Every year, Ramadan time presents a great opportunity to food lovers to indulge in some excellent non-vegetarian street food. There are street stall in several parts of the city and one can choose from a pick of locations.
It is also a great opportunity to do some night street photography. This year I went to MM Road on Frazer town for my annual dose. For the photos I choose to focus on the people rather than the food.
One finds a few different category of faces at the venue:
- The Hassled, Harried and Happy sellers – These are the ones profiting from the event. Hassled and Harried by the people thronging their stalls. Happy from the jingling of the cash registers.
- The Happy and Disappointed visitors – The families and kids actually celebrating the festival. The mood is jovial and happiness is absorbing the festivities in the air.
Happy and Disappointed are the young crowd, there only for the food having read about it in on the web or FaceBook or a whatsapp forward. These are “Happy” having made to the place after days of planning and coercing friends to join and the thought of boasting about it in the social conversation over the next few weeks. “Disappointed” that the chaos is so different from the calm and A/C of their mall handouts. Plus the food and its presentation does not live up to their perception of the fancy taste or presentation seen online.
- Collateral beneficiaries or sufferers – The areas where these venues are held have their other inhabitants who benefit or suffer from the events.
The beggars or pan wala or other business owners who benefits from increased crowd at the venue.
Similarly local residents and business owners who suffer due to the chaos the events create. Some take it sportively while others grimace through it waiting for the month to end
Below I present some such faces:
A young boy happy with his employment at the grilling counter. He’ll earn a few thousand rupee though the month, and learn the art of grilling kebabs
The Afghan kebab maker. The Afghan christening is only due to the cap. This stall had one of the best kebabs and I kept coming back.
Master Chef overseeing a group of 5 stalls manned by young boys selling a variety of item. A word to the boy lighting up the coal, another to the one grilling the kebabs, a handful of spices in one mixing bowl and a touch of rearrangement to the beautifully placed mutton samosas – skillfully orchestrating the entire show.
The Artful seller. This person had a very interesting style. As soon as someone would come up to his stall, he would instinctively figure out what item was the person keen on. He would then proceed to plate that item and shove it into the buyers hand. Many of a prospective buyers got converted in this way.
Focus and Efficiency was the hallmark of this cook. Thorough sweat and smoke he went on grilling plates and plates of tikkas.
The boy dreamer. Never seen anyone lost so much in thought that he would not even give what the customer was asking. A whack on the back of his head had no effect. Long live the dreamers.
The festival reveller. These kids were having the most fun. Parked outside one of the closed shops, they were in a world of their own enjoying the atmosphere to the max.
A group of tired visitors. Probably after eating to their fill, this group of young people sat down to rest their tired feet. Maybe settling down the food before going for a second round.
The unwanted accomplice. A kid with a jumbo cap perched on his mother’s lap. Scared of the chaos, not old enough to enjoy the food or the festivities – there probably because no one ta home to take care of him.
The three stages of eating – a full stomach, filling up and ,at the back still deciding
With a large numbers of kids around this guys was doing brisk business. For the kids, the food was a secondary attraction and this was the focus
The collateral beneficiary. Festivals being out the generous inner self in all of us.
Finally the sufferers. This fruit seller was hanging around hoping against hope that someone would buy some fruits. Unfortunately against all that meat, fruits were in no ones radar.
Another person suffering through the chaos of the evening. It took 5 back and forth to be able to cross the MM Road