Early Bird

For as long as i can remember, i have always been the early bird. Sleep, in my opinion is overrated. I would like to be awake as long as i can to soak in all the books, art and music that is there to offer. This life just seems to short for it.

In the meanwhile, here’s a photo of sun cracking through the clouds. Took this one at Panchgani – a hill station that’s an overnight journey from Mumbai. We got off our bus at 5.30 AM and just kept walking to these scenic points. Bliss .

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Early Bird.”

Re-springing my steps

Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you? That’s what they asked today.

Those words instantly brought back memories of the Himalayas. This image briefly captures them in the background amidst clouds. We were holed up in the monsoon at this serene hill station called Nagarkot located nearly 32 kms north east of Kathmandu. The stillness of the mountains and simplicity of the village folk helped to pause and reflect. It would get awfully quiet at times and that helped us calm ourselves down since we’re so used to the noisy hustle and bustle in city. The chill at 8000+ feet was a welcome relief from the blistering and humid heat in Mumbai. Hoping to head back soon!

Connect the dots

“Then i looked at my hands in the flickering candlelight”

The prompt for today suggested i pick up the nearest book, open page 82 and make a post based on the 3rd line from the page. So i took this one from Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami.

I’m not a fiction buff. But most of my favorites from the genre have been written by Murakami. His tone centers around loneliness, great music and the 60s. The writing style has always had me glued on. Today when i read the line on top, i wondered if it could mean something in a different context. The only thing i can think of is to look through the darker uncertain times with sheer Pollyanna optimism. In the book the character is confused about visions pretty similar to the way we build notions and let them guide us. So let that flickering candle not dampen a moment’s enthusiasm. Believe. That’s what i really took away.

Hope

It’s Lohri, the punjabi harvest festival that signifies the start of a new year. While i had been meaning to plug back in to the blog at the start of this calendar year, its simply been harder to do than just think off. Procrastination has got the better half of me, unfortunately.

So when i stumbled on this post mentioning image search, it seemed like a good time to begin again. I googled for inspiration – something that i have been looking for lately. This one seemed to fit the bill. May be all that’s required is a fresh perspective with a focused approach to get back in action. Here’s to the new year!

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Clean up act

It’s that time of the year, where most people here in India begin an extensive cleaning exercise for the big festival – Diwali. Home improvement, fixing the furniture, getting the walls done to much simpler things like throwing away unused items are on the to-do list. I decided to start a bit earlier than usual, considering its our first Diwali after getting married. As i dusted and picked up random receipts, card statements, brochures and bills i could retrace some wise and a few unwise buying decisions. While most of the stuff we had stashed away wasn’t of any utilitarian value, I had to keep some of it because of sentimental connect. Somehow there is always an emotional connect to inanimate things like books etc.

With every irrelevant and broken item i put away, i felt much better. It got me thinking to how much we accumulate over days, weeks and months without actually realizing the burden we are creating for ourselves. The burden, if that’s what we choose to call it for now – can be physical, emotional or materialistic. But no matter what, its important to pause and reflect. The cleaning bit is always a good way to let it off.

Another aspect that came to my mind about cleaning up centered on how a major cleaning of the mindset is required. In the past few weeks several stories have done the rounds on social media. First there were photo leaks due to a icloud hack, then Emma Watson got threatened after her UN speech and a powerful media house took on a popular actress. In most cases, women were objectified and blamed that they were asking for it. While the explanations defeat logic, all of this has left a lot of tongues wagging. Sure we are talking about gender equality, women empowerment and work place equality. But what would it take for us to break out of the regressive mindset? Some men would be intimidating the wife at home, getting intimidated by the female boss at work and end up going for the latest movie released to go watch some lead actress being objectified over celluloid. I cannot even begin to connect the dots and put all of it in perspective. All i know is that a major cleaning of the mindset is required. It’s not going to be easy. But given the number of decades and generations we’ve spent discussing, its most required now.

clean-up-act

 

Monday musing

“The smartest, most interesting, most dynamic, most impactful people … lived to figure it out…. Sometimes, the only way to discover who you are or what life you should lead is to do less planning and more living— to burst the double bubble of comfort and convention and just do stuff, even if you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead.”

– Dan Pink in his Weinberg College commencement speech

Mohammed Ali Road – Mumbai Food Hop at Iftar

If you’re in Mumbai during Ramzan, the holy fasting period for Muslims then going to Mohammed Ali Road for Iftari / Sehri has to be on your to-do list. While some of the eateries are available round the year, there is a special fare during the holy month. Everything seems to be cooked with ingredients especially for Ramzan. Of course, there is the flavor of an insatiable appetite in the air the moment you step in.

We decided to flock to the road this weekend and were pleasantly surprised. Minus the crowd. If you’re claustrophobic or are uncomfortable in crowds then i’d recommend going in the wee hours. We reached at 08.30 pm and had no place to stand or walk at times. The good point is that the crowd keeps moving, so you would only be carried around by the sea of people from stall to stall.

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We savored the  mutton rolls and baida roti near the stalls around Hindustan Restaurant. Mind you, some of the best kebabs are outside the restaurant so keep moving till you find a place to sit. How do you know if you’re there? Just look around for skewers of meat colorfully marinated. Chota kebabs and lamba pav are highly recommended. While we were warned that food would be spicy, i surprisingly found that not to be the case. The meats were perfectly cooked and marinated. We moved on to sweets and were flooded with an overload of phirni, malai and the giant malpua. All in all the food packed in quite a punch. I would recommend skipping lunch to make the most of it.

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I have a ready list of places to visit as compiled by Mumbai Boss.

Sarvi Seekh kebab sells out fast; paya (Rs38) served hot all night long. 184/196 Dimtimkar Road, Nagpada Junction. 6608 6347.

Chand Harissa Hyderabadi khichda, Rs30 (from 4pm); tender mutton seekh, Rs25. Until 1am.YMCA basketball court, Mastan Talao.

Nawab Seekh Kebab Corner Seekh with deep-fried parathas, Rs40 per plate, until 3am.Corner of M. S. Ali (Grant) & Duncan Roads, behind Do Tanki police chowky. 99679 87561.

Zaika Juicy tangdi kebab Rs50, until 3am. M. S. Ali (Grant) Road at J.J. Junction. 98212 06285.

National Dry Fruit Stores Dates! “Ayurvedic” herb-stuffed (Rs500/kg) to Basra (Rs100/kg); saffron from Rs160/g. Shop No. 3, M. S. Ali (Grant) Road. at J. J. Junction. 99202 33886.

H. M. Jalil Cold Drink & Juice Centre Year-round source for Swadeshi teetotaler soda Sosyo. 79/83, R. C. Wala Building, corner of Raudat Tahera Street & Khara Tank Road. 2346 2237.

Indian Hotel All-purpose tava joint, from naan-chop (Rs18) to bheja (Rs120). 92/96, Shop No. 1/2, Khara Tank Road. 2346 0687.

Bar-B-Que Corner Takes down its sign and sigdi by 11.30pm, so hurry for kheeri and kaleji (Rs20). Khara Tank Road.

Tawakkal Sweets Malai in many flavours (Rs600/kg) complements a perfect malpuwa. 26, Khara Tank Road. 2346 6360.

Jilani Fast Food Corner Bada baida from Rs30. Shop No. 6, Sana Manzil, 92/95, Pakmodia Street.

Idris Colddrink Sharbat delights like vari yalli (saunf), Rs10. 101, Pakmodia Street. 98202 19035.

Surti 12 Handi Gulam Mustafa’s family recipe from Surat turns a nihari (stew) into a meal, Rs80. 10pm–4am. 12, Gujar Street.

KGN Juice Thick anjeer shake Rs25. Corner of Gujar Street.

Noor Mohammedi Hotel Live goats, Husain original on display; nalli nihari Rs60. 179, Wazir Building, Abdul Hakim Chowk. 2345 6008.

Shalimar Cold Drinks Falooda from Rs22. S.V.P. Road, around corner from Shalimar. 2345 6632.

Suleiman Usman Mithaiwala Classic firni Rs25, flavoured Rs32–Rs34; lurid halwas. 175, I. M. Merchant Road, Minara Masjid. 2346 5059.

Hindustan Hotel Chota kebabs and lamba pav. 2347 6241.

Burhanpur Jalebi Centre Churns out hot, crisp mawa jalebis, Rs160/kg. 27/74, Memonwada Road. 98193 12072.

A list as comprehensive as that would be need at least 3 or more visits i assure you. With Eid just a week away, make the most of the time left and go ahead feed the glutton in you!