Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Word "Dance" And A Childhood Memory

Friday Word

As per Mona the word this week is "Dance". So here goes..

Do weathervanes tell you the direction of an ill wind?
Are her footsteps the prelude to a dance of death?
Hair aflame, eyes insensate
She reaches for me
Dance with me she whispers
As she takes my hand
Powerless to resist
I feel my lifeblood ebbing from me
A cold chill seeps thru my being
I fall away from myself
Soul abandoned
Chains undone
Her laugh a requiem for me
Am barely a pause in a collective conscious
A wail lost in the wind
Archaic, dated and defunct
Done, ruined and gone.

Memories That Pop Out Of Nowhere

Usually memories that are buried deep come forth when there are associations such as food, smell, color or sound. But this one is a childhood memory that just popped in to my head while I was walking to my desk at work. In Bombay, in this neighborhood called Dadar, there is this traffic circle (no longer a circle I guess with flyovers over that place). On the corner next to Chandu’s sweet shop used to be this lovely little bakery/eatery run by Parsis. The name of the place was Farmer Brothers.

They used to have these amazing cakes that were called mawa cakes (about the size of a small muffin). They used to have the most amazing golden brown crust. Biting in to one felt like I was in epicurean heaven! It was rich, delightful and scrumptious.

My dad used to work for the Indian railroads and the train station at Dadar used to be one of the main stops for long distance trains. Whenever he was done with his trip on those on the way back sometimes, he would stop by Farmer brothers and pick up a few cakes for us. We would wait expectantly for dad to show up and look for the little white paper bag. I even remember the bag, which had a picture of a hen and two eggs next to it. Me and sis coined a term for the cake. We used the Marathi term for a hen “komdi”, so this cake was a komdi cake.

I had a particular way of eating one too. I would unwrap the paper that was around it with crumbs of cake sticking to it. Before I even touched the cake I would lick the paper free of any cake crumbs left on it.

We hardly ever ate out as kids so this was sort of a rare but welcome treat. When we moved from near Central Bombay to the Northern part and then did not have much of a chance to sample the cakes again.

That was not the last of the place for me though. It used to be a haunt for me and *A* after we were done for the day to have a cup of tea, snack and talk for a while.

Sadly Farmer brothers, the store as we knew it is now long gone. It got reincarnated as a Chinese place, run by the same folks. I am not sure what has happened to it now. Do any of you people from Bombay know? When I visit I hardly have time to get out. Bombay repels and draws me in at the same time, and I always have mixed feelings about the place, maybe next time I visit I will try to get out a bit more and soak in the city.


Aditi said...

as always a fabulous interpretation of the word..and a wonderful poem..
mawa cakes.. makes my mouth water although i visit the railway bakery .. dunno atb the place u talk abt.. but yes.. love them cakes..

deepsat said...

nice interpretation of the word sanjay!!!

keep it coming!!!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Sanjay!

This was definitely one of your darker poems, but it was no less beautiful than the other ones and I was drawn in completely...well done! I love how you work with a different emotion every Friday...I am already looking forward to the next!

Loved your reminisces. I have tasted Mawa cakes (not from Farmer Brothers though) and they are delicious! The only store I used to visit in Dadar was a place called "Kenny's", my mom used to buy her coffee and masala powders from them.

Have a great weekend, Sanjay!

Sanjay said...

@Aditi. Thank you, I am not sure what I came up with, but it's there.
I am not sure I have heard of the railway bakery.

@Deepsat.. Thanks.

Sanjay said...

@Lotus.. I am glad you liked it. Thank you for your kind words. I am not sure I can come up with something every week, somedays there is nothing you know? Maybe I should ask to do the Friday word. I already have one it's called "empty" and then I can have a empty space here as the Friday word. I know, not very original at all :)

I haven't heard of Kenny's whereabouts is it?

You have a great weekend as well. Thanks!

Lucia said...

I agree. It's a dark and wonderful poem.

I love how you describe licking the crumbs from the paper.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Your poem is lovely, an image burned on film.

I recently had the chance to eat a snack cake I'd had in my childhood, one that I hadn't had in decades, and that I remember as being heavenly. Unfortunately, the aging process has dulled my childish tastes, and it was a too-sweet treat. However, I paired it with some wonderfully bitter coffee, and that...yes...that was heavenly.

Love the new photo of you, BTW! Can I say, handsome?

Asha said...


Nice to read your childhood memories.You can create new memories next time you visit there,will be different but still new!:))

Have a great weekend,will be busy for me.

Aditi said...

new photo?

Sanjay said...

@Lucia.. Thank you! I can still remember those monents quite vividly. Quite simply no cake has ever tasted like that one again.

@Mona..Thanks. Do taste buds decline with age? I think they do, I have to look that up. So maybe that is why the cake did not taste the same?
Thanks to re the profile pic, I was a bit tired of my same ole pic so changed it.

@Asha, Thanks. I hope to see the city from a different POV next time. Enjoy your busy weekend. :)

Sanjay said...

@Aditi, yes. If you look at the top of the blog page or in my profile. Thought it needed a change.

Diana said...

I, too, loved the poem and the imagery.

Now I want cake.

patches said...

I've known more than one woman, who left a guy soulless, but I've never seen the process described in so beautifully.

I enjoyed reading about the mawa cakes. There's something special about childhood memories of food. Sweets seemed to be more special to us at younger ages because our parents prevented us from over-indulging.

Shitrint said...

another really deep poem! nicely put down sanjay! :)

i havnt been to dadar much and dunno abt the farmer brothers, tho i think ive heard the name. parsi establishments are quite famous and last for years. why, just today i had ice cream from k rustom at churchgate. its a very famous place, just in the line of Not Just Jazz By The Bay. u mightve heard the name... aah...reminds me of so many other parsi eateries, like bastani and the irani restaurants. oops i got carried away!
u take care! nice pic...

Maggie said...

Sanjay, I'm with Mona, like the new pic! And the poem, wow.

Id it is said...

"Bombay repels and draws me in at the same time, and I always have mixed feelings about the place" I know just what you mean!
Here's something I penned after I visited my 'native land' after some 12 odd years:

my land, my soil, the earth that defined me
yet, I cannot but shrink from thee.
my blood,genes, the DNA that identifies
yet,my alienation from them,all logic defies.
my home,hearth,the hang outs and colorful bazaars
yet,do I want to visit there through, and in those matchbox cars?
my rubber plant, crotons,money plants and roses
yet, my heart sinks at all the questions their dusty beauty poses.
my love,longing,and desire to be amidst the 'we'
yet,escape is all I sought since I was now the tourist 'me'.

meno said...

I read your poem out loud. It gave me shivers. Nice job mister.

Cacophoenix said...

It is kind of funny how most of our memories seem to be linked ot food, eating, cooking or watching people cook,atleast mine are. Wierdly enough Nostalgia makes me hungry too ;-)

The poetry was dark and nice. Brings out a latent emotion like the dance of death kinda thing.

Sai said...

Hey I love the poem and your interpretation of the word dance. I might try to write something later this evening.

Ahhh Farmer brother's mawa cake. Also I remember Parsi diary at Dadar circle with their excellent sutarpheni. You took me back to my childhood as well.

Sugarlips said...

Lovely interpretation of the word "dance" and you childhood reminisces made me drool :) I love mawa cakes!

Stay Beautiful..!

Fuzzylogic said...

Yum yum,mawa cakes,we used to get it in Bangalore too.It was indeed very rare for us to go out and eat too,infact we might have been taken out only once or twice by our parents if I remember.Eating out was a luxury and reserved for very special occasions.
This poem had some dark undertones but nevertheless I commend you to come up with innovative verses everytime!

NainaAshley said...

Yum! mawa cakes! those were my favorite too. I spent a considerable amount of my childhood at my grandparent's house in Dadar. We used to get our mawa cakes from a bakery called 'Highlight bakery' in Dadar. But the best mawa cakes were baked by my grandmother. She used to bake them in small paper cups in her electric oven. Those were some heavenly bites. It never occured me to ask her for the recipe(I guess I assumed she'd always be around). Unfortunately, she's very weak now and has a failing memory. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories.

Anali said...

Wonderful poem! It's always such a treat to read them. You really have a way of drawing the reader in. It's quite enchanting.

And we are on the same wavelength again with the food memories! See my new post!

Hollydolly said...

Hello Sanjay:

Loved your poem, such a beautiful play on words.

Mmmh, those cakes sound awesome.Can almost taste them. Your Dad sounds a very special man......

Have a great week



गुढीपाडव्यानिमित्त सर्वांना नवे वर्ष सुखसमृद्धी व भरभराटीचे जावो.

Orchid said...

you changed the picture on the profile.
So, you have been reminiscing :)My dad used to work in Bombay for a few yrs and we used to visit him during the holidays are right about Bombay evokign mixed feelings although I am sure mine aren't as strong as yours (I am not a native Bombayite) :)

vishakha said...

hi, came across ur blog accidentally, after reading about Farmer Bros has refreshed some fond memories of my childhood too.That corner, now has turned into a shoe mart with huge showrooms of Metro Regal,etc.Annother favourite place was Kayani's in Pune Camp which still bakes authentic Shrewsberry biscuits.

Carrie said...

I know what you mean. when I was a kid there was this dumpy taco stand that we all loved. Well they closed down and we were all sad. a few years ago my brother told me they had re-opened it. now anytime i go back home, i stock up and freeze burritos.