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!

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