Monday, September 12, 2011

In touch with her roots

This one is not for sale!  Perched above the patrons' heads, Ganesha  sees and blesses all.

To J. the place where she  bought the Tamil dvds  and cds was Masjid India, so she believed. That's her comfort zone to chill out when it's her off day. That's where she has her meals and meet friends, gossip and feel the pulse of a part of Kuala Lumpur that throbs with activity.

Someone must have told her Lebuh Ampang is also Masjid India! This  was the first time for me to be on foot in this part of KL. Looking around, how could J doubt the 'India' in the name Masjid India.. The shops that feed her consumer needs just makes her feel so much at home. She pointed to a huge shop opposite the dvd shop selling  beautiful clothes, bearing the allure of Chennai. ' But I can't afford,' she says. Next to the dvd shop a goldsmith shop displays trays of gold jewellry behind the glass windows. Indians generally  wear and buy 24 k gold and they really shine. Opposite, across the busy roads, restaurants bide colourful welcome in their billboards.

Shops to match the fervour of India.  Sangeetha rings a bell as my husband's niece has the sweet name.

Food to tempt your appetite but I bet J. can give them a run  for their money when she takes charge of the kitchen. 

That morning, there was a mission to accomplish. I had brought J. to exchange a couple of dvds for cds. In her excitement she purchased wrongly. But such mistakes inevitably remain mistakes with no exchanges or returns. In her sweet voice, she explained to the shopkeeper. Though I couldn't understand  the conversation, I knew from the body language, he was not going to oblige.  Then another man, the boss was brought in to sort out the situation.  Again, it appeared a stalemate. I thought it was my turn to intervene. Assured the men the dvd was not viewed tho we have a dvd player in the house. And that a happy customer will always be happier to return !! Somehow, my words connected with the business sense  and J was allowed to have the exchange. No more  repeats though.

Please Mr Shopkeeper, I got it wrong...

As J browsed and made her selection, I got a better idea of what a shop like this offers to J. who has made the journey across seas to earn a living in a foreign country. Her savings allows her to enjoy music, carnatic, religious and popular as she manages the housework.  Everywhere I looked, the products crammed for every space available . There seem to be so many things to look at at one go! The ground floor stocks  mainly small items  and if one calls it an Indian 7 Eleven outlet - a convenience store for things you can pick up and go, one is not far from wrong! No ice cream and stuff like that though!

The music that played was loud . At the front of the shop popular music blared  and walking towards the inside, some religious music was equally loud.  Add to that the honking of vehicles just a stone's throw away.

So this is where J finds a little piece of home. The homely feel of the familiar and speaking the mother tongue  helps to ease the distance felt for home in Sri Lanka. Another happening place for J is Brickfields, our  Little India.

Flanked on both sides - many  goods - cards, books, decor items...

His iconic hairstyle got my attention.

Stick - on 'pottu' for the added glamour

Up the hidden stairway - a world of  music and drama opens up for their clientele

Certainly Old is Gold! My brother-in law tells the story of Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran ,  popularly known MGR who passed away in 1987 . He happened to be in Chennai and   felt the  earth-shaking effects caused by the outpouring of sadness upon hearing the  hero's demise . 

Ganesha in bright colours 

Incense holders

Vibrant colours - garlands for altars etc.

Replicas of mango leaves ( plastic) to hang at doorways of Indian houses, usually to add a festive touch.

Be ready to  make your choices and not be overwhelmed . 

I guess if you say you want a particular artiste, song, movie etc, you will not be disappointed. 


  1. What a different world, filled with so much color and excitement! Wow!

  2. Ah, J and I can go hang out together, then! I love going to Lebuh Ampang and Brickfields. Sangeetha has panni poori and a lovely Southern thali meal and falooda and the most amazing sweets. Their burfi comes in flavours like horlicks and chocolate! Bakti Woodlands has yummy utthapam and baaji served with fresh chutney! Brickfields is my haunt of choice. I get my Indian groceries, especially Haldiram's snacks, from Asoka in Brickfields. This is a heartwarming post, Keats. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures of all my favourite places. I am glad the shopkeeper gave in and let J exchange the DVDs.

  3. Oh this is so colourful Keats, I want to walkabout KL with you, you can show me KL in a very different light. I have to read more of your posts that I must have missed to find out who J is but I like J. What was lunch? I would love to see that:)

  4. Spotted something that I wanted to buy for a long long time and I cant find them in Brickfields but in your fourth pix when J was exhanging the CDs. Behind the Mr Shopkeeper on his left Bananaz saw the "Om" stickers. Viola...I have bought some back from Puttaparti, India and finished using them. How nice things happen for a reason? I found it at Keats blog...haha. Sorry where is the rough location of this shop?

  5. Whoa 'cute' Lord Ganesh with the umbrella. Someone mistaken thought my apartment belongs to an Indian coz I have the 'Om' sticker on my main door also at my gear box and even laptop has got one Ganesh sticker hahaha. Om shanti.

  6. What a great negotiator you are - but I'm not surprised your sparkling personality won over that stubborn shopkeeper! I enjoyed the colorful peek inside the shop, too.

  7. Hello Keats, sorry for coming by late. there's a similar place where I stay and honestly, looking at your pictures...they look very much the same over at my place. I dont even remember the street name but I pass nearby every day when I send the girls to school. Just ask for Jalan India and everyone will know whare it is...I dont even know if its really jalan India LOL :)

  8. Thats a good series of thoughts connected with the proper pictures......enjoyed reading this.
    Good that you could persuade the shopkeeper for the exchange.
    Noticed one more thing?
    Almost everything is covered in plastic !!
    Indians are obsessed with covering.

  9. Hello! Thank You very much for this post! Colorful photos!

  10. I didn't know that Lebuh Ampang is Jalan Masjid India! I thought Jln MI is in Chow Kit Road area. I used to come here during my student days, to take the bus back to Setapak after a day's outing in KL. I loved the banana leaf rice here and the beautiful earrings and colourful bangles.


Great to have you popping in!