Monday, October 4, 2010

Friends, Farsaan and Rain Flurrys



As the (10!) readers of this blog never fail to be reminded - I was born and brought up in Bombay and I continue to be attached to the city. Yes, it is big (but not bad), in a hurry (but not impatient) and the differences are stark (but never out-of-sight); it holds a lot of fond memories for me and has the kind of cosmpolitan spirit I have not been able to find in either Chennai or Delhi. Sure these cities have their own charm and I definitely appreciate them, not allowing myself to be blinded by my love for Bombay. But there is something about Mary.....

So, even after leaving the city 13 years back, I have managed to make a trip back every year (barring 2002 I think) to spend time with my best friends and trawl through my favourite haunts. In the past two years, I have also been making business trips and if they are on a Friday, then I try to spend the weekend too. My brother recently moved back and I love the chance to spend time with my nephew and niece. I usually try to do this so that hubby and daughter accompany me too (the guilt of a working mother who doesn't want to sacrifice precious weekend time with family), but last month this wasn't possible and I just decided to anyway stay over at my best friend's house on Friday night and spend a day at my brother's place as well before heading back on Sunday.

S and I go back to college and have known each other for close to 20 years now and she is my BFF(as Paris Hilton would say ;)), if there ever was one ; we were super excited about spending time together. She also managed to get together half of our Gang of eight in college - the other three are no longer in Mumbai - to come over for dinner on Friday night. Her younger sister who was often part of our shenanigans, also joined us that evening and the poor spouses and kids looked on while we rewound back to our patent silliness and hysterical laughter. Old jokes were brought forth, crushes revisited (and denied) and we pretended to look shocked when the incorrigible flirt of the group got down to changing nappies and mixing formula for his 6 month old cutie! It was such a fun evening - the barometer for us being when S laughs so much that there are tears rolling down her cheeks! - as we chatted and drank and ate and then laughed some more. We ended the night with some amazing brownies from Theobrama in Colaba.

pic courtesy Reuters
The next morning we dropped off S's adorable 3 year old to her Mom's house and along with her sister, set out to shop in Dadar. It started raining as we stepped out, but did that stop us - Naah. Have I shopped in Pondy Bazaar or Lajpat Nagar in the rain? - Nevah! But having grown up wading through knee deep water to get to school or even for bread (and later beer and bhutta!), the rain in Bombay doesn't seem to faze me. The heavy drizzle didn't bother us much anyway; the roads were not flooded and traffic wasn't snarled. So we made our way down Dadar TT  (later Khodadad Circle and now something else but we still refer to it as TT) and then on to Plaza, browsing the shops - (picked up some lovely handbags at throwaway prices and gifts for my Dad) and finally reached Sena Bhavan, where we wanted to go to a small jeweller. But he was closed for lunch and wouldn't open till 3pm - yes, thats how small the establishment was. It was 1.30pm and the rain had just picked up the pace and was now coming down in sheets. So, we quickly ducked into a tiny eatery next door, called Dattatrey, to get out of the rain and to have a bite as well.

Now this is a tiny place - typical of many such places in Dadar. Functional, clean and definitely not the place where they encourage lingering. The food comes to your table on the double, you are served efficiently and out you go!. So, we decided to order one dish at a time so we could last till the jeweller opened after lunch. The story about this place goes that it was on the verge of shutting down due to operational and cash flow issues, but since it was a favourite of Mr Thackeray (he used to frequent in his heydays and apparently still enjoys food from there), it was re-opened and still continues. The food is typical Bombay Maharashtrian vegetarian fare - mostly snacks like Misal, Kothmir Vadi, Thalipeeth and the like. But they also had full fledged "thalis" for lunch and dinner which consisted of servings of rotis or puris and rice with 2 types of vegetables, two lentil dishes, yoghurt and a dessert.

We ordered kanda bhajjias (onion fritters) - the perfect snack for the rains - and this was a tad greasy. But the puri bhaji , sabudana vadas and vangi bhath which followed one by one, were outstanding. I don't remember whether I ordered some sweets.....I know S didn't, since she gives up sweets for the month of Shravan (commendable to me; I can easily stay away from meat, but sweets?!).  But there was coffee at the end. All this cost a total of Rs. 204- I don't even remember the last time I ate a good meal that cost that little, even for one person, let alone for three!




 

All in all a really satisfying meal which one can't really put a price on (forgive the poor quality of the pics, they were taken on my mobile). Considering the amount of time we used to spend together in college and later, the fleeting moments we manage to spend now with our best friends, are priceless. A quick lunch between meetings, an hour at an exhibition in the same city on the way to the airport, staying one night before catching an early morning flight the next morning - these are the ways we stay in touch and connect and exchange notes on our lives - those important smiles and looks which can never be shared over the phone. Those resentments and resignations which seem so petty to talk about, when we are miles apart.

So, while I loved this place, you may have some other tiny-6-table places to recommend - whether for the excellent food or the beautiful memories. Do share.

7 comments:

Arch said...

What a lovely post Miri, I can almost hear you guys giggling away..Its wonderful that you and S have been best friends since forever !!I've been to this place called Prakash Cafe in Mahim (I think) which also has some amazing sabudana khichdi, kotmir vadas and puri bhaji...

sra said...

I saw this the moment it appeared on my reader - there was a different pic then, if I remember right! I read it and wanted to take my time savouring the post, and also think of such places I know of - but I remembered all this after seeing your comment on my post! I think you're the one on the left - looks the most Syrio/S. Indian to me - you can confirm it privately! :-; :-D

nina said...

oh stop fishing you have more than 10 readers! with my split personalities consider me 3 .... :) great post! superb! When I was in jamia we used to eat at a place called 'eat n joy' at friends colony market - this was before it became posh!

Miri said...

Yes Sra - was messing around with some pics of the web, but S managed to come up with this sketch of ours!

Hee Hee ;) will mail you :)

Vaishali said...

Miri, from one Bombay girl to another, thanks for great memories. Bombay sure is a hard city to get out of your system-- I haven't, even after living away from it 14 years. And those hole-in-the-wall Dadar joints make me so nostalgic for their wholesome, homemade food. I wish I could make a trip right now!

Krishna said...

they shud have a simble 'like' button for blogs; 'like' urs :))

Miri said...

Thanks Krishna and Vaishali :)