Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Delicious Khau Galli at your service!!

The first time I heard about Khau Galli was in the movie Ghajini. Asin calls up Aamir and recites the address which is then passed on to a foreigner for noting down. But the poor fellow couldn’t spell it properly. Well, I couldn’t blame him anyway.

Years later, I got an opportunity to visit the place myself along with my cousins. What an experience! We arrived at the place at 9pm. The road was a narrow and long one. People were jostling and moving through. There were food stalls everywhere. When I say everywhere means literally everywhere. They were on both sides of the road, beside trees, near the parking area….omnipresent! Seeing the entire crowd surrounding the stalls, I felt suddenly hungry. My cousins dragged us all to the nearest famous dosa centre. It made all kinds of dosas I had never tasted before. Jinni dosa, Chinese dosa, Manchurian dosa was famous among the crowd. Though it was not a five-star hotel, the service was good enough. You have to place your order and within the next 7 mins, your order is made in front of you live. You can either sit on a clean dry area or stand on a side and finish your meal.  I ordered jinni dosa and it was so big in size that I had to share it with 3 others to finish it. All came at a reasonable prize. My mami tells me that every night; the area is packed with foreigners and Punjabis.

Going further in, I came across a small Frankie stall that was hard to see because it was surrounded by people from all sides. After much pushing and excuse me’s we reached close enough to place our order. The menu card showed that it made atleast 15 kinds of Frankie. Paneer Frankie was its most sought after. Later it was time for some ice. After a lot of walking, we came across the right place. But it not only made kulfis and ice-creams but also golas. We ordered some kala-khatta and orange gola.  It was tasty and ice-cold! Unlike served in glasses where gola is placed around a stick and dipped in a glass filled with coloured liquids.  It was different here. The kala- khatta was placed in a round dish and we had to tuck in with a spoon. We enjoyed it till our tongues changed its colour.

At the end of our eating spree, we came across a juice-seller. Yeah I know….after all the dosas, frankies and golas…a glass of watermelon juice it too much to ask for. But we ran for it. And my brothers instead went to a nearby bakery to feast on some sandwiches. The juice- seller was quite humble and allowed us to pose for some photos while he waited patiently to finish our drinks! And after that we continued our walking till we reached the end of Khau Galli. Looking back I could still smell that delicious dosa and sambhar mixed in the air by the blowing wind. I turned and looked at my watch. It was past midnight. But the crowd was just starting to come and eat more! 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

An unforgettable visit

After a very long period of time, I came to my favourite destination on the planet again-Alibaug. Six long years, to be precise.  Nothing had changed much. The school remains the same as ever and the playground filled with students playing Cricket and Dodge-ball. I met my teachers and old school friends. I visited the building where I lived with a thrill of excitement. Giving old neighbours a bit of surprise is always fun! The shops too were familiar. I walked on the road with old familiarity and was astonished to see the same cobbler in the same place after so many years. The Arabian sea remains the same but the shore had changed a lot. Now there were seats and concrete boundaries.

But I was not satisfied. Because I could not meet my old Sanskrit teacher. Mrs. Kulkarni Madam lived in the same old building where I lived. For three years, I went to her for Sanskrit classes. She was a teacher in a different school and we met only in the evening for my tuition. I still remember very vividly as if it were yesterday. I had once scored a whopping 98 marks in my prelims at school. My board exam marks was a 90. Learning Sanskrit from her created a sort of passion in me towards the language. During my tenth class, I could translate many unseen passages from Sanskrit to English.

But now, she had shifted to a new building in a completely new area which I was not familiar with. Due to lack of time, I could not even visit it. I was heavily disappointed. I got her number from an old neighbour but could only receive the operator answering machine. It was very frustrating. How to I contact her? I didn’t know when I will come to Alibag next time!

It was time to catch the bus that would take me back to Mumbai. There was packing to be done and things to be arranged. But I decided to visit the temple one last time. Amidst many chaos and tantrums, I was allowed to go with a promise to come back in time. I ran from the hotel and reached the temple. I entered inside and made rounds around different deities thus copying other worshippers. During my last round, I sensed someone very close behind me. I turned and became astonished. It was Kulkarni madam! And what’s more, she hadn’t changed at all. She was actually standing there in front of me! I blinked and she smiled. She was happy to see me and we chatted for like half an hour. I told her about my studies and career planning ahead. How time goes on!  A separation of 6 years from her seemed like 60 years to me. There was so much to talk about but no time! I bade her good-bye with a heavy heart. Resisting the urge to cry, I walked out. The old memories flashed in my mind. Those evening classes, the lessons, the school, friends, teachers…..why couldn’t I just go back to school? That life was much better and simple. But alas! That’s just a fantasy. If I had a time travelling machine, my fantasy could have become possible.

Now its time for a spine-cracking career ahead! As some people say-be practical. And then the line of a poem comes into my head which I used to solve under unseen poems in my English classes. Its poet is William Henry Davies. It ran like this, “ What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare ?”