Saturday, October 22, 2011

Good, good day!

Day before was plump with goodies! It started with me reaching Lower Parel in the morning, earlier than I'd estimated. I hung about for a while inside Palladium looking at those beautiful stores, but mainly the Anita Dongre and the Rohit Bal ones. There was a scarlet, gold, and green ghagra in the Anita Dongre's showroom that looked so old-world opulent that I imagined the mannequin to have been transported by an elephant. A similar palanquin-panache haze hung about outside Rohit Bal's Prive'. There were rows and rows of princess-like lehengas in heavy white silks and dull gold zardozi. I'd reached early and the stores weren't open for business. But they were all lit up and happy looking, so I could peer in through the metal barricades. These stores - they looked like affluent babies sleeping in plush, luxurious bedrooms under thick, soft quilts. In time, they would stir, yawn, and get ready for the world to descend and fawn upon them.

To pass time, I went to Indigo Deli and had some hot chocolate. I'd recently been to Delhi and in true Delhi-returned fashion, I picked up 'City of Djinns' again. I've been trying to read it for so long now but  think I'll manage it now. This time in Delhi, I spent a lovely morning at Lodhi garden by myself. It's one of my favorite places in the world. Lodhi garden. The ruins, the landscaping, my childhood memories of the place, more recent memories of my adult-life - they just waft and weave music and poetry into filaments of time I spend there. I took long walks, sat on every possible stone on the ruins, followed puddles of soft sunlight on patches of thick grass, and just looked around and thought about life. Life as an invention, a discovery, a ballad. When I'm around something really beautiful, I often think that perhaps we aren't born with a soul. We create one as soon as we see something we want to hold on to for later - whenever rough, coarse times come our way. The soul, I imagine, bookmarks whatever is worthwhile.

Anyway, after spending a couple of hours at Indigo Deli, I went for a client meeting at Mahalaxmi. It went really well and I decided to meet a friend back at Palladium.

Now, this friend of mine is a fine conoisseur. She's fed me great canapes and brushcettas with goat cheese, pine nuts, and some sort of roasted seeds that's made my heart sing. Her custard laced with orange marmelade and crushed butter cookies is carefully constructed with maybe ten different levels of nuanced taste. So, when she suggested we have a bite at Moshe's and she'd be choosing the dishes, I was game.

The meal was superb. Here's what I recommend for vegetarians:
  • The soy and tofu burger. The patty is delectable beyond belief! I've been a meat-eater earlier and have chomped down several truck-loads of minced beef and mutton cutlets in my time. This soy and tofu burger is right up there with the best of them. In fact, even if you are non-vegetarian, I strongly recommend you have a go at this. For starters, the patty is maybe 3 inches thick. It's full of some sort of spicy, smoky flavor and the soya makes it juicy and wonderfully chewy.
  • The Egyptian Dukka fondue - There's a very liberal sprinkling of aniseed that makes the fondue delicious. I'm not a big one for cheese but the dry Egyptian seasoning in the fondue melt ups the taste ante here. Even the cubes of bread are baked with saunf and are perfect to mop up this creamy fondue with.
  • The African Rubois tea- It's a deep, red color - reminiscent of the lavish dust of the region. Interestingly, even though the drink looks robust, it has a very delicate, subtle flavor. It's decaffeinated, light and a perfect beverage to sip after a fondue and burger meal. (Again, this is not just for vegetarians.)
After an afternoon of some refinement and genteel conversation, we decided to go shopping at Crawford Market and Zaveri Bazaar. Colorful, dusty, crowded, choc-o-block with novelty - a world where couth gets nudged out by brazennes. Yet you'll find quiet taste genuflecting in some dark alley.

As we walked deep into Crawford market, we found ourselves at a crossroad. Because of Diwali festivities, there were a million colorful kandeels fluttering away in the sky. And beyond this cloud of pink, yellow, red, tangerine and green fluttering arms, rose a beautiful dome of a mosque. And beyond that still, the sky sighed out an inky dusk. I'm a big one for Mumbai skies. Yet, this one was so stellar and different - not one of those city nights that have skyrises stencilled on them. This one seemed to be ageless. It seemed as if a perfect piece of history got hiccuped out of Time itself.

My friend and I went about here and there and got some excellent staionery. She got some moss-green handmade paper sheets with gossamer thinness. I picked out a few hundred sheets of paper in shades of blue and salmon. Now I'm wondering what to do with this. Maybe I'll write out the verses of Tao Te Ching and have them bound and gifted to friends or cousins. We bought pretty envelopes and yards of twine to wrap up scrolls (if we wanted to. Frankly, we just liked how they looked.)

The day ended. I caught a train from VT and spent the long train ride ensconced in typical city bustle. Somewhere inside my brain, my evening at Crawford Market and my morning at Lodhi Road melted and fused into each other.

Today, from that little well of sudden, dulcet historicity, little bubbles of joy bubble over. They shift around on the surface and they spell out 'Happy Diwali'.

Light and love to everyone!


sup said...

light and love to you too and to your sparkling words that are so happy-making Mukta!

Vinita said...

light and love to you and your family...Happy Diwali. Loved reading about your twin-city days :)

subbulakshmistoned said...

Happy Diwali!
Lotsa love, S.

omnithere said...


Mukta said...

:-) thanks all!

Aditi said...

hope you had a good divali too!