Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mumbai rains!!!

I don't know what you think of the rains. But for me the rains are magical. They bring along with them,
* a hope of hapiness and freshness
* fragrance of wet earth
* colourful umbrellas, raincoats and gumboots
* puddles everywhere (not to forget potholes)
* masala chai and pakodas
* cool breeze
* colourful slippers
* new planters for repotting
* weekend getaways
* holidays due to waterlogging
masaledaar butte

and a lot of joy...

The knoll that always appeared dry and barren suddenly manages to get itself a bright lush green outfit as if it has just plucked a new leaf out of life.

The gentle breeze suddenly decides to transform itself into a strong current of air, provoking the
curtains to sway back and forth, taking it under it's magical prowess.

I sit sipping my tea,
It starts raining heavily, a downpour as they say
I rush to shut the windows,
I forget for a while that I was relaxing by an open window, my tea on my favourite piece of furniture.
I rush back and I see that the rains have already done the needful.
They have decorated the table with tiny droplets and a few bougainvillea flowers.
They have created a beautiful moment for me.

I stand by the balcony and see that the cherry umbrella that was packed away has finally breathed a sigh of relief when it felt the tiny droplets touched the fine weave of the cloth...

The motorcyclist has left his bike and his yellow helmet, maybe he wanted to escape the rains...

And I see small circles everywhere..

The fresh green makeover

Showing off the new raincoat...

I can go on and on...but for now let me take pleasure in enjoying the rains. And make some pakodas and chai for the husband, the son and the daughter :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Palacio Do Deão

If you are an offbeat traveller and if Goa means more than the beach and sand, then the Palacio Do Deão is the place for you.

Nestled in the small town of Quepem, the Palacio Do Deão is a 213 year old mansion, built by the then Dean of the Church, Jose Paulo who incidentally was also the founder of Quepem Town. Today this beautiful mansion is owned by Ruben and Celia Vasco-da-Gama. They restored this wonderful piece of architecture, doing their bit to retain its former glory and their work has to be seen to be believed.

We were in Goa a few days back, and having read about the place it was definitely one of the must-dos on my itinerary. To reach the Palacio Do Deão, we hired a cab from Baga and travelled all the way to Quepem, which is quite a distance, but believe me - worth it!

Having informed Ruben about our visit, we were delighted to see that the preparations to welcome us were in full swing. Preparations here should not be confused with anything else, but food - delicious, aromatic, Goan and Portuguese cuisine. Mouth-watering delicacies, carefully baked, cooked and fried by their team under the supervision of Celia.

Before lunch, Ruben took us on a tour of the mansion. And this is what we saw...

The Palacio Do Deão

The verandah

The corridor that leads to the dining place

Let me not indulge in sadistic pleasures and make you feel miserable and guilty for not taking a trip to this quiet part of Goa. But yes, will definitely take the liberty to show you what came out of Celia's kitchen.

Prawns cooked in Goan style 

Goan poi with salads
Yummilicious, isn't it? Then what are you waiting for? Goa is not far away. Just ensure that the next time you plan a trip, a visit to the Palacio is a part of your itinerary :-)

There are two ways of exploring the palace.

1. You call up Ruben, inform him that you are coming to see the mansion, reach there, take a tour of the place, understand its architecture and its restoration, stroll in the gardens - leave.

2. You call up Ruben , inform him that you are coming to visit the place and would also taste the rich Indo-Portuguese cuisine, give him a head count, reach there, see the place and stimulate your taste buds by enjoying the simple, home-cooked fare prepared for you. The food is not free, by the way.

Well, the pictures are testimony to the fact that we chose the latter option :)

And here is the website for you.

Try it! It's worth it.
And remember to call up Ruben before you land up. After all, this is sussegaad Goa that we are talking about ;-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Journey to the north...of India :)

This winter we decided to rock the northern part of India with our presence. Little did we know that it was going to be the other way round. Having spent most of our life on the coasts of Maharashtra, in a city known as Mumbai, we were yet to experience the real harsh winters of the north. And boy! Here we were trembling, quivering and shivering with cold.

Our journey started with a train ride from Mumbai to Delhi, from where we were to travel further ahead.

The first halt: New Delhi - the capital city of India.

This was my second visit to Delhi, for my kids the first one and we were going to be here for exactly twelve hours. The first thing to catch the broods' attention was the cycle-rickshaw outside New Delhi railway station . Something that the brats were seeing for the first time. We hailed two of them, boarded our luggage and ourselves onto it and took off for the Grand Godwin at Paharganj.


Most Delhiites think Paharganj is really down market. But let me tell you, it's not. The place is home to several good hotels to stay, at affordable prices and in the night the neon signboards give the whole place a very Las Vegas look. Okay, a wee bit of exaggeration. But it does look great.


This was the capital city. It had the Parliament, the Supreme court, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the India Gate, stepwells and mausoleums, Delhi Haat and the metro. Yes! The METRO...something that would excite a seven year old boy and a four year girl.  We spent the whole day taking a few train journeys and then grabbed some chaat at Haldiram's, CP - the same place which was earlier Narula's.

Dinner was at Karim's, a famous eatery in Chandni Chowk, well-known for its Mughlai cuisine. To reach this place you can either take an auto or a cycle-rickshaw. This is where you find the hustle and bustle of India, the crowd, the grime, the various aromas of food, piping hot chai, the paranthe waali gully, sweaty rickshaw pullers, little shops selling a variety of things, the web of electric wires hovering over your head, and of course, Karim's.

The busy lanes of Chandni Chowk

At a tea-shop in Chandni Chowk

Karim's was started in the early twentieth century by Haji Karimuddin, who's ancestors, apparently,  were known as the royal cooks for the Mughal king Babur. Haji Karimuddin decided to take the royal delicacies to the common man and thus was born the famous eatery. Walk into it and you'll be greeted with the aroma of freshly ground spices emanating out of the kebabs and meat curries.

Delicious seekh kebabs

Breads and buna chicken with coriander chutney and onion slices

Gobhi ghosht

The empty vessels after a hard day's work

The food at Karim's was delicious. The meat was succulent and gravies were thick (and greasy too). 

This was my first hand experience of Delhi 6. And I hadn't even begun. Karim's is just one part of Chandni chowk. There are several other delights that still lie unexplored...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Nomadic Gene: Uttarakhand Page I

It's high time I posted a few pictures from our trip to the north. It was fun. The kids freaked out and experienced harsh, cold weather for the first time in their lives. Rish was all excited and was dying to feel snow, but unfortunately the timing was just not right. Maybe, we should have started a little later in the year. But nevertheless, we had our share of fun without the snow too. Sometimes the temperatures did dip to low as 2 º C, but did we care?

Little Amu had a gala time running around her big brother at the Jim Corbett National Park. She loved the place where we put up - The Club Mahindra Nature Trails Resort. 
Early mornings were fun-filled with a grand spread for breakfast and then soaking in some sun by the pool followed by bicycle rides inside the resort.

Big brother too enjoyed posing in the sun and jumping up and down the huge rocks that were strategically placed inside the compound.

And that's us with our printed guide on Uttarakhand.

We managed to go tiger spotting into the park but, Alas! we missed seeing them. But no worries guys, the whole drive from our resort to the tiger reserve was an experience in itself. Open gypsy, spine-chilling cold, warm snuggles and lots of guffaws and giggles.
En route we stopped at a tea stall for some chai and pakodas...

and also clicked a few snaps...

and some more...

Inside the reserve

The Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is  one of the oldest national parks in the country and is home to a decent number of Bengal tigers and close to 600 species of birds. Statistics point out that out of the 1200 species of birds found in India around half of them can be spotted at the JCNP. But if you are serious about tiger spotting ensure that you get yourself a place inside the reserve. There are a few Government of India run guest-houses. 

You can get more information on

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge

"We had a kettle; we let it leak:
Our not repairing made it worse.
We haven't had any tea for a week...
The bottom is out of the Universe."

- Rudyard Kipling

* The first of its kind tea lounge in Mumbai

* Assam tea, South Indian tea, organic tea, green tea, Darjeeling tea, flavoured tea

* Taste your tea before buying it

* A good variety of snacks...brun maska incuded

Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge
Opp. Parleshwar Temple,
Hanuman Road,
Vile Parle (E)