December 22, 2011

Eating is Exploring

The paranoia of leaving a city.
The paranoia of returning to a city.
I feel I haven't explored Bombay yet and I am leaving in a month. 
And eating is exploring.

On a lazy Monday morning my friends came up with the idea of bunking work and going to town (or South Bombay or as TOI calls it SoBo) to explore some new and some really old (the ones we know of but never land up going to) places to eat. We landed at Britania and Co. in Ballard Estaste.

This restaurant from the 1920s has not been touched up. A small space with black chairs, it is tabled with Kayani like red and white checked clothes, has worn out walls and open shelves for inventory, an open counter and menus stuck to table tops. An old wooden staircase in one corner takes you to an open indoor balcony with table fans attached to its ledge.

We pretty girls were asked to sit wherever we liked. We looked through the simple menu and before we knew, an old man in his 90s was standing at our table. 'Girls are you ready to place your order?', 'Yes please', 'Then I'm ready to take your order.'  We casually accepted the surprise. We knew what we wanted. 
Sali Boti, Berry Pulav, Dhan Saak, Rotli and Caramel Custard for dessert. 'Sir, what would you suggest for drinks?'. Pointing at the menu he replied, 'I would suggest our special Fresh Lime Soda Salt-Sweet-To beat the Bombay Heat!' He was adorable. He was an instant hit with the young girls. He made us laugh. He also told us to 'Keep the boys out. Not kick them. Keep them!' 

Britania has character. It has style. It has a tint of the madness the Parsis are fondly accused of. In spite of its age, it has a freshness. And it has food. The best Parsi food I have had in the city. It blew our minds off. We kept regretting having over ordered but couldn't stop eating. We couldn't talk because we couldn't stop eating.

Open only between 11am and 4 pm, most of the regulars here were collared lawyers, coated corporates and foreigners. We were told the old Parsi owner carries a laminated picture of the British Queen in his pocket and is often found flashing it to British foreigners. He tells them to 'Bring back the Brits!' We were also told that many years ago, the same old man, used to keep his pet rooster on the main counter with him.

We spotted the a photo of the rooster on the notice board. We also spotted the rooster in their logo.

My favorite was the tag line above the rooster:

'There is no love bigger than the love for food'

How can I disagree!

Ps. At the lack of a camera, I stole a picture from the internet. Thank you Lucy Archibald

December 16, 2011

Chotu Chai Wala

Someone called early this morning and asked for Chotu car cleaning wala :)
Sleepy Gulati sleepily said it was a wrong number. 
She should have actually said 'How did you knowwww!!!'
Its been such a good day so far.

December 11, 2011

Nach na jane aangan taida!

Inspired by the flash mob video kiki shared with me (here), I shyly danced on the harbour line train today from Chembur to Vadala!
I was given a ginger toffee as consolation prize by an11 year old boy selling hair clips in the ladies compartment!
I love Bombay!

December 08, 2011

So much to say

Sometimes its easy to answer back.Talking is tough. 

December 06, 2011

Weekender Girls

Once you start working, you have no choice but to find delights in weekend trips to a place reasonably close to your city. I wonder why in spite of having lived in Bombay for more than three years, I had not discovered Maharashtra's true potential. Especially in the magic that lies down the Konkan coast.

I learnt from my mistake and found myself planning the forth trip within Maharashtra this month. It was actually a matter of chance. Ms. Kiki Bakshi and I were looking for a mid point between our cities. Hence we arrived at Ganpatiphule, a religious place, about 25km by a ST bus ride from Ratnagiri. (Trivia: Ratnagiri is the home town of Madhuri Dixit, Sachin Tendulkar and Dawood Ibrahim - as shared by a rather sweet, sweet shop owner). Known for a big ass Ganpati Temple by the white sand beach, this place is easy to effortlessly fall in love with.

We fell in love.

The delights of having nothing to do!

So what does one do when there is nothing to do?

You sing. You sing to the sea, sprint a 100m race, chase tiny crabs, try cart wheels, bury things, bury each other, talk, laugh, feel silly, scream, stare at the dome like sky, yodel and scold the moon.

The science of silliness!

You feel silly. You tell yourself, honestly, that you are feeling silly. And then go a little crazy. Like nuts. Like two nutty nuts. (Two girls I know are experts at this. I am trying to get there!)

Beaching it 

So Bakshi and I found ourselves at the beach getting lost in the blurring horizon. For hours. To have an entire white sand beach with see-through waters entirely to yourself? How does it feel? How does it fee-eee-eeee-eeel? (Susheela Raman cover Like a rolling stone) No, we didn't feel like we ruled the world. We didn't rule the sea, the sand, the birds or the crabs in their little hole-homes. We felt like we were friends. Katti-Abba friends. Abba at the moment. We felt welcomed. We felt the warmth. We felt the cold in the breeze. We felt like we were their guests. We felt like we were let loose. We felt unrestricted. Full of fresh air, fresh thoughts, full of smiles and full of silliness. We felt so full!

A harmonica, a camera, a sun and a sunset! What were we missing? (though we did miss our dear little Bubbles) 

A swim. A swim with all our clothes on. A swim without any. 
So we swam. Jumped the waves, heard the water, watched the birds above us go home, we tasted salt. We floated like dead bodies which rose with the swelling sea belly. We swam in the oceanic blue, the glistening sun dipped blue, the metallic blue, the far away blue, the blue which smudged the skyline, the blue which made way for white soldier like waves. The white washed blue, the blue green blue, the aquatic blue, the purple blue. The blue of the ocean that refuses to just be itself. And we jumped the waves, chased the waves, waved at the waves  and danced like sea ballerinas, we fell, we swam, we sang and spluttered and splattered and laughtered! We laughtered our silliness!

And we did all this while watching the sky change on us, the sea change on us and grow on us. We did this while the night took over, while the stars twinkled one by one and the moon calmly took over the glamour.We got lost in the pitch of darkness, in the quite of the air, in the noise of the sea, in a place where the far away lamp lights tried in vain to reach us.

We talked. At times. 

Sometimes the over celebrated sunset is too pretty for any words, any lens or any song.
You just have to see it.
You have to sea it!

But we didn't see the famous Ganpathi temple after all. 

Among other things:

A fort, a jetty, a self proclaimed miraculous village museum, spasticated birds, a cinnamon tree, an exquisite auto ride, an all purpose kirana shop selling drum sticks, a perfect conqueror's picture, filter kapi, an exiled burmese king's palace, coconut water, some fish, some amul ice cream and some peace.

December 05, 2011

Such randomness!

Once I played a week long game with a dear friend (who no longer plays with me) where we had to come up with idioms (hindi muhavare) about water (eg. chullu bhar paani mein doob jana! literally translated as 'take water in your palm, drown in it and die)

I can start one about anger right here. As of now I can think of three:

1. Gussa naak par leke chalna (to have a short temper)

2. Aag baboola hona (to be a hot air balloon?)

3. Angaare Ugalna (to emit embers)

Boiling Point

How does one let go of anger?
I've known myself to be a very angry person. But I wonder when it happened to me.
No childhood memory of mine registered anger. Then why do I lose my temper all the time!
Why am I so famous for it (and famous for being a bully :( But that detail is for another post) Perhaps a residue of adulthood.I often employ anger to let go of things. But what does one do to let go of anger?
Embrace time?
What about anger that lingers in memory?
Wait for memory to fade away?

A delightful book once said...'The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.'


Such randomness!

List of different types of anger:

1. Khoon Khaulna - You have so much anger that you feel the blood boil inside you. (It has happened to me! I really felt it boiling!)

2. Silent Anger - Andar hi andar

3. Crying Anger - A total sign of cant do anything so lets just cry.

4. Anger out of being hurt - This is the one for the broken hearted!

5. Violent Anger - Tahas mahas kar dena - Destructive anger! (*throws things around)

6. Momentary Anger - Ek pal gussa ek pal pyar!

7. Ventilator - Jo man mein aye bol do (this one can turn out to be rather nasty. The freedom is yours. Say anything. Say things just to spite someone. Or say them cause you could never have otherwise. Everything's allowed.)

8. Misplaced Anger (My favorite) - Kissi ka gussa kissi aur par nikalna!

9. My second favorite (Can't think of a name for this one) But basically its the type of anger which turns embarrassing. Its that moment when after having screamed and shouted and vented all that you had, someone calmly tells you that you have got it all wrong!

What's your type?