not make the scene look too structured and organized. This means drawing in the people that move against the general flow of the crowd, the handcart that parks itself in the middle of a street and disrupts the traffic…
Victoria Terminus Station. A huge Gothic structure built in 1887. The busiest train station in India with 18 platforms and what looks like a million people on them.
And some people I saw at the station. On a quiet Sunday.
Closeby is Hornimon Circle. (mention this to anyone and they will tell you Bombay’s first Starbucks is nearby) I didn’t go to Starbucks. But I did stop at a nearby Frankie stall and have 2 mutton frankies. At Hornimon Circle is St. Thomas Cathedral, an old church built in 1718. Step inside the church and you are transported to another world. The walls on the inside of this church have quaint eulogies to British soldiers who died in battle all over India.