Saturday, December 31, 2016

10 Things 2016 Taught Me That No Other Year Ever Did

It is not just another new year’s eve for me. I don’t say it because I am in a different city, away from mote papa and moti momma, not indulging in our new year’s eve staple dinner of pav bhaji and gajar ka halwa and watching Victoria Secret annual show at midnight (although I will do it anyway). I say it because this year broke me emotionally but I am writing about it on the last afternoon of the year means I survived. 

Believe me I drove so many people away because I wasn’t my best this year. But it wasn’t in me really. What is left of me now is a fragile, vulnerable, sensitive mess but I can’t wait for a brand new year to start and feel better and stronger.

What this year taught me will take me sometime to absorb but I wanted to pen down what all I could to look back at it next new year’s eve and smile that I survived. 

1.  That I am not that good with people like I believed myself to be when this year began.

2.  That falling in and then falling out of love is my thing. No, seriously. Don’t believe me? Let’s meet over coffee and I’ll take you through my year’s love snippets. And yes, I still call it all love. 

3.  That money is important. Be it your higher-level dreams of quitting your job, go location neutral, travel and work from wherever you can to middle-class dreams to buy yourself a beer or a coffee whenever you want, load your bookshelf with all the classics you have been meaning to read, fill your closet with beautiful clothes, you need money. If your heart melts looking at kids on the roadside or old people begging and you want to do something about them, which too needs money. This year taught me that having some money in the bank account is a textbook rule to be followed to the T.

4.  That there is no one other than family who will stand by you, maybe because they are supposed to but also because they wish your best in every way. They aren’t and shouldn’t be taken for granted. I could write friends too but they are human and your incessant nagging and sulking can make them lose their shit sometimes and then you will realize you should have had some filter to not burden them with your entire emotional trauma. 

5.  That love is confusing. That sex is underrated. That being friendzoned is a real shit.

6.  That I can stay quiet, without social media apps for as long as I desire. This handicap that I had for being social 24X7 was just in my head. And I broke it. Twice this year. I am on one such detox right now too.

7.  That two people can be good on paper (or in bed) but can still not be together emotionally in the real world.

8.  That I can cook, if it comes to that. And no, not just Maggi.  

9.  That I have spent so many days and nights crying this year, I think I am done and bored with it for life. Next scene please.

10.That I love Bombay more than I ever thought. Even when I am stuck in a traffic jam for a while, the very thought that I am in Bombay is enough to thrill me (yes, I am crazy that way). My new year’s eve is by myself in my favorite city and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. 

Now I have to wrap this up, I have learnt enough lessons this year. Time to lace up the shoes, go to south Bombay, roam the streets, eat lot of street food (because salary isn’t in yet and I am broke, ya tell me about it), sit at Marine Drive and ring in the new year. A new year in a new city, with new hopes (don’t kill me for the clichés, that’s my current state of mind).

Happy 2017 to all of you! Eat, drink, make love not war, and do some yoga too! :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

McLeod Ganj Escapades - 5 Meals Worth Going Back For

Now, I may not be the only one who travels for food. I am sure there will be many like me but believe me when I say that when I am traveling solo, once I start my day, a major part of planning is where to eat. I feel like packing in lot of places and meals in already crammed time schedule.

On my very recent trip to McLeod Ganj, my agenda was very clear - ‘Hog till you drop’. Friends, colleagues, strangers and anyone who cared to share, had given me an impressive checklist of things to do which obviously included arduous treks. And that was conflicting with my secret agenda. And guess what won? My agenda, of course. Chuck the treks, catch the cafés, was going to be my modus operandi. Period.

So, if McLeod Ganj happens to be on your list anytime soon, then do try these and you can thank me later. As for me, I am definitely going back to McLeod just for the food and have a rewind of these fab 5. And more.

1. Spiciest Egg Fried Rice, 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel (with their trademark red chilli chutney)

My stay at this beautiful, cozy place requires another post. For now, I can just say that my craving for a normal-ish egg fried rice was answered by this plateful of hot, spicy fried rice with generous portion of scrambled egg thrown in the middle. This, delivered in my room, with pitter-patter of rain out in the balcony, has to be one of my best meals there.

2. Cheesy Gnocchi Fungi, Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen

Slightly expensive compared to other cafés and if you are on a budget, but like a third of a cost from a nice Italian restaurant in Delhi. And food? This Gnocchi was right cheese, right warm and just very right melt in the mouth kind.

3. Hot hot hot Momos and Fruit Beer, Tibet Kitchen

It was a big recommendation from a good friend. And I was so not disappointed. The best momos I have had (not kidding, I know my momos well!) and tangy lemon beer was such a killer combo. All this in about 130 bucks. And since I couldn’t finish the whole plate, 4 pieces made for my dinner too. Value for money, I say!

4. Chocolatey Peanut Butter Cake, The Clay Oven

I love sweets but I don’t usually go ordering a cake slice on a lazy evening in the hills. But that’s just what I did. With a honey ginger lemon tea. A definite must-have. While sitting outside in the balcony, looking at the rush of the main square, biting in to the cake and listening to music. Stuff trips are made of!

5. Authentic Belgian Waffles, Illiterati Books and Coffee

The coolest café I have ever been to in my life. The coolest owner, a Belgian, and a wonderful staff. Waffles that will make you forget all other waffles that you may have had. And did I mention that the place has the most amazing views in the whole area? I discovered it just a day before I was to head back home. Next time, I know where to plot my ass all day. 

Suffice to say, the trip was wonderful and delicious. McLeod Ganj is full of big, small and hole in the wall kind of places to eat at and I have a feeling that none of them disappoint. 

And if you travel to eat, do keep McLeod on your list. Move it up on the list, if I may say so. You will be surprised and charmed! 

Promise to be back with more travel tales soon!