Before Fraser Town got its Z-for-Zorro rechristening as Frazer Town, it was the hood that inspired several of the characters that came alive in artist Paul Fernandes’ sketches of the city. Dainty aunties in sun dresses under umbrellas crossed paths with dashing lads heading home with guitars hanging over their shoulder; birds crossed the Under-Bridge; Thoms’ was the establishment of choice for gentle-folk looking to “get friendly” over aloo buns.
The supreme crunch of the tiny samosas at Albert Bakery lingers still in the ears of Fraser Town’s residents. The echo has been picked up by the sonar of INTACH, the Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage, which returns with its first city walks in three years as part of a weekend festival, ‘Towns Of Our City.’ At the centre of this weekend’s activities is an exhibition, pieced together from the photos, memories and recipes of old residents of the town. (Fingers crossed the Albert samosas are included?)
You’ll never be able to head to Ritchie’s for weekend kebabs without noticing the ornate foundation slab at the corner of Coles Road and Mosque Road again.
Playing host over April 22 and 23 will be INTACH’s volunteer band of architects, entrepreneurs, writers and residents, who will schlep around Fraser Town, Richards Town and Cooke Town to conjure up their histories of beauty and neighbourliness. You’ll never be able to head to Ritchie’s for weekend kebabs without noticing the ornate foundation slab at the corner of Coles Road and Mosque Road again.
“We chose these three adjoining localities since they lend themselves to a truly multi-cultural experience,” Meera Iyer, INTACH’s co-convener, says. The show, on display at Milton Park and Richards Park, “is an idea entirely put together by the volunteers from the area who have sourced these tiny legacies from families that have lived around Fraser Town for several generations.” She won’t let us sneak a peek at any ahead of time. However, we feel reasonably certain, as local townie Rhea Raghavan says, that we will finally understand “all the things that get listed in Fraser Town Times.”
Instead, here’s a brief bpb list of our favourite historic ‘Town’ things:
Thom’s Bakery: Where we regularly purchase enough murukku, Congress peanuts, avare spice mix to last a month, only to polish it off in a week. ½, Wheeler Road, Fraser Town.
Promenade Road Monuments: You may be thinking of the gorgeous St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, but we’re thinking of our pal Shankar, who always has time for a smile and a wave in between mixing masalas for the bhel puri at Shankar’s chaat-spot. Shankar Bhel House, 131, Wheeler Road, Fraser Town.
A Secluded Garden: Slip behind the Holy Ghost Church for the calmest, dreamiest afternoon nap. (No, we don’t have a snack recommendation other than ‘don’t eat on church premises.’) For a secular diversion, Paul Fernandes’ store, Apaulogy, is just across the road. Sagayapura, Richards Town.
Mutton Biryani: Mrs Noor must be called in advance for an order of her monumental mutton biryani and ‘Muzaffar’ dessert; how else will you ensure that time stands still for you? Mrs Khan’s Kitchen, 2nd Cross, Hutchins Road, Fraser Town, call 080 25475853.
Dil Pasand Tea House: This tiny bakery often gets over shadowed by its many shawarma serving neighbours, but if you want to break from the meat and Mayo rolls, try a slice of their coconut cake and finish off with a Sulaimani Chai. No 50, Mosque Road, Fraser Town.
Getting there: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a spot on their walks which costs Rs 200 per person. The exhibition will be on at Richards Park on April 22nd and at Milton Park on April 23rd, from 7 am to 7 pm. Check out their Facebook page here for more updates.
Image Credit: Paul Fernandes
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