Home Cameras/Lenses Panasonic Babsy’s Place: A record of a long-gone world

Babsy’s Place: A record of a long-gone world


I remember one time I almost got pranked at Babsy’s place. It was years ago in Bombay. I was leaving my Aunt Babsy’s place, off Breach Candy, and was headed out to visit friends in Cuffe Parade.

My cousin handed me a package to drop off at an address. Well, good thing Babsy rushed her man Friday, in the nick of time, to catch me still waiting for the bus and who apologetically reclaimed the package while saying something about a fictitious address. My cousin would have had me chasing a ghost.

The return

Many years later, I found myself at Babsy’s place again. By then, Babsy was gone. My cousin was gone. There were pictures of long-gone aunts and uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins and old friends under the glass of her dressing table.

Some were framed and hanging on the walls of peeling plaster. Or propped up in a row on a shelf. There were linen sheets ironed and folded on a chair. Here and there lay the remains of a life. I felt I had to chase down that ghost.

They were five siblings at first. Thrity, my father Nogi, Babsy, Hector and Aban. Now there were none. This was Babsy’s place, and if I closed my eyes, I could hear her voice calling my cousin’s name.

I had acquired a Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm lens a few months before the trip to Bombay. It had a nice feature where one could choose the aspect ratio — 3:2, 1:1, 16:9, etc. So, for the majority of these images I selected the square format, very much like my first camera, the plastic Agfa Click, that took 120 film. The idea of pairing images came to me only now.

Read more from Farhiz Karanjawala

Join our community and play an active part in the future of Macfilos: This site is run by a group of volunteers and dedicated authors around the world. It is supported by donations from readers who appreciate a calm, stress-free experience, with courteous comments and an absence of advertising or commercialisation. Why not subscribe to the thrice-weekly newsletter by joining our mailing list? Comment on this article or, even, write your own. And if you have enjoyed the ride so far, please consider making a small donation to our ever-increasing running costs.


  1. Thank you all. These images were taken in 2010. A lot must have changed by now, a lot must be the same. If ever there’s a part two to this it’s too early to say but if there is then it would be different. Thanks again.

  2. A bit late to comment, but nonetheless: Thank you so much, Farhiz, for this wonderful article and the images. Heartbreaking, just as Patrick G. commented. And fascinating for someone who has never been to India. Great to have such a story here! JP

  3. Thanks Farhiz for this excellent article and images. I’m often assailed by pangs of nostalgia whenever I go to Lyon and walk past my grandfather’s home. So many souvenirs that spring up to mind. Looking forward to your future articles

  4. Many thanks as always.
    Beautifully told and portrayed. These emotional journeys contain so much personal history that at times it’s hard to know how much to keep and how much to “park” for later. I’m absolutely sure there’s a Part II to this story just waiting to be written…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here