Mumbai’s Terminal T2, more

pics of art and murals at Mumbai's Terminal T2 by Arun Shanbhag

After my earlier passage through Mumbai’s new T2 terminal, I knew what to expect. On arrival, as everyone else darted to Baggage Claim (and staring at flapping slats whizzing by), I strolled through the endlessly curved, glass-lined walkway. I paused at each exhibit and took it in. The breadth of art types on display was stunning. Ubiquitous worker bees hovered nearby and demonstrated practiced busy-ness. Art was not simply a picture or a sculpture, an entire south Indian courtyard (for e.g.) was recreated; Mumbai was mapped with computer mother boards. And despite my earlier reservations, the exhibits were well maintained. Continue reading “Mumbai’s Terminal T2, more”

Joyful Waiting at Mumbai’s Terminal T2

photos Mumbai's Terminal T2 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport by Arun Shanbhag
Departure lounge at Mumbai’s Terminal T2 – appears like a subterranean cavern inspired by lotus pods

On arriving at Mumbai airport on my recent trip, I trudged the long corridor dragging my carry-on. My tired brain perceived a few garish, modern interpretations of art, then a collage of a young, angry Amitabh (circa Don), a beautiful frieze reminiscent of Tamil Nadu art, a well detailed Rajasthani courtyard. Only then I realized I was walking through the new Terminal T2 at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Though exhausted from the long trip, I slowed my pace and enjoyed the sights like if I was visiting a museum. The Immigration Hall was ginormous putting to shame the one in Boston. On the front wall were giant letters in many languages spelling “Welcome” – nice; should make Mumbaikars proud. Continue reading “Joyful Waiting at Mumbai’s Terminal T2”

Gupta Chikki – Yummy Candy

Pictures of Lego Minifigures enjoying Peanut Chikki by Arun Shanbhag
Lego Friends enjoying Chikki

Growing up in Mumbai, chikkis were our treats. Local kirana dukkan (stores) had a assortment of chikkis available for a pittance. Chikkis are the traditional Indian candy bars before there were candy bars. PiPi (fennel candy) was our other delicacy. The simplest chikki’s are roasted peanuts in a gooey, crunchy slab of jaggery (see Making Jaggery). Chikkis are made with every imaginable grains or nuts including peanuts, rajgira (amaranth), sesame (black, white), coconut (desiccated), rice (puffed), mango, cashews, pistachios and almonds. The closest equivalent in the US would be peanut brittle, but the indian chikki is typically nuttier and crunchy. Continue reading “Gupta Chikki – Yummy Candy”

Mumbai Street food: Shri Krishna Batatavada

Pics from Shri Krishna Snacks, Dadar Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

In the back lanes of Dadar (West), a few doors from the legendary Ideal Bookstore, is this amazing place for batatavada, samosa, juices and anything you can stuff in your mouth. Mouth-watering delicacies and super cheap prices. For $2 you can feed a whole family (Meera only sips juice). Continue reading “Mumbai Street food: Shri Krishna Batatavada”

Dayaram Damodar for Sutarfeni in Mumbai

D Damodar Dadar Mumbai Sutarfeni pics by Arun Shanbhag

Post updated with newer pics from a recent visit.

Hope you have all tried Sutarfeni – the sweet, shredded, flaky, rice dough, topped with pista and almonds. What a dangerous agent it is; melts my self-discipline, and like a slobbering idiot I empty a pound of this “buddi ka baal” in no time. Continue reading “Dayaram Damodar for Sutarfeni in Mumbai”

Cricket at the Oval

Pictures of folks playing cricket at the Oval Maidan in Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag
Its a long tradition in South Mumbai ~ come Sunday morning the boys head out to Oval Maidan with whatever gear they can scrounge around. They stake a tiny sliver of a pitch, drive stumps in the dusty field and play some cricket. The pitch (and cricket) is a social leveller; the quality of your gear is immaterial, its how you connect – bat to ball. Three stumps is a luxury and bells are definitely not needed. Who needs shoes and pads? A tennis or simple rubber ball will do. As kids I have even played with layers of paper crumbled hard and held by rubber bands. When you are all sweaty and exhausted, grab some limbu paani or ganna juice on the way back home. Another beautiful Sunday! Continue reading “Cricket at the Oval”

Visiting the Gateway of India

Portrait of a Tourist from Madhya Pradesh wearing an Ochre Turban visiting the Gateway of India by Arun Shanbhag

Since I grew up around the corner, visiting the Gateway of India makes my Mumbai visit complete, like visiting relatives, or a nearby temple or eatery. Gateway of India is home. On a recent early morning visit, I noticed this group of out-or-towners striding to the waterfront. Women in colorful sarees and ochre turbans of some of the menfolks caught my eye.
Continue reading “Visiting the Gateway of India”

Ragda Pattis

Ragda Pattis by Arun Shanbhag
The best of street food at home. Pan-roasted Trader Joe’s Masala Burger, topped with basic ussal, yogurt, chopped onions and chaat masala.

I used TJs Masala Burger for these Quick Pattis Roll-ups too.

Ragda Pattis from Kailash Parbat (Mumbai) is my favorite and I have posted their ragda pattis pics twice before:

Ganapati Visarjan: Wadala & Lalbaug cha Raja

GSB Muth Wadala Ganapati 2011 Amol Kamat
During the 11 days of Ganapati, the murthy is brought into our homes and the divine spirit invited to reside and bless us all. During these days, we treat Ganapati as a valued guest and shower him with the best of flowers, fruits and delicious foods. Friends and relatives visit in awe at the divine presence. At festivals end, we bid farewell and the material form is immersed into a water body so as not to soil it. Bidding farewell to our divine visitor is called visarjan. In villages, Ganapati is dunked in the home or community well, or nearby lake or river. In Mumbai, the murthys are carried with pomp and celebration, with much dancing to one of many beaches and immersed in the waters.
Continue reading “Ganapati Visarjan: Wadala & Lalbaug cha Raja”

Ganapati at the GSB Muth, Wadala

Ganapati at GSB Wadala by Arun Shanbhag

The GSB Wadala Muth Ganapati holds some of my fondest memories of sarvajanik (public) Ganapati. At 8 ft, it is not the largest of the Ganapatis, but certainly one of the most artistically excuted and ‘constant.’ Even though the artisans craft a new murthy from clay each year, this murthy has not changed one bit over the last three decades. The size is limited by the doorway to the hall where this Ganapati sits. The GSB Seva Mandal Ganapati contrarily, is built on and sits on a trolley which is covered under a huge outdoor tent. On visarjan day, the stage is dismantled and the trolley with the Ganapati is pulled out. The Wadala Ganapati is wheeled/carried out of the hall, placed on a trailer and taken to Shivaji Park for immersion.
Continue reading “Ganapati at the GSB Muth, Wadala”

Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum, Mumbai

pics of Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum, old Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag
During travels to Mumbai, I often bring Meera to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum), a few minutes walk from our house. Meera enjoys chasing butterflies in the gardens and running around the spacious interiors. (See also Mumbai’s new Terminal T2 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.)

She is invariably awed by the stone sculptures of cows, horses or lions, and loves the Natural History wing. She gets to see animals (stuffed) she only has seen in pictures. She loves the ducks (badak), parrots (popat), turtles (her favorite) and the huge whale hanging from the ceiling. Wild animals scare her. Safely tucked between my legs, she points and whispers, bhalu ( bears), rhinoson (rhinoceros), tigherrr, lion and cheetah. Love taking her there. Continue reading “Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum, Mumbai”

Video: Making Mysore Masala Dosa


[move your mouse out of the video frame, to lose the black border]


Following up on the Video: Making of Rava Dosa and Masala Dosa, here is the next installment of making Mysore Masala. I was surprised they spread a red chilli paste over the dosa, I had thought they sprinkle a spice blended podi (powder) as seen at the Shanbhag fast food place in Hospet, Karnataka. Delicious, nonetheless. A Mysore Masala Dosa at Kamats, Colaba costs Rs 38 (US 85 cents)! I want two, delivered.
Continue reading “Video: Making Mysore Masala Dosa”

Chinmaya Maruti; New Year Greetings 2011

Picture of Hanuman Maruti by Arun Shanbhag


Jai Hanuman Gyan Guna Sagar
Jai Kapis Tihun Lok Ujaagar

Glory to Hanuman
Limitless ocean of wisdom and virtue,
Glory to leader of primates
Whose fame lights the three worlds

In the New Year!
May the gracious Hanuman guide you
To overcome weakness, and
Use your strength to serve the Divine!

Meera, M & A

Continue reading “Chinmaya Maruti; New Year Greetings 2011”

Gita Press Bookstore: Karma Yoga in Action

Gita Press Gorakhpur Bookstore

Tucked away on gritty Princess St and across from Parsi Dairy Farm is one of my favorite book stores: Gita Press Ki Dukan (Bookstore of the Gita Press).

See, I came late to this genre of Hindu scriptures. Educated in a convent school, I drank deeply of the Kool-Aid that western writers were the axis around which the Universe rotated. We studied Browning, Byron, Keats and O’Henry, and passed on Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Kanaka Dās and Tukaram. I knew more about priests and nuns, and zilch about Alvars and Nayanmars. Romeo & Juliet was a Classic, Ramayana a myth. We doted on Shelley, Hemingway and Shakespeare, but skipped Tulsidās, Mirābai, Tyāgarājā and Kālidās. I knew more about St Peter than Bhagwān Ādi Shankarāchāryā or Swami Madhvāchāryā.

Thankfully I graduated and real education could begin. A tiny booklet of Swami Vivekananda’s lectures bought at a railway station was the spark. And what a roaring fire it kindled. Was engrossed in it for days. Followed hungrily by the Bhagavad Gitā, Upanishads, Purānās, commentaries of various masters and Bhakti poetry. I had just scratched the surface. Continue reading “Gita Press Bookstore: Karma Yoga in Action”

Video: Best of Mumbai Ganapati Street Dancing


Ganapati is a fabulous time for our extended family. At the end of five days of festivities, Ganapati Bappa is taken in a procession to Chowpatty for consigning to the waters. Behind the truck bearing the Ganapati, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, meera, friends and family, all walk or dance along. Enjoy the unique ishtyle of Mumbai street dancing!

See blog post on Meera’s Tolay-Bhaar, where Meera gets weighed in bananas, at the GSB Seva Mandal.


See my different Ganapati posts


Best Street Food: Asli Vada Pav, Sandwich and Bajjiyas

picture of vada pav colaba mumbai food
You are not a Mumbaikar if you haven’t tasted the street-side Vada Pav. Not the sterile globs you get in a restaurant. You gotta eat from the street stall. If you haven’t, may I ask you to kindly turn in your Mumbaikar card!

During college days, the vada pav wallah near Fountain (Hutatma Chowk) was the best and my source of daily nourishment. This one is right across from Regal Cinema on Colaba Causeway, next to the entrance of Sahakari Bhandar. Look at that dynamite red chutney and those roasted green chillies! You know you want them on your vada pav! *smacks lips* After a couple of these, I rush down the street for ganna juice to put out the fire in my mouth! ha hA!
Continue reading “Best Street Food: Asli Vada Pav, Sandwich and Bajjiyas”

Video: Making Ganna Ras – Sugarcane Juice


Each evening when we take Meera for a walk, we stop by the Poornima Juice Center on Colaba Causeway, for their freshly squeezed ganna ras (sugarcane juice). At 8 rupees (16 cents, US) a glass, it’s a steal. Meera greedily gulps it too. As a baby, this was the first juice we gave her. This goes superbly well after ingesting some spicy vada pav, or batatavada. See this photo essay on making jaggery from sugarcane juice, in rural karnataka.
Continue reading “Video: Making Ganna Ras – Sugarcane Juice”

Fill-up at the Idli House

pics from Idli House Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Mumbai was recently blessed with a eatery dedicated to idlis: those delicately steamed rice cakes. South Indians start their day with idli, dunked in sambar or a liberal side of coconut chutney. At home, I enjoy piping hot Idli Sambar for brunch, or to accompany the afternoon chah or kaapi. Leftover idlis make golden crisp Idli fry, or crumbled and tossed with a medley of spices. On family trips you have all initially groaned, when aunts unpack idlis and chutney – the ultimate travel food. By the end you are licking chutney of fingers, while fellow travelers stare with envy.

It was only a matter of time that we, little m included, finally made it to Idli House in King Circle, Matunga. It’s a tiny place and crowded. Many stand and eat. The laser focus on idlis keeps the service quick and very inexpensive, making it the poor man’s meal. On any given day they serve about 8-10 types of idlis.
Continue reading “Fill-up at the Idli House”

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