October 01, 2010

India - Days 13 - 19

We celebrated r's birthday at New Woodlands Hotel in Chennai. My dad had hired a magician, Mr.Raja aka Kingzz for the day which was fun. His show was entertaining to the kids and adults alike. This was followed by a short video clip of r that I had put together -- sort of catching up on her life for my friends and relatives in Chennai. On 26th evening, we went to Parthasarathy temple again and from there to Ratna cafe. k took a second dose of the coffee there and I must admit, that was the best filter coffee I had during my Madras trip! That night we went to the beach to say bye bye before leaving Madras. r~ did her regular running-running in the beach and then we headed home.

The next morning passed in a blur. Before I knew it I was at the airport and although I had resolved to not cry this time, predictably I burst into tears just before waving good bye :( On the short flight to Bombay, I intensely disliked k for not wanting to move to India. Anyway we landed in Bombay and it didn't seem to have changed much since the last time I was here. The traffic and crowd here is a bit more than in Madras. New Bombay roads are cool, pretty much like US highway roads. I spent a couple of hours shopping with p~. The store, Sajani had a good collection of materials for salwaar kameez and the dude there was extremely agreeable:

p: "This dress doesn't need lining, does it?"
Him: "Yes, yes, you can wear it without lining, no problem"

p: "Hmm but will it look better with lining?"

Him: "That it will (वो तो हे)"

Then, when p is busy looking at a material, he tells me, "Buy your sister-in-law one more dress no?" and when he thinks I am not looking, he tells p, "You should ask her to buy more dresses, she is going to US no?"

Then, p took me to a tailor shop and like most places in Bombay, there was an infinity fit into a finite space. The small room had another smaller (3 feet by 3 feet?) room where I saw one tailor working on a tailoring machine and then I peeked some more and found two other tailors also sitting and stitching there in that impossibly small space. There were cloths and dresses lying everywhere in that tiny room. Finally, I asked him how he managed to keep his orders straight and he showed me how he stapled small bits of each dress material to the bill and another small matching bit to the customer bill. He also said something about writing the customer order number on the dress although I didn't see him doing that. He rolled up my salwaar and kameez material in a bundle and tossed it carelessly next to several other bundles. So, I asked him what happened if the salwaar and kameez material got misplaced and he said he can tell with a glance which salwaar material goes with which kameez material. And then there were the complicated patterns to select from -- how do you want the front next? V? U? Boat shape? Back neck? Hand -- puff sleeves? Sleeveless? Transparent sleeves? Short sleeves? We let him pick most of it since it was too confusing to decide!

We headed to Lonavala for a few days and stayed in a co-op housing bungalow there. It took me a while to get used to the concept. Basically, rich  man x wants a vacation home where he will stay probably a month a year. The rest of the year since the house needs someone to stay in it for it to be in good shape, rich man rents the bungalow to other folks. There is a cook who lives in the premises and you can ask him to cook what you want (and that is paid) and you have the house to yourself. We managed to co-exist with several life forms in that bungalow (humongous cockroaches -- now I sort of see why he wants people to actually live in the bungalow else it will be overtaken by cockroaches and their cousins and relatives!) and then headed out to Ambi valley (a nice scenic drive), had masala chai on the peak and headed back home. The drive back was tiring and we got stuck in traffic. Poor c (p's husband) drove all the way home and we collapsed on the bed (except for r who managed to take a nap in the car). Lonavala and the drive to the peak reminded me of Smokey mountains and Gatlinburg. Of course, you don't get the "world's best vada pav" in the Gatlingburg shopping strip!

Exhausted after a long day, so rest in pictures...

Best vada pav ever, recommended by c -- k had like 50 of them!

Cute pizza ad at a shopping mall in Lonavala

Malai Kulfi Rabdi at Kailash Parbat, Lonavala -- too rich for words!

Road side vegetables -- seeing this scene after ages!

The creator of the vada pavs!
Eats and Treats check marks :) -- Shir sagar (paav bhaji), Kailash Parbat (Dahi papdi chat), Raam Krishna @ Lonavala (regular punjabi fare and kulfi), Mega mall food court (Vada paav, "rose"), street vada paav and bhajia @ Lonavala, masala chai & corn bhajia @ Lonavala peak.

Chennai: filter coffee @ Ratna Cafe, samosa and gulab jamoon from Gangotri, South Indian parotha and mosambi juice @ Saravanas, Kashmiri pulaav and triple sundae @ Brindavan, Woodlands


RT said...

belated bday wishes to R. upload some pics and the video u made:)

Lavs said...

Happy birthday baby R

Anonymous said...

While in bombay check out these :

Aparna said...

heyy, till wen r u in b'by..Am put up here. lemme kno.

RS said...

RT - thanks, sure thing.

Lavs - thanks

anon - thanks, will try to check it out!

aparna - until oct you have my email?

Aparna said...

hv mailed my co-ordinates to ur gmail ID nw. check.

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