I have not been to the market for my meats and vegetabels for some time now, so I do not know how the present phenomenal rise in prices has affected me. But when I was going, it was a pleasant experience.
My bazar days were always Sundays. Since on other days I had to go to work, and going to the market was an indulgence and not a chore. William Coutto, my good friend and in those days the chief phototakeouter of the Times, after having conducted his pride of Dobeman to their regular, morning walk to the Cooperage and Bandstand, would ring me up. I would put on my bazaar clothes, walk down the street and through Churchgate station to the other side on Queen's Road.
Coutto wold arrive in a cab, pick me up, and we would proceed to Crawford Market. The Crawford Market is the only truly composite market in the city, selling everything from peacock to pin, as its own advertisements used to declare. Yes, there was a time when it used to advertise, a poster with a splended peacock on it, now it could not be bothered.
Our bazaar would begin with the fish market, on the Palton Road side. I would shop for the week. He would buy prawns and black pomfrets and crabs and angel fish. I would buy a single pomfret, get the fisher-woman to clean and fillet it for me. It would be consumed in the afternoon, a Chinese pickled fish, courtesy recipe book.
We would then proceed to the beef market and my friend's favourite butcher, where he would buy several klilos of beef for his dogs. Then present the butcher with a half-pack of American cigarettes and collect bones from him.
For himself, he would buy chicken, live and fluttering. There would be a lot of middle-class Maharashtrians from Girgaum and Prathna Samaj and Gai Wadi and Khotachi Wadi buying poultry. The chicken is the Maharastrian's favourite meat. I once travelled with a group of Marathi-language newpaper reporters through Marathwada. It was a state government organised trip. And every morning the official accompanying us would enquire what we would like for lunch and dinner, si that he could telephone a head to our next destination and inform them. And invariably, every day they would say: "Komri."
But to come back to Crawford Market, I would concentrate on the mutton market, and I would buy here a nice piece of brain, soft and velvety. Later, at the tiers of vegetable stalls in the main building, I would buy baby tomatoes, and tiny green chillis, and spring onions with long stocks, and a sprig to kothmir.
All these, on returning home, I would gently cook with the brain in a well-gresed pan, and break two eggs on top of them, and have for breakfast, sitting at my large working desk, after pushing aside the typewriter. Since it would be Sunday, I would not require the typewriter. Ah, happiness!