In Calcutta, lore has it that if you called for tiger’s milk, people would direct you to Hogg Market. I’m not sure what exotic purpose tiger’s milk may have served but it is an excellent stand-in for all sorts of obscure knick-knacks one finds oneself suddenly in immediate need of at those odd junctures of life. New Market — as Hogg shaheb’s market soon came to be called — stored them all. It was the city’s first departmental store, it’s first mall, and contrary to contemporary aesthetics, it is a lovely piece of red-brick architecture.
I love shooting in New Market, although my height — five foot nothing — creates a bit of an impediment. The place is always packed, and I never manage to get the angles I want for the lack of towering undisturbed over people’s heads. Thus the lovely old buildings — to be demolished and replaced by ugly chrome and concrete structures during my lifetime, I’m certain — have to shot at an angle that does little to capture their crumbling elegance, and people usually come in at awkwardly edited shapes.
Still, there are moments in that loud, fast-moving crowd of such earthy serenity, of such airy effervescence, that time seems to slow, the jostle seems to stop, and a silent contentment descends upon the scene.
And I write awful poetry in prose to capture it 🙂