Kailash Parbat: Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura

Kailash Parbat in Colaba is certainly one of our favorite restaurants in Mumbai. We end up there at a drop of a hat. It is walking distance and close to the Maruti Mandir that we try and visit every day. Importantly, Meera is very comfortable there and their wait-staff are quick to bring her a small dish of kurmura (puffed rice). Below, you can browse some of their other dishes from prior visits.

A couple of our favorite dishes:
Pav Bhaji! I get a few extra ‘pav’ (bread). Notice the butter soaked in the bread.
Pav Bhaji Kailash Parbat Colaba
Continue reading “Kailash Parbat: Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura”

Colaba Vegetable Market

Picture of fresh fruits and vegetables at Colaba Vegetable Market Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Growing up, most evenings we’d end up around Colaba Market. It was centrally located and many friends lived around there. Even today, when we go for a walk with Meera, we shop our way through the market enroute to Kailash Parbat for some chaat. Continue reading “Colaba Vegetable Market”

Video: Meera Enjoying Limbu Soda

Meera enjoys going to restaurants. She sits on the table and holds court; surveys other patrons and call out to them: Aye! At our favorite joint: the Kamats Restaurant in Colaba, the wait staff will entertain Meera while we eat. 🙂 Meera loves their idlis, poLo (dosas) and anything we drink.

One of our favorite drinks is the Limbu soda – sparkling lemonade. Meera loves it too. Enjoy the range of Meera’s expressions in this 46 sec video where she sips Limbu soda. *anti nazar* spray.

Notice Meera’s earring. These traditional Konkani “paakLi” were made for M when she was born. Her mother had saved them and got them cleaned and pointed for Meera.

Note: Limbu paani is the plain lemonade and available on most Mumbai streets.

Continue reading “Video: Meera Enjoying Limbu Soda”

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”

Mumbai Blasts: Previously Unseen Pics from 26/11

While covering the terrorist atrocities in Mumbai last year, I found myself racing from the Leopold Cafe to the Taj and to the Nariman Bldg; shooting pics, updating my twitter feed and simultaneously keeping an ear on what the locals were telling me. Everything happened so fast, there was not much time to think ~ just do! I shared with you all many pics of events as they unfolded. Now on this one-year anniversary, I want to share a few more pics from those horrific three days last year.

At the top level TAB here: Mumbai Blasts, you can find links to all my previous articles, photographs and related press coverage.


Thursday am: This was from the first morning when Mumbai woke up to the terrorist acts which started the previous night. Early that morning as I got out of the house to go for my run I encountered scores of assault weapons toting commandos outside our bldg, a block behind the Taj. I scampered back, got my camera and ran to the Terrace, from where I took many of these pics.

Part of the Taj is smoldering from the fires the previous night – but all the domes are still intact.
Taj Hotel Burning Terror Nov 2008
Continue reading “Mumbai Blasts: Previously Unseen Pics from 26/11”

Air Meera

Air Meera in Colaba Mumbai pics by Arun Shanbhag
Meera just loves to be tossed in the air (of course, never leaving my hands). She is all giggles and never wants me to stop.

M&m: Meera was wearing this beautiful, brown silk dress.
Meera in Colaba Mumbai pics by Arun Shanbhag


More Meera!

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”

Face of Swine Flu in Mumbai

swine flu Mumbai face masks pics by Arun Shanbhag
No, he was not trying to hijack the BEST bus in Mumbai; he was terrified about the nasty virus causing swine flu!

But that makeshift mask in a crowded bus surely got me panicky. Should I be around Mumbai using public transportation, where the buses and trains are stuffed tighter than, … than, … mumbaikars in buses and trains? And when I had Meera with me?

During my August visit to Mumbai, everyone was in full “epidemic” mode. Even at the Airport! Before reaching immigration, we filled out personal history forms and the overworked health workers simply waved us on. I hope you feel reassured.

Headlines in city newspapers screamed at every cough and sniffle. The Mumbai city council finally ordered schools, colleges, tuition classes and many govt offices closed for 3 days. Private companies gave employees furlough to work from home! And this was supposed to be my vacation. We all came through fine, and a renewed interest in Ayurvedic attempts to strengthen the immune response. Continue reading “Face of Swine Flu in Mumbai”

Ragda Pattis, Lassi and Sevpuri

Every evening we take Meera for a walk. Its just a few blocks to the local Maruti temple on Colaba Causeway. After darshan, we invariably stop by Kailash Parbat for some chaat. The bestest!

The Pani puri is best savored at the counter outside, where you stand and the bhaiyya dishes out the puri faster than you can gulp them. With Meera in tow, it is easier to sit inside and keep her occupied with some puffed rice, while we munch on our other favorites. I stick to what I like: Ragda Pattis and a Meetha Lassi – with a dollop of malai on top! M ordered the Sev puri.
Bon apetit!

Ragda pattis lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba


Kailash Parbat in previous posts

Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura
Pav Bhaji Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

How to eat a Paani Puri
How to eat Paani Puri Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

Ragda Pattis & Lassi (2004)
Ragda Pattis Lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba

Meera Sleeping

meera shanbhag

This tiny girl amazes me! She’s got me completely wrapped around her little finger – twice over. She only has to coo and I start babbling baby talk like a blithering blidiot. I love it! When she is a sleep, I gaze at her. What is she dreaming? Is she happy? I wonder at this miracle and our good fortune to be enslaved by her.

Here, she is napping after her bath, which as you have all witnessed is a chaotic experience. She smells of Mysore sandalwood soap which has bathed scores of the Shanbhag clan. I cannot help but breath deeply. I had to memorialize this. As I reach for the camera, M berates me not to use the flash – it might awaken Meera!

I agreed and proceeded to compose the pic. M, ever suspicious of my acquiescence, waits and watches, hands on her hip; ready to pounce and tear me to smithereens. What do I do? Of course, I don’t use the flash! My survival instincts are definitely honed!

I am glad, the natural light diffusing in the room cast Meera in a soft glow. M was right, but don’t tell her that!



Previous Posts on Meera:

Mumbai Blasts: Day 3, Mop Up at the Taj

Continued from
Mumbai Blasts: Day 2
Mumbai Blasts: Day 1



Picture Update from ~ 9:15 am Indian Time; Saturday Nov 29th
Follow my updates on Twitter http://twitter.com/arunshanbhag
Pics on FLickr! username “shanbhag”


Not to be deterred, I took a detour and reached the front of the Taj. I was on the sea face looking at the front of the Taj from its right!

Firemen had hoisted ladders and were climbing into the first floor

Police trying to provide a security cordon!

MORE Pics!
Continue reading “Mumbai Blasts: Day 3, Mop Up at the Taj”

Mumbai Blasts: Day 2 Live Blogging

This Day 2 Post continues where I left off from Mumbai Blasts: Day 1



Update: between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm; Indian Time; Friday Nov 28th
Follow my updates on Twitter http://twitter.com/arunshanbhag
Posting Pics on FLickr! username “shanbhag”


All these pics are from INSIDE the Secure Staging Cordon in front of the Taj; assembled here were fire engines, ambulances, Police forces, some of the Rapid Reaction Forces and some commandos; And ALL media types!

Scores of reporters looking at the Taj within the staging cordon in front of the Taj Intercontinental; Gateway of India in the back!
Reporters in front of Taj

Every time we heard a blast or gunfire, everyone looked at the Taj to try and figure out where it came from.
blasts at Taj

Scarred Beauty! Really! The Taj Still stands Tall!
Taj after the fire
Continue reading “Mumbai Blasts: Day 2 Live Blogging”

Bademiya: Colaba's Culinary Firmament

Its the street food that makes Mumbai special! From the chana-wallahs at Gateway, to ganna-wallahs and paan-wallahs, seemingly at every corner; and the vada-paav baakdas at Fountain. And of course, Bademiya in the seedy gulli behind the Taj Mahal Hotel. Continue reading “Bademiya: Colaba's Culinary Firmament”

How to eat Paani Puri

How to eat Paani Puri at Kailash Parbat Pics by Arun Shanbhag

When visiting relatives confessed they had never eaten paani puri at a street stall, I was aghast. They had only eaten pani puri at nice, sterile hygienic restaurants!!! Where the puris, fillings and chutneys are served in a multitude of tiny saucers, you mix it all yourself, spoon the paani and eat. Sacrilege! Is that any way to enjoy paani puri?

So I herded them to Kailash Parbat in Colaba's 1st Pasta Lane. This is how you eat paani puri! At an outdoor stall, the bhayya pokes the puri with his thumb, scoops the filling, dunks it in a large pot of spicy jeera paani and flops the dripping puri on your plate. All in one fluid motion. You just have to stuff it in your mouth. Be quick to gulp, coz the next one is on the way! After the last one, … you slurp the paani.

How tasty? See the girl in the back licking her fingers? Yes, that good! Then you head over to the other side for a lassi or rabri! 🙂

When we were kids, a pot-bellied maharaj with no shirt, held court. Now with “India Shining,” this puny guy is serving with gloves! Instead of a terracotta matka they have a steel pot. But still tasty!

The only address you need to know for a good Paani Puri.
Best place for chaat in Mumbai Colaba Pics by Arun Shanbhag


Kailash Parbat in previous posts

Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura
Pav Bhaji Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

Ragda Pattis, Lassi & Sevpuri
Ragda pattis lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

Ragda Pattis & Lassi (2004)

Come Running With Me

My second most favorite activity in Mumbai is going for a run. The early morning light is subdued; its cooler and the humidity is lower. Earlier in the day, people are nicer too, And running along the sea-face at Marine Drive is just what life all about. Importantly, starting the day with a nice run makes me less guilty when I indulge in my #1 favorite activity in Mumbai: EATING. Running justifies eating. The more you run, the more I get to eat. I can live with that.

I would start at 6:15 am from home near the Colaba Police Station. After a brief warm-up, I would run by the Cooperage football field, along Madam Cama Rd, past the Oval Maidan, Mantralaya and reach Marine Drive by the Air India building next to the Oberoi/Trident Hotel. This is how it looked on the day I took my camera along. It's a great feeling to realize I would run the entire Marine Drive upto Walkeshwar. A nice 7 Km run.

By Cooperage fields I dodge a gang of mangy dogs, who think they own the road (if anyone is interested in taking a supari for getting rid of these dogs, let me know!). Just past the Oval Maidan I saw this person pulling the water tank.

Past the Mantralaya (State House) and the MPs' quarters, as I trained my camera on the mural of the vigilant Shivaji Maharaj, this person gave me a threatening look. Instinctively I managed a smile and a greeting in Marathi. As he carried on, I slipped away! Phew!

Along the wide sidewalks of Marine Drive, it was heartening to see so many people enjoying the day. Some just sat by the water, others sauntered, others dashed, motivated by speed. Whatever you chose to do, it was the perfect time.

Along the way, a large flock of pigeons were feeding on chanaa; Morning walkers buy cups of this lentil from the hawker and sprinkle it on the sidewalk. It’s quite a sight.


On Chowpatty beach, these two women relaxing on the sands seemed to capture the tranquility of the morning by the water. They seemed to be in no rush, just waiting for the tide to come in.


As I run, I am in a state of euphoria. I can't count my blessings enough: to be here, healthy, to be able to do this. Here and now! What a blessed life. But what’s so special about this place I wonder. Running along the Charles River in Boston is even more spectacular, and you don't have to worry about rabid dogs. What's with this place? As my mind raced on, I noticed this statue in front of me. I thought it was the poet, Rabindranath Tagore, but as I ran closer it was someone else. And the lead phrase hit me like a ton of bricks.


“My place is with my people” it screamed.


Suddenly my heart seemed to slow down, my muscles relaxed, my breathing returned to normal and I was no longer gasping for air. I realized why Mumbai and India were such a special place for me. Because it was my place, and these were my people; and I belonged to them. A place where no one was gonna ask me – where you from?

A calm descended on me and I knew why I did the things I did. I felt I could keep running forever. The ache was gone. I was beaming! I dashed past Wilson College and charged up the hill on Walkeshwar Road. Just before Teen Batti, as the sidewalk ended in a chaotic urban congestion, I ended my run in front of this nariyal paani wallah (person selling tender coconuts) – Mahipal.

Mahipal would slice two large mitha malai-wallahs (sweet with a light cream). At 17 Rs each (~ 30 centes) it was a bargain. The best refreshing drink you can ask for after a nice run. Beats any day, the yucky tasting, colored, chemical laden sports drink you get elsewhere.

As I cooled off here, I would chat with Mahipal for about 15 minutes. He is a recent migrant from Madhya Pradesh and actually works for a Mallu owner (it was satisfying to see the Mallu monopoly on the nariyal paani business still going strong ;-). After a few days, he would notice me struggling up the hill and start to pull out the best nariyal. When I asked him to pose, he wanted a copy of a pic. He planned to send it to his parents in Madhya Pradesh. Apparently they were arranging his marriage, and a nice picture would snare him a pretty lass. With a person’s life possibly at stake, I tried my best. He does look debonair in this pic, wouldn’t your say?

Satisfied with the run, I take a cab back home. Aiee and papa would just be waking up and the kaapi brewing! Its going to be a great day and I am ready to sample Mumbai’s best! My number one favorite activity!

Sweeper at the Gateway of India

Lady sweeper at the Gateway of India Mumbai pics by Arun Shanbhag
[click image for larger version]

Early one morning at the Gateway of India, I noticed this sweeper busy keeping the plaza clean. She was not distracted by morning walkers, joggers or amateur photographers. It was good to see the city doing something about the trash. Now if we could only get people to not throw trash on the streets … !

For bearings, my back is to the ocean; behind the sweeper at the 11 O'clock position is the Taj Intercontinental. Just behind the third figure, notice the imposing statue of Shivaji Maharaj and at the 4 O'clock position, the Gateway of India itself.



My related picture posts:

Colaba Causeway in the Rains


In September when I visited Mumbai, the monsoon season was supposedly over. But occasionally I would be caught in a downpour. Once as the rains started, I was strolling along Colaba Causeway, I took refuge in the Titan Watch Store and got the batteries of my watch replaced. As the rains continued, I stood on the stairs and captured a few glimpses of folks making do with the rains. Enjoy!


Posh shoe store awaits customers, as this lady in a saree waits for the bus.

For street kids who have probably never seen a real toy (!) catching streams in poly bags kept them entertained. For those with cash to spare, bling shopping!

If you promised to spend eternity with her, what are a few drops of water? One of my favorites! Notice how confident (and relaxed) his stride is – knowing she walks beside him!

As the rains slowed to a drizzle, I dashed to the Museum bus-stop. These friends shared an umbrella as they waited for the bus too!

Mumbai: Best place for an old-fashioned haircut

I look forward to haircuts in Mumbai. On my first day there, I head to this little hole in the wall, two blocks from our house. I don't think it has a name. Getting my hair cut there since I was a scampering kid. The same guys are there – only a little older; the same chairs – only now I don't need a booster seat. Nayeem is the one to cut my hair!

He still uses a comb and scissors – no clippers! And his scissors fly over my head in a clickety blur. To clean behind the neck and above the ears, he dabs cool liquid from a refilled Old Spice bottle, then breaks an old fashioned razor blade, inserts it into a waakar, and wields it deftly. Then the best part. He pours Pancharatna – an ayurvedic oil on my head and gives me a nice massage. Easy to doze off in the chair. Hah! And all for slightly over a dollar. I give him two (100 rupees)!
haircut in Mumbai

This is Nayeem! The guy in the back is getting an old-fashioned shave. I tried it once and thought the skin had come off my face – that close! Always ready for my next haircut!

Mumbai: Morning Delivery

About 5:00 am along Colaba Causeway. I had jet lag, but these dudhwallahs were working; delivering milk on bicycles. A couple are lugging their filled aluminum handi tied to the bicycles; the other has a basket full of milk in poly bags. These pics relate to my earlier post from Mumbai. Enjoy!



Excuse the grainy pics. It was still dark and my hand held Olympus did its best.
In the background is the 'Workers Gate' at the BEST depot. As kids we used to watch George Fernandes rouse up the workers here. Continue reading “Mumbai: Morning Delivery”

Boats at the Gateway of India

Early in the morning, tourist boats at the Gateway of India (GOI) were still bobbing at anchors. Very few visitors this early and a great time for an aimless stroll. (see Lights at the Gateway of India)

Gateway of India bathed in the glow of the rising sun.
Pics from the Gateway of India Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Inside the GOI, construction was going on.
Pics from the Gateway of India Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Outside detail
Pics of outside detail from the Gateway of India Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Boats at the GOI
Pics of boats docked at the Gateway of India Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Pics of boats docked at the Gateway of India Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Boat deck
Pics of boats docked at the Gateway of India Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

The monsoon rains were ending and a devotee had left flowers to “Varuna” God of the rains.
Pics of boats docked at the Gateway of India Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag


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