My Encounters with Mumbai Rickshaw Walas

The most challenging part of my work day is finding an auto rickshaw on Linking road during peak hours, to ply a short distance. I turn from Zenia to Xena – the warrior princess – fighting my way through the swarming traffic, competing with fellow office goers, all so that I can find someone to safely take me home. Sadly my ordeal does not end there. 

I seem to have the innate knack of attracting auto drivers that range from the obstinately rude to the downright cheap. An interesting rickshaw ride yesterday inspired me to list down the types of rickshaw walas I encounter on a regular basis, and here goes –

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Will Wander For Food – A Khandeshi Food and Wine Sojourn

Do you plan your upcoming vacations around destinations that are known to serve the best food? Do you believe that the best way to understand the culture of a new place is via the regional food favorites? Do you strongly feel that the best souvenirs you can take back home are those of the edible kind? If yes, then Wandering Foodie may be the answer.

Two engineers – Rahul Patil and Vinod Sarma- gave up their boring desk jobs, to combine their love for regional Indian food and travel, resulting in the ingenious Wandering Foodie concept. Currently limited to two destinations in Maharashtra – Nashik and Alibaug – the concept emphasizes on learning more about a place, by travelling there, and tasting traditional local food. Food that is made using traditional methods, by home chefs, and with local produce – it doesn’t get more authentic than this!

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Lanka Diaries: Must Do

Here’s my second post of my Lanka Diaries series. I just cannot seem to get over the vacation I had. Hoping you have read the last one featuring the best of Sri Lankan food and where I found it. (Read it here). Lanka is so raw, beautiful, and untapped – it has everything from surly mountains, to bustling cities, to pristine waters, to clear blue skies. It has the potential to become THE next tourist destination. But I sincerely hope it does not. I rather prefer a quiet, less commercial holiday over a fast paced, ‘touristy’ one. 

In this post I jot down my ‘Must Do’ recommendations while considering a holiday in the land down south. Remember this does not even cover a fraction of the actual list. This is just a list of the some of the stuff I did there, and enjoyed so much; so I thought I’d share the love. There are only so many hours in a day, after all.

1. Feed a baby elephant at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

A half hour drive from the main city of Kandy in the Central Province lies a quaint little town known for it’s elephants. The elephant orphanage in Pinnawala is known for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. Over here you can see daddy, mummy and baby elephants in their natural habitat prancing around, or even bathing in the nearby river. The elephant bathing happens only at a particular time during the day, so make sure you research that beforehand because it is quite an experience. We went during elephant feeding time in the evening, where the grown ups were munching on leaves and branches. The babies on the other hand were being bottle fed (awww). Pay a little extra and get to bottle feed a baby elephant yourself. Don’t forget to touch the little fellow’s wrinkly, tough trunk while you’re at it. Accompanying elephant stalls try and sell elephant rides to you but we didn’t do that. These gentle giants are supposed to be admired from afar, not ridden.

Guaranteed: Maternal instincts towards the little one as you see him gulp his bottle down, and holds your hand with his trunk asking for some more feed.

Lover’s Tiff
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Lanka Diaries: Must Eat

Ohh, I just returned from a wonderful vacation, from the island country down south – Sri Lanka. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ve been witness to all the wonderful sights, sounds, and food Sri Lanka has to offer. 

My holiday was beautiful in so many ways. Beaches that are pristine, with clear water and blue skies. Mountains that provide peace, tranquil and helped me re-connect with myself. Locals that are warm, smiling, and ever helpful. Sri Lanka is raw, natural, and untapped – and I sincerely hope it remains that way. 

And don’t even get me started on the food. I emptied half of the Lanka seas with the amount of seafood that I ate. Sri Lanka is a paradise for the pescetarian and the meat lover. Vegetarians may have a difficult time finding local food. I made it a point to eat authentic Lankan food on the trip, may it be from a restaurant, street side stall or a beach shack. This post is a tribute to the many meals I had while on vacation in Sri Lanka. And in no way does it encompass everything. There’s only so many meals you can have in a day.

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Pune Diaries – Something Old and Something New

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve traveled to Pune for work and play, conferences and recreation. Ever since my maternal grandparents moved to Pune over a decade ago, a lot of weekends were spent there with family which included movies, shopping and most importantly stuffing our faces with food so that we’d come back five kilos heavier. Anything lesser, and my grandmother would take it as a personal insult. I was back after almost a year, and this time I was looking forward to trying out my old favorite eating places again. And trying out the newly recommended and read about foodie joints. So in absolute random order, here is my Pune food diary – including the old and the new. (Keeping it short and sweet here. Listing out only my absolute favorites from the trip, along with a few pictures. I could do an elaborate review also, but then that would result in me having to write a book. Any publishers interested? Lol.)

Something Old:

1. Dorabjee and Sons:

Every time someone asks me for Parsi food recommendations in Mumbai, I tell them to take a bus to Pune and eat at Dorabjee’s. My visit this time around, was consistent with all previous times; hearty food, memories, tradition, and the same waiter serving me who has been working at Dorabjee’s since 30 years! This institute of a restaurant, established in 1878 is situated on a picturesque street that screams out – Bawa! This place proves that good food comes first in the restaurant business, everything else later. Go on a Sunday and try out their mutton Dhansak (Rs. 250/-) and Patraa fish (Rs. 200/-) which is unavailable on other days. Round it up with an awesomely caramelized Lagan nu Custard (Rs. 50/-) which transported me back to a Parsi wedding. Jamva Chalo Ji! 

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