Monthly Archives: June 2016

Focus 12: What is the Clothing Style of Your Country?

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A country is often recognised by the clothing its people wear. Some countries have a traditional costume like the Scottish kilt, the Korean hanbok, the Punjabi shalwar or the rugged denim jeans worn by cowboys.

Clothing serves as a protective cover against weather whilst also giving the body necessary privacy. Clothes have adapted with time, weather conditions, lifestyle, type of work performed and fashion. Some countries lead the fashions, some strive to keep their traditional dress.

                    ‘Clothes maketh a man. ‘

                    Clothing speaketh about the country’

Different clothes tell us different stories. They are like pages of history and geography, communicating not only the weather conditions and historical influences, but speaking of finer elements like type of fabric, its colour, artistic weaves etc. For example the  varying Ikat designs of Indonesia, Orissa and Cambodia, the Scottish and Irish Tartan checks as compared to those of Chennai, India. Each design is unique to each country. Clothes also tell us about the wearer’s status and work performed. The labourer or street vendor will wear a casual attire , maybe or coarse and durable material as compared to an elite customer who may prefer to dress in more stylish and fancy clothing.

Let’s focus on clothing we see at our local markets. Do they tell us any information about that country?

  1. The Saree – from India

Who said the saree is a cumbersome, long and uncomfortable piece of clothing? Most women wear this 5 metre colourful cloth ‘the saree’ with ease and aplomb whilst doing a dozen different tasks – driving a scooter, carrying baskets on their head or sweeping the street. Just as the saree can dress up the Indian bride or business executive in expensive silk and chiffon, it is also used by the common woman on the street who would prefer an easy, washable and quick dry fabric.

Indian women wearing saree and carrying loads on their heads in market

Indian women wearing saree and carrying loads on their heads in market

 

Sari clad vendor in Rythu bazaar.

Sari clad vendor in Rythu bazaar.

2. The Kenyan Kanga and Djellaba

 Clothes must suit the temperature and weather. Loose flowing fabric is worn in most African and Middle Eastern countries. Some are multi-coloured to distract or highlight the wearer from the harsh sandy environment. Yet, at times soft pastel or earthy, sand colours are used for Kaftan’s in men’s clothing.

Courtesy: Internet A Kenyan women in bright coloured loose fabric

Courtesy: Internet A Kenyan women in bright coloured loose fabric

3. The Abeya or Burqha worn by Muslim women

The long, black, head to toe Abeya or Burqha is the traditional attire worn by most Muslim women, mostly in the Gulf countries, when they leave home to go outdoors. Men wear the Kandor. This outer garment shields the wearer from the harsh sun and desert sand. An Abeya can be as simple or as stylish!  Expensive embroidery, lace work and beads adorn ceremonial wear, and a simple one is worn casually.

Burqha and veil used in Gulf regions

Burqha and veil used in Gulf regions

4. Chinese Qipao and Cheogsam

The qipao, cheogsam, Mao suit are Chinese clothing styles. A cross collar, the right lapel over the left and a sash around the waist are highlights of this traditional and periodic costume. However, in recent times locals wear them only during festivals, preferring rather to don the shirt/pant/jeans for ease while doing daily tasks.

Chinese Qipao dress

Chinese Qipao dress

5. Folk or country costumes

Rural or countryside costumes are rustic in style made from extra durable cotton or denim fabric, especially in colder countries. In Europe women wear long skirt, tight at waist and a loose covering blouse. Different region boast their particular style. Head gear like scarves, caps, hats worn keep out the wind and cold.

Italian traditional rural costume

Italian traditional rural costume

6. Headgear from Different Countries. 

The Kasbati, the ceki, the fez and finally the soft mulmul white scarf  are all typical Turkish headgear, varying through the different historical times. Today, most Turkish women cover their heads with the white scarf ties tight around the head and neck, at times adorned with fancy pins or brooches.

Turkish women making fresh food at marketplace

Turkish women making fresh food at marketplace

7. The Yemeni and African ‘Kheffiyah’ 

Men cover their head, tying the chequered cloth in a triangular way. Colours preffered are mostly brown, black, red or cream. One end of the Keffiyah hangs loose over the back. During a sandstorm or intense summer heat, the scarf is used to loosely shield nose and mouth

Traditional headscarf worn in the Middle East Countries

‘Keffiyeh’ – Traditional headscarf worn in the Middle East Countries

7. Clothing in Kazhakstan and Countries with Cold Climate

Brrr….rr the cold wind blows in the Northern regions. Keeping warm is necessary as you work indoor or outdoor. Women are covered in head scarf and winter woollens as they sit on the side street in Kazakstan selling bottles of milk.

Milk vendors - Kazhakstan

Milk vendors – Kazhakstan

Winter baazar and street stalls and pushcarts selling winter wear are commonplace in most markets of Europe, New Zealand, China, Nepal and many other countries with cold weather. People working outdoor wear appropriate winter clothing.

Stall selling winter woollies

Stall selling winter woollens

……And so the clothing stories go on from one country to another. Designs, fabric pattern, wearing styles. Styles to suit the weather, work and wearer.

What is the particular clothing of your country?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

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World Palate Recipes: Street Food of Mumbai (Bombay)

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Mumbai, (earlier Bombay) the city conjures a zillion images to the mind. From the vibrant, ever busy people, crowded trains and dabbahwallahs, Bollywood posters looming large, to the hawkers selling street food, push carts laden with mangoes and the iconic Red bus and black and yellow taxis, Mumbai has the stench, squalor and zest and pride!

Mumbai is a living, breathing city! A city whose people make it all happen.

Iconic Red bus and yellow top taxi, Mumbai

Iconic Red bus and yellow top taxi, Mumbai

To feed its millions of people, the city boasts of hawkers at every nook. Food sold at street kiosks is more convenient than a tight space at an Irani restaurant for the Mumbaikars. Its cheaper, tastier and fresh. Eating out is almost a culture – first are the early morning white-capped Vasai wallahs, train commuters and beach side joggers who satisfy hunger with a quick bite of vada pav or maska omelette. As the sun sets and crowds gather at the three beaches (Chowpaty, Juhu and Versova),dozens of street peddlers and hawkers get busy, preparing and instantly serving the hungry young crowds.

Vada Pav, Bhel Puri, Paani Puri, Jhunka Bhakr, Kanda Bhajji, Papdi chaat and Sev… tantalising treats for the taste buds as you walk the crowded streets. Braving the summer heat and a weak stomach, I decided to plunge headlong into a trip down memory lane to satiate my taste buds.

Vada Pav at Dadar

This is a MUST TRY! A top favourite with Mumbaikars, this simple, substantial dish is popular as ‘on the go breakfast’ by the train commuters and the Vasai wallahs who come into Mumbai suburbs in search of various work at factories, offices and container ports.

Sivaji Park and Gokhale Road, Dadar, are the best places to indulge into the buttery iconic Vada Pav, a Potato savoury dumpling sandwiched between soft, fluffy buttered bread. A spicy, fried carbohydrate rush!

Bhel Puri, Sev Puri near Versova Beach and Juhu Beach

Care for a tangy chutney spiced with fresh coriander chutney and spoonfulls of fine sev (fried gram flour vermicelli)? Head to Mumbai’s beaches at sundown. Along with the amateur football players and kite fliers, these are the best places intown to taste  Bhel Puri, Paani Puri, Sev Puri. For a healthy drink ask for fresh tender coconut water from adjacent hawkers. Loaded with plenty of mineral goodness, coconut water is a refreshing drink and contamination free.

hawker selling tender coconut

hawker selling tender coconut

Most of these tangy snacks are eaten for their taste, rather than nutrition. Indians, by large also like to eat with their families or friends, so an outing to enjoy the sea breeze will mostly end up savouring some street snacks.

Cutting Chai and Makhan Toast

Even I, as a Mumbaikar stumbled off guard, when the stall owner asked me ‘Madam, cutting chai ? Ya poora cup?’ Well, it only meant whether I wanted my tea strong and cut by half, as consumed here. The small glass reminded me of a vodka shot glass. Large aluminium tea kettle, strewn paper cups thrown into a nearby dirty, plastic bucket and the smell of strong boiled tea leaves and a hint of ginger completed the street picture. Cutting chai can be taken  more often, as one cup is divided / cut into 2 or 3 portions.

Tea stall in Mumbai

Tea stall in Mumbai

Falooda, Kebabs and Ramazan Treats at Haji Ali and Bandra Mosque

Mumbai is a cosmopolitan and very liberal city, a home to many communities like Jews, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs along the very vernacular Marathi speaking man and the outer Mumbai rural population. Thus festivals, cultural programmes and food are all laced with a tinge of  communal harmony.

Come Ramzan (Ramadan) the popular Mohammed Ali road, Haji Ali Dargah, Byculla, Crawford market witness a change of food scene. In preparation for Iftar ( breaking of fast at sun set), streets are laden with fresh fruit cuts – watermelon, mango and kharbuja. Meat balls on sticks are wood fired on makeshift gas burners or charcoal bhatti.

Kebabs at street corner, Mumbai. Courtesy: Internet. static.guim. co.uk

Kebabs at street corner, Mumbai. Courtesy: Internet. static.guim. co.uk

Hawkers outside Colleges and train stations.

Indulging in chai discussions, preparatory talks for exams,  women meeting outside the same train station every day is a common practice.  Where else to relax with friends and food? Right on the streets outside most colleges ( SNDT, Mithibai, Parle, Ruia, KEM medical) dozens of hawkers set up semi permanent stands, mostly by day. Profit is counted only after the ‘hafta’ or bribe payment is given to the police watchmen, the area’s kingpin and municipal workers who make their regular rounds at the sites. The unwritten law goes ‘Live and let live’…Mumbai is a city for all.

The rich man, common man and beggar on street.

Food is for all. Come stand and savour it with the warm and simple Mumbaikar.

What is your favourite street food in Mumbai? Where did you eat?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer