Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back in time...

The long neglect has been tugging at my heart too. 
I've been away from metropolitan Mumbai -  in smaller, historic, Ahmedabad and how laid back life seems there.
Having lived in Ahmedabad before makes it quite familiar but it still intrigues me and I always discover something new.
This time I stayed in the old quartier of the city, which I've been wanting to do for a while.
In a 'pol' (pronounced pole) (wikipedia) , nestled in the older part of the city, are old heritage structures that seem neglected, their beauty lost on the locals. I was delighted to stay in an Artists' Residency in the pols called the 'Arts Reverie', a restored 'Haveli' of the 1920's.
Living in the pol was like a throwback to my junior school environmental science texts, to the semi rural lifestyles... 
women scrubbing clothes & pots and pans, the chime of temple bells, cows parked in the common spaces out side houses (its a common sight in older parts of Indian cities), the local flour mill and tiny grocery shops, a road-side barber, a milk man, and the friendly greetings in the neighborhood; its a  self contained microcosm of a city within a city.
I love these slow, kind & humane pockets of the city .. soon to be picture postcards alas as they get swallowed up by 'developers' & metamorphose into anonymous towers of glass & concrete perhaps.

A short walk out into the main street, and voila .. welcome to the impatient honk honk! of noisy fume-burping two-, three- or four-wheelers whose proud owners have junked their bicycles & must show off their new acquisitions.

The markets: now there's a method in their madness. There's everything under the sun & nope google maps won't work, only the locals can tell. Its the fabulous 'GeniusLoci'  of the place that leaves its imprint on you. Its a maze of unfolding treasures .. textiles to plastics, hardware, stationery, buttons and pins. I return drenched and tired but its a more fulfilling experience than a trip to the mall. Sure.

 More art..
 Bold Hussain strokes and color at the "Ahmedabad ni gufa"

The Art Book Centre is a haven for creative readers; rare books on art, history, design and architecture. What makes it interesting is its kitschy front with a million interesting details: calico prints, miniatures, photographs, traditional crafts .. a blast of color.

Its a great place to visit even if you're not buying. I like to observe and feel a place than fill my bags, usually.

Rural Fashion ..

Threads, drapes, people and the street... rural fashion fascinates me...
The clothing is weather-apt and the colors are a joy..
It's highly communicative style and is really really 'sustainable' ..  considering how little they own and how long they use it.

Aav jo!!


  1. What a fabulous post. Old quarters in some other cities have gone to seed; not this one. About communicative rural fashion, of course! On a trip to a village near Mumbai I was curious about the horizontal powder stroke some women sported on the forehead. One asked hesitantly but they were quite forthcoming & didn't mind .. it showed they belonged to the mali (gardener?) community, they said. Talking of communication, I wonder what those little danglers in the upper lobe want to say, to me it's grotesque.
    The white frocks & pyjamas the gujerati men wear, I love so much. Are they comfortable?
    Lo-ok at the heaps of color powder. Where is this picture-book haveli?

  2. Jab jaago tabhi savera, go for it Nandita, there's so much to discover in our traditions & culture, bursting with color too so right up your alley I shld think:)

  3. The pictures are them all! How did you manage to stay in a house in pol? I too want to do it, but sadly have no connections at all :(

  4. thank you Siddhartha :) Oh its an artist's residency called 'Arts Reverie' :) b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l place! you have a name sake contact for the place ;) I'll give it to you!