|Attar Wala Near Nakhoda Masjid|
We are both standing outside Aminia Hotel, famous for its meat dishes in this region. I particularly am a fan of the Special Awadhi Biryani, which I decide to pack home, anticipating more to come. There is a man beside us selling dry fruits and nuts. He makes space for two women taking photos, and even remove some of the curious onlookers easily. Two men stand behind us, talking loudly about how they would like to be shot. We ignore them, till one dude actually stands right in front of S's camera the moment she is taking a shot. She clicks calmly, and as soon as the guy moves away, deletes the photo. Occupational hazard, we surmise easily, and move along.
|Man Drinking Rooh Afza|
Shooting is a difficult and often frustrating thing to do. S is working hard to get the right shot. We stop by a guy selling cold Rooh Afza. Those who do not know what Rooh Afza is, its a fabulous syrup which smells faintly of roses and many other things, and is often mixed with water or milk.
As I start picking up one of the glasses to drink, the man who is selling them tells me to not pick it up, but rather pick the one behind it. "Don't drink that... its not cold... pick the one behind it, that's chilled." Thankfully, I accept and drain the glass and pay him 5 rupees for the drink.
|Photographer on Masjid|
We aren't the only ones taking photos. There are plenty of other cameras that we spot. One especially, because he was pretty high up, if you know what I mean. We didn't spot another female though. We were the only ones, and we were getting questioned a lot. Did we come from a newspaper? Did we sell these photos to companies? Why are we shooting here? Why are you taking photographs? What is there, anyway?
|Date Seller Who Stared At Us|
In between disdainful looks, curious stares, and questions, we cover ground. We move over to the section which is mostly about food. I run for the breads - they all have names, and are leavened mostly.
|Small Round Breads. Yum.|
|The Vermicelli Guy|
|Raw Vermicelli or Sevaiyaan|
|Sheer Khurma or Korma|
And if you don't really like Falooda, then there's always the Sheer Khurma or Korma. It is basically vermicelli cooked in milk and flavored. It is topped with dry fruits... in this case, it is a bit of coconut.
|He was clearly scandalized!|
|Chicken and fish marinated. Look at the whole marinated fish Hanging!|
|Huge Fish Hanging Outside Shop|
|And Look How Other People Are Staring At The Fish Too!|
At this point, people are sitting and eating, some on wooden benches, some on the streets. Bowls of haleem come out from nearby Islamiya restaurant, and consumed quite quickly. Some people cook meat curry and rice, and people starts eating around me. Fruits are peeled and chopped, pieces of fried goods are placed on communal bowls. We sit there and eat with them.
|People Breaking Their Fast|
|Firni, Shahi Tukda, Bowls of Vermicelli Waiting to be Added to Hot Kheer.|
We drink tea, sit and talk to the men who serve us, and answer the questions thrown at us. S gets requests of photograph, and she shoots some of them, happily.
We loiter around. Suddenly the place become super-active, with virtually every shop doing brisk business. From clothes to jewelry to food, no one is left idle. Women fight with shopkeepers, bargaining down prices. Beautiful aluminum plates, embroidered, are sold off by the dozen. Assorted desserts are plated and served.
And amid this ocean of moving people, I saw one girl, sitting there with one hand propped against the side of her face, still and slightly melancholy, watching the world go by.