|Yazdani Bakery, Fort, Mumbai|
The 70 year old Yazdani Bakery at Mumbai's original CBD of Fort is one of the last few remaining functioning Irani bakeries in the city. I always make it a point to go there when I am in the vicinity, regardless of what brings me to the southern extreme of the city of Mumbai.
Stepping into Yazdani makes me feel as if I have dropped into the house of family elders. Or neighbours. In the 1980s.
The spartan decor reminds you of that period. As does the sense of stillness and calm that enshrouds you the moment you step in. One always ends up meeting one or more members of the Irani family that runs it. Each has their own quirk and will greet you in their own way. With warmth and wryness typical of the 80s. If the building reminds you of a mini pagoda, that is probably because it once housed a Japanese bank.
The smell of warm bakes will embrace you with a hug even before you sit down at the sharing tables alongside others who too have come here to catch their breath and to feel refreshed before they step out again.
What should you have there? Naram pav with maska. Or bun maska (sweet, fruit bun). Or bun maska pav (crusty bread which is soft inside). Maska means butter. Salted butter and they slather it rather generously here. Do order a chai. Milky, sweet and very refreshing. Dunk your choice of treat in it and eat. If you are feeling rich, go for the apple pie. It is loaded with raisins for some reason. During yuletide go for the Christmas cake. It is loaded with rum.
Do not expect to find parking, toilets, wifi or air-conditioning here. A member of the younger generation of the family that own (who is in his 50s) will crib and tell you about his father and uncles stand in the way of progress. "Soon everyone will go to Starbucks. This place has no future. Achha, now sit, sit. Have something"
You will go back. Doomsday prophecy notwithstanding. And will meet him. Or his father. Or his uncles. And feel 8 once again.
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