Saturday, December 20, 2008

power to the pao's

It’s three nine in the morning.

A bad back is keeping me awake. I was sitting by the window staring out. And pretty much smiling as cars whizzed by.

Really, this city does not sleep. Or maybe it’s just the season and a Friday night put together. But even the promenade in front of my house had groups of people on their bikes, or clustered around their cars. Smoking, drinking coffee from the cycle coffee guys and generally shooting the breeze.

Then at three sharp the cop van slowly rolled by, asking folks to get a move on. Nothing rude, or strict or cop like. Just a general, “ okay it’s three am, let’s clear the promenade.” And the groups slowly drank up their coffees and moved on.

All easy, and civilized. And so Mumbai.

Then there are the anglo Indians. Or the catholics. Or the Christians. Or the maca paos. Or the macs. (Okay they are called this because of their love for Pao, that yummy square bun like thing, so popular here. Tip: Add butter to a hot pao, dip it in your tea, and go straight to heaven).

They had a Christmas Bazaar at the Bandra Gym today. And even non members (sigh) could buy a fifty buck coupon and enter. The grounds were packed. A salsa performance, followed by Jim reeves songs, followed by Christmas Carols, followed by Goan songs were being broadcast from a make shift stage. And a large square of stalls formed the centre.

Christmas cakes. Cookies. Brownies. Aunty Maria’s chocolates and marzipan. Edna’s goan sausages. Clarrise’s vindaloo and sorbatel. Little pao stuffed with mince. Patties. Chops. The list is endless.

The place was packed, booze was cheap and overflowing. And the atmosphere was festive. People were eating, wishing each other, dancing, getting quietly sloshed.

The world was at peace. And Aunty Maria and Uncle Barry should stand for elections.

Really, maybe I’m biased because my parents grew up in Anglo Indian schools. My dad in particular had a huge number of Anglo Indian friends when he lived in Pune. Our neighbours down the street in my grandparent’s home were Anglo Indian’s. And they were for sure the coolest, the most fun loving people on that street.

But I think it’s more than that. I think the Maca Pao’s have just managed to hold on to their sense of community. And their way of life.

And more importantly, their idea that good food, good wine and good times are more important than good car, good TV, and good gold jewellery in the bank locker.

So more power to them. And more spirit of the Christmas bazaar to the world.


I Wear It Like A Tattoo said...

u paint such a vivid picture of city life...that too one like dream city really

Sometimes i find myself drifting off..imagining myself in those high rise buildings of bombay...those apartments of mystery...just watching

sometimes going down the elevator exchanging glances, sometimes smiling even but never knowing what really happens behind closed doors...going out to the beach..kicking the sand...a friend is rambling..were laughing and the sea breeze is subliminal!!

thank u for this peice...i'm now in dream mode :) said...

AGG there is a book of short stories set in the Poona Cantonment area. Delicious stories. Sachapir street Main street area stories. Your Dad if he spent time in Poona in an Anglo Indian School must have gone to Bishops. which also features in the book which is called Poona Company.