My many Indias. Bombay: Babulnath and Dhobi Ghat

Babulnath is where my grandma, uncles, aunts and cousin live. I’ve visited here since I was a little kid and it was fun to sketch some of the scenes I’ve known for a long time.

This is the tyre-puncture-repair-walla, the guy who can rescue a tyre with a long nail in it, or retread the baldest of tyres. All he used was a spanner, some strong glue and a metal bottle cap to work with.bombay_babulnath2

This is the view from Marine Drive, a promenade also known as the Queen’s Necklace because it looks like one when it is all lit up at night. It is one of the few places where you can go for a stroll, enjoy the ocean breeze, take in a sunset and sit in peace and have some space to yourself. And while you’re at it, you can enjoy some channa chor garam. I ate my share of it while I sketched.bombay_marine_drive

These two sketches were made at Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, an open air laundromat where washermen was clothes from thousands of households all over the city in over 700 little cement cubicles filled with water. It is incredible how they keep tabs of which clothes belong to whom. Clothes are washed by hand and beaten against stone to get the dirt out. They then hang to dry in the sun, and are ironed every evening. After that they are tied up in large cloth bundles that the dhobis carry back to households all over the city.bombay_dhobighat_doublespread

A close-up of a washing cubicle. A washerman stand knee-deep in water, washing a pile of clothes.


Next up: Crawford Market, Churchgate and Victoria Terminus. And all my India sketches, in this flickr set


About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in India, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to My many Indias. Bombay: Babulnath and Dhobi Ghat

  1. Steph says:

    Wow! I can’t believe they have to wash all of the clothes by hand!! Steph


  2. Karen Lewkowitz says:

    Wow! How you were able to translate the cacophony of colours and shapes into coherent sketches is wonderful!! …any tips and thought you care to share?!


    • Karen, it’s hard to describe: I will try: with a really chaotic scene, you look at it, and don’t draw for a while. YOu will see a pattern in the chaos. A direction in which a crowd moves, a method to the way figures crowd gopurams. I draw in the same pattern that I see: like you would draw the petals of a complexx flower from the inside out in spirals, I would draw a crowd in the order and direction in which it moves


  3. Karen Lewkowitz says:

    Thankyou! You have given me more to think about. Your Dhobi Ghat sketch led me to explore a documentary and a film involving a washerman. In the documentary, a fellow mentions that the work day is 20 hours long…from 4or5 in the morning to midnight. Yikes! These fellows are athletes!!
    …now I can see the lines and shapes, first I was mesmerized by the colours….


    • wow, Karen. Is this a documentary that is easily available. if so, what IS it called. Dhobi Ghat is a fascinating and unreal place. Even when I was there, viewing it from above ( I sketched it from a bridge that passes over it), it looked unreal.


      • Karen Lewkowitz says:

        Hi Suhita! It’s called Dhobi Ghat (the documentary) and was posted on You Tube by rajpandit17 on February 28, 2012. Hope you can see it!


  4. Karen Lewkowitz says:

    Found another one with gorgeous images from Johnathan Kingston/Aurora: Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, posted September 2012.


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