There is something so heart-breakingly brave about shops like Bindra Studio. They stand like lone sentinels in the cold, impersonal world of digital photography. If you happen to visit Shimla & even if getting yourself photographed is not on your list of things to do, pop over to this 104-year old establishment. Take a peek at those lovely black-and-white pictures. They will take you right back into the world balls and fancy-dresses. The world when a young girl's successs in Shimla was measured by how crowded her dance programme was.
And no, a "dance programme" was not a recital she gave on the stage of Gaiety Theatre. It was a a little gilt-edged card. On one side the the dances and tunes to be played that evening were listed. On the opposite side, you could note the names of the people who proposed to partner them. The tiny pencil attached to this "programme" with a silken cord was a device that made and broke many a reputation!
The pictures in Bindra Studio will remind you of that era gone by when the world seemed simple and uncomplicated, indeed it was only a whirl of dances, a medley of songs from musicals such as The Quaker Girl, The Little Michus & The Dollar Princess.... A world of funny hats & polka-dotted dresses. Of secret assignations in the Gaiety's Green Room. Of martinet domestics in buttoned boots. Of jhampanis & abdaars & khansamahs & masalchis & bhistis.
What a time it must have been.