Last Sunday evening, for the first time since I started this blog, I decided to go for a walk somewhere purely in order to sketch. I packed a little jolna pai with two sketchbooks, my Koi travel watercolours and my assorted pens and pencils and set off from home. It was around five and quite cool. I kept walking down R.K. Salai and didn't spot anything particularly sketch-worthy except the grotesque-ly ugly city centre building and so I kept walking till I hit Marina Beach.
The beach was teeming with people - merry-go-rounds of different sizes, hand operated and motor operated. Push-carts with street food, kids on a roller skating rink, hawkers, beggars, in short I didn't know where to start. I was also feeling a bit self-conscious because its been a while since I've sketched on location at such a crowded place.
I spotted a really colourful merry-go-round and was contemplating squatting on the sand to draw it when I realised there was a bajji stall nearby. The stall was a simple push cart with a really lovely display of hanging molagas - so typical. Lovely huge green chillies. I immediately felt like drawing the stall too. The stall was run by a young lady and another elderly lady and they had put out multi-coloured plastic stools. I guessed you had to buy something from them to get to sit on a stool. But sitting on the stool would give me a comfy vantage view of the merry-go-round as well as the hanging molagas so of course for this reason and no other (heh heh) I ordered a piping hot plate of bajjis.
I don't like the green chilly bajji and they had a lot of other veggies on offer so I chose a mixed platter of raw banana, potato and onion bajjis. The merry-go-round sketch got done while I waited for my order. The bajji stall sketch was done while I nibbled slowly at my delicious hot snack. It was served with a small cup of green chutney which I didn't touch since we all know what happens the day after that chutney.
Very happy with my fried snack I handed the young lady a large note and she had to send it somewhere to get me my change. At this point the elderly lady plonked herself in front of me with a large tub of onions and started peeling and slicing them. Her speed was astonishing. This is a really quick sketch because she really went through a pile of a dozen onions in less than five minutes.