You want a Maserati?…you better work,work!!

Yes I work. I blog. I ride. I travel. Not to be confused with one another. And, on days like these, I’m in the hustle and bustle of Mumbai city for yet another client meeting. It’s funny, how at societal do’s, folk greet and raise the age old question, ‘You blog for a living? While a part of me would like to say, ‘Yes! If only it were that easy’- I would. However, the love for showcasing travel continues and will always continue to do so. 

So yes, I find myself at the broad end of the spectrum in the midst of Ghatkopar for a client meeting. I was put up at The ROA– a three star business property close to the Metro line (which I took and loved every minute of it) on the way here. I am told it means ‘The King’ in Greek. So here is hoping for the Royal treatment at play. 

I love Mumbai. I start my journey in an airport chauffeur driven Range Rover Sport and in the blink of an eye commute with the common man mode of transport, all on the very same day. It’s enriching and grounding. A city that has something for everyone. 

The Executive Room    Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography

A business hotel has a different mindset and yearning for a customer who wants the basics with a touch of panache. After all the target audience is demanding in a different sort of way. The room is spacious, the staff friendly and over accommodating, the room service tight and my personal pet peeve- the bathroom is a dream. What’s more I am guided to a series of instructions on my way to the room as well as given the most important amenity for my stay here- an unlimited supply of fiber optic high speed,Wi-fi. 

I check in. I power nap in time for lunch and mr. NObody, ever so curious, glances through the menu. The restaurant is bustling due to a wedding party to cater too. I use this opportunity to order in. The room service is prompt and the food scrumptious. A vegetarian and non vegetarian starter is suggested. The Day & Knight Kofta (the image at the beginning of the article) is well presented and quite artsy in approach. And the servings are plenty. Easily serves two. It is a must try. 

I am requested to try the Murgh Malai seekh- I am apprehensive at first considering this dish has fallen flat on many counts from established cuisine oriented standalones to star properties- my experiences of course. I am urged to the extent of having it made complimentary if not to my satisfaction. I love it when Chefs are so confident, especially when they know their craft.
One morsel and I am in seventh heaven. Succulent, fresh and how!! It was a perfect blend of texture and spice with the viscosity of a creamy malai. 
I later find out the owners are known for their love of food- the Ghuraa’s and carefully monitor their menu on a daily basis. Kudos!! 

 Murgh Malai Seekh Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography 

I top off my well balanced meal (vegetarian & non vegetarian) with a Warm Chocolate Brownie-in its rudimentary form. It’s a hot selling favourite and I am lucky to have the last one for the moment before the next batch is baked. Flavaa- is their inhouse restaurant and gets a lot of walk-ins for their coffee and brownies from the local folk around. It’s very art decor and subtle. And now I know why. Thank you Chef for the well recommended meals. 

All in all a restful and productive stay. Off to my meeting in a bit. 

As Britney put it – ‘You want a Maserati…you better work work.‘ 


All images are shot on an Iphone6. 

And then there was ‘Light’

This is going to be a pictorial representation for the primary purpose of ‘art’. After all, art, is interpretive and can never be solely explained. Whilst the dishes do the talking, I shall parallel echo my sentiments of a night at Ziya at the Oberoi Mumbai. Persian for ‘splendour & light’ and the labor of love from thrice Michelin star Chef Vineet Bhatia this restaurant is tastefully clad in its statement for understated regality. 

This being my second meal at the hands of a Michelin chef and being quite the avid follower of a few starred restaurants, I arrive early. After all, it only takes a few months to procure a reservation at these establishments when abroad and,I ,suffer from being German about time. The restaurant is being set for the big culinary ‘Jugalbandi’ night ahead. Prep and checks are being made between the Chef & Manpreet Kaur Dhody- the commandeer restaurant-in-charge for the evening. Everything has to be perfect. I’be been told it’s a one sitting affair (just the way chef wanted it).  

Rested in plush opulence with Chef Vineet’s book in hand, the dominant color of the evening is clearly ‘Gold’. I felt under dressed however my Iphone6 was at ease in the surroundings,playing its part all decked up in its gold case. Attention to detail is at its minutest best. From the 24 karat gold plated cutlery, (a limited placed order from the crockery house in Italy – Industria Vetraria Valdarnese Italyin of only 200 sets) to the ceilings adorned with 24 karat leaf gold paper there is a pattern at play. 

Attention to details has mr. NObody be a ‘somebody’ that evening. 

I am engrossed in the book, till the time I am ushered to meet the man himself, Chef Vineet- a gentle and unassuming culinary extraordinaire. His kind eyes and gentle smile put me at ease instantaneously thus avoiding any faux pas, I was about to commit. A brief discussion has him explain his humble beginnings and awe inspiring story of how he started out peeling 200 potatoes in this very kitchen many moons ago, only to head the same restaurant today. Humility and simplicity at its best. 

I was explained that tonight’s Jugalbandi was at the hands of Chef Adriano Baldassarre, Chef Rubén Santos and himself with a confluence of Indian, Japanese and Italian flavors over a 5 course menu. 

 24 karat gold plated cutlery (200 piece limited set) 

I am escorted to my table and requested at my own pace to inform my attendant as and when ready to begin. I try to hold back my glee and over enthusiasm and gently whisper ‘please begin‘ in the most monotone baroque voice possible. Pulled that off rather well, might I add.

Each plating had a story to tell. It was well explained and to the point. The San Danielle ham and Parmesan maki with a roll of saffron khichdi and sweet shitake was something I would relate to an extra marital affair (not that I would know off first hand, hearsay at best). Two pieces of sinful delight each captivating my senses over the other. The Good wife vs the provocative mistress and before ones knows it, the affair consumes you onto the next course.  

San Danielle ham & Parmesan maki

It is the season for porcini mushrooms in Italy all this month. And yes, I know a few Italians who are anal in their consumption of the freshest produce and dining with them have learnt to expect the same. It’s simple,wholesome living yet plentiful as to how structured they are in their eating habits. 

The Miso porcini soup hit the spot. The pairing of the crunchy shrimp fritters over sun dried tomato chutney, struck a perfectly poised balance between the two. My use of the gold cutlery for the first time did have an awkward geek moment wherein I wrestled with the thought of taking a selfie, luckily the deer in headlight stare from my observant server had me compose myself at the awkward immediate last second. Missed my selfie-Darnnit!!!

Miso Porcini soup 
 

The next course was a delicate Chilli & Burnt garlic Chilean Seabass. Accompanied with a dust of carbon mash (yes you heard right carbon!!), zucchini scapesce and black bean sauce this was a treat to the senses being paired with the 2002 Chateau Margaux. You do not want to know the price of a bottle- (hint; it runs into the six figure range INR). 

What is amazing and refreshing is the art on display at the table in perfectly sized portions. Not too little not too much. Each dish presents itself with a story that arrests me. To others, on several occasions I might have looked like a gawking Buffon, as I marvel and reveal in these painstakingly handcrafted pieces- a part of me not wishing to consume it and bid it farewell but another craving to devour it the minute it arrives. Due respect must be adhered too merely as protocol. We shall let Mr Hyde slumber for now. 

Chilli & Burnt garlic Chilean seabass 

After a refreshing ginger sorbet to cleanse the palate with some fine Moet poured over it, I took a few minutes to digest and read the crafted menu more elaborately. And the last line arrested me. ‘Close your eyes and explore a myriad of sensory dimensions’. Indeed. 

However I had to move along to the next course. The Curry leaf and crusted lamb loin with spaghetti puttanesca, sesame wasabi pak choy steamed white asparagus. 

By the time, I was playing Sherlock trying to deduce associating the dishes to the personalities of the chefs inside. On a wild note, I’ve been chased down the streets of Rome for the misunderstanding of the word ‘putta‘ so I find it hilariously funny when spoken about spaghetti that way. 

Curry leaf and crusted lamb loin   

I have taken the liberty to articulate this last piece of culinary art as the Art Platter. Though the name is as simplistic as the concept behind it Chef Vineet calls it the Matcha- rasmalai cheesecake, Coconut panna cotta, Matcha chocolate truffle and black sesame Kulfi. I just stared and then some upon its presentation, and wondered how Chef managed to get a rasmalai in between a cheesecake!?! 

Simple, yet awe inspiring and brilliantly executed. Perfect and moist right down the centre. The chocolate truffle was a loaded cannon with the explosion hitting all the sensory spots. And the cute puzzle moulds of Panna cotta and kulfi were a playful delight. 

Art platter  

Indeed an enlightening affair. Thank you Chef’s and the entire team. 

Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography Shot on IPhone 6 

Mr.Worldwide

If your wondering about the title- as much as I would like to be Mr. Worldwide aka Pitbull, I still am mr. NObody the last time I checked. Here’s a candid confession about the beauty and art of eating a buffet (learnt the hard way of course) You are spoilt for choice and neglect is never an option. But in these days,of counted calories and busting seam lines, one has to be extra careful and selective in this ‘art of choice’- yours truly for sure. In my constant struggle and strife of keeping the calorie count in check, with an excessive workout regiment, I was invited with a few Mumbai foodies to Hornby’s Pavilion at the ITC Grand Central -Lower Parel for their Kitchens of the World Series. This time around it was Street food focused with many exotic preparations in store. 

Having travelled extensively it was a delight to hop around a multitude of signature cuisines at the comfort of ones own chair, being not too far away on display at the buffet counter. Some of these dishes have had me travel far and wide to witness and sample. If I had to spotlight a quick culinary trail, let me start straight at home with the India section hitting all the right spots. From the Nalli Nihari to the Dum mutton Biryani the ITC Hotels can do no wrong, this being the fourth time in a span of a decade I have bared witness too. It’s spot on! Sweet sorrowful parting of tender meat chunks falling off the bone with a mere fork nudge in symphonic harmony. The Galauti kebabs and mushroom adaptation were sinfully exotic and perfect in texture. 

Nalli Nihari  Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography

Heading to the chaat section which always has a soft spot in my heart were the Agra ka chaat and Aloo Tikki both which stole the show with much aplomb. Taking off to Singapore, was the Rojak salad which has delicate blend of mango, papaya & pineapple alongside the Bellpeper salad tossed with bean sprouts a favourite on the streets of Istanbul. The Ablama– a Lebanese dish comprised of a stuffed Zucchini filled with meat, rice and tomatoes cooked with tomato sauce was an instant favorite. 

Ablama  Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography

The menu is carefully crafted by Chef Dhawal Ajmera, who took the time from his packed schedule to sit down and go through his preparations with us. From pickles seasoned in his own kitchen, to research oriented menus and adaptations of world favourites to suit the Indian palate, one would be fooled by how much knowledge he has amassed at such a young age. A watchful eye on our plates and suggestions did make for an interesting, educative, experience indeed. 
Aloo tikki

Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography    

From Pizzas with Mozarella cheese to the famous Korean Bulgogi with a twist, this place is a sensory delight for the world traveller who appreciates and experiments with multiple cuisines. It was more of an overload walking through the ‘isles of food coma’, a playful jest moment shared between us two surrounded by Pork spare ribs on one side and quesadillas on the other. Fresh hot baguettes and cheese to fritter prawns- Singapore style, it was a good place to be in. Unfortunately the aisle was rather narrow and I gawked like a stalker or so the prawns would have thought. The googly eyes were a dead giveaway. 
Picarones Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography 

Moving over the the desserts on offer was a variety, from the Columbian Chocolate mousse to the deep fried Picarones (a Columbian version donut) which were smothered in honey syrup and dusted with cocoa, I couldn’t help but notice and wonder as to the ‘real’ reason behind Pablo Escobar’s weight gain. A few of these would be equivalent to an hour on the mill for me,at an incline that too, but I am sure Mr. Escobar would have savoured these from his motherland. 

 Pumpkin Pudding  Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography

The Crepe Suzettes with an orange and honey glaze were delightful- do ask for a fresh batch and they would happily oblige and not go mention the gooey Pumpkin pudding from the streets of Brazil which were amazing. Lest not forget, the Jalebi and rabdi from our homeland which had me asking for a second helping. (Click on it to see the video) Yes, I’m a calorie fraud and I didn’t care right about then. 

The beauty of reciting this eclectic menu, is there is no stoppage in sight anytime soon. I could ramble on and confuse some, get hate mail from others- yet just leave one and all gasping for more. My simple suggestion is, make a reservation and head on over at the earliest as this festival closes on the 22nd of November. 

Bon Culinare Voyage!!!!!

Locked & Loaded 

I find myself in familiar territory in the lanes of Bandra and am taken to this quaint little dessert bistro- Loaded, an amalgamation of an eclectic mix of a variety of things, thanks to the ever imaginative thoughts of its creator and owner Tripti Singh- an affable and almost instantly loveable soul.

The first thing that stands out about the persona of Loaded is –good things do come in small packages. That being said with Tripti at the helm, it’s quite the loaded affair. The essence behind the name was genuine and heartfelt in conversation with Tripti. Mumbai is definitely NOT cheap and the parallel equation of quantity to price is normally quite skewed across the city. Some serving a lot less for a lot more. Tripti wanted her clientele to enter hungry and leave consumed and satisfied. The pricing is a guffaw especially for the  quantity served in my honest opinion.

I was told of her famous –Red velvet crepe with chocolate brownie which does make the cut to be mentioned on my blog- it’s an instant crowd favorite and oozes with decadence. However I left myself entirely to the dessert madness that engulfs Tripti’s mind and her insistence of having to try her recommendation- the Kitkat Brownie Sandwich with chocolate ganache.
Before I head on to describe this orgasmic monster- a simple ‘thank you’ to the lady who stood her ground and was adamant we try the same. As they say, never argue with the chef as chef knows best. Mind you the image showcased is only ‘half’ a portion and that was enough to send me into a sugar rush and food coma instantaneously.

The sandwich satiated the appetites of my fellow foodies Shveta @hoppingfoodie and Ayesha @ayeshabarretto, who I personally carted from Goa to help me consume this madness. Thank you both for the help. X

Deconstructed, it’s as simple as something one could make in their kitchen at home. It’s an orgy of bread, loads of Kitkat, gooey chocolate brownie with hints of ganache and caramel -toasted. Salivating yet?

The Red velvet crepe with chocolate brownie and white chocolate shavings is an instant hit in Mumbai and with good reason. Ticks off all the boxes in terms of uniqueness, creativity and taste construct. It’s got perfect texture and is hysterically balanced to let your senses fight for taste when consumed and is served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Red Velvet crepe with chocolate brownie   Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography 

We entered with an appetite for a meal and tucked in the corner of the menu is Tripti’s famous and overshadowed Mac n Cheese pasta. Try it before you indulge yourself into ‘dessert madness’.

Reveal in the maniacal world of desserts and leave Loaded. Over and out.

The Legend of the duck 

I admit- this experience has got to be one for the books, for a multitude of reasons. For one, I have never really had a fascination for duck (even when I visited China way back in 2007 and dined at the famous Bianyifang -the first restaurant specializing in Peking duck, having being established in the Xianyukou, Qianmen area of Beijing in 1416. But as time progressed, this dish grew on me having enhanced and expanded my palate over various cuisines on my numerous travels. Peking duck is a famous dish from Bejing that has been prepared since the Imperial era, and is considered a national dish of a China.

The ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is eaten with pancakes, scallion, and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. Having said this and being witness to the meticulous process observed by Chef Yang at China House- a restaurant designed to exude the warmth of a typical chinese home, that offers a casual dining experience with a modern approach, it was a treat in store for me. One of the popular restaurants at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai, the design integrates interactive glass show kitchens into a multiple-seating layout accompanied by surrounding table booths and lounge areas. And with Chef Yang at the helm, who I believe has spent the last 10 years perfecting the art of the Peking duck, it was an opportunity to be seized.

The Duck being roasted for 45mins @ 270 degrees centigradePic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography 

While I was trying to be obscure in my curiosity towards the hand crafted progress of the meal, it eventually did get the better of me. I sneaked into the interactive kitchen keenly trying to observe what Chef Yang was hard at work on. He was kind enough to take me through a few nuances of the process- especially the special ‘herb water’ used to fill the duck with, to moisten it during the roasting process. This comprised of a mixture of celery sticks, wolf berries, schuan pepper, spring onions, cinnamon sticks & star anise. The uniqueness of this dish is the attention to detail the duck endures before it reaches ones table. For e.g., the ‘7’ times the duck is dipped in sugar water. Why so? To give it that crisp caramel texture showcased on the skin. And of course, the ‘herb water’ mixture described above, which is poured into the duck and corked at the base with a dry bamboo shoot comprising of mango wood, to ensure it is cooked with all the herbs within over a 45-50 minute process in a wood fired oven. Peking duck is traditionally roasted in either a closed oven or hung oven. The hung oven was developed in the imperial kitchens during the Qing Dynasty. It is designed to roast up to 20 ducks at the same time with an open fire fueled by hardwood from peach or pear trees. The ducks are hung on hooks above the fire and roasted at a temperature of 270 °C for 30–45 minutes. While the ducks are cooking, the chef uses a pole to dangle each duck closer to the fire for 30 second intervals. And whats interesting, is almost every part of a duck can be cooked. Each aspect is carefully monitored and is taken with pride and gusto by the chef in charge.

Left to Right: Crispy duck skin & breast  Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography

The art of educating the customer is a must see at China House- the way the duck is served and consumed is something that excited my senses.To the quick carvings- a step process starting with the skin being a delicacy, is normally consumed by dipping the skin in a bowl of refined sugar, to give it a crunch to ones pancake. The meat is slivered in three stages- the skin is one serving. The breast is laid out perfectly and is succulent and tender and the third carving has a mixture of the thigh and skin to give it that coarse and crunch to the moist pancake. The meat is then served with steamed pancakes, spring onions and sweet bean sauce. Cucumber sticks and chopped spring onions are provided for accompaniments. The sauce is evenly concentrically spread, and optional sugar is sprinkled, over the pancake. The pancake is wrapped around the meat with the vegetables and eaten by hand.

Mind you the duck can feed a table of 4 with ease. So do order carefully.

In 2012,The Huffington Post ranked Peking duck 1st in list of “10 Foods Around The World To Try Before You Die”.

The #legendoftheduck awaits you. What are you waiting for?

My first Birdcage Threesome 

Wicked thoughts scurrying thy mind? I assure you of nothing scandalous, I plan on keeping this post PG rated for my younger followers (though I assure you some of them could teach you and I a thing or two.)

Happy to be back in Mumbai once again and excited to know I’m meeting guests who I haven’t seen in over a few years. It’s funny how being left to host the evening the place falls upon my choosing every now and then. Well when suggested the dining option many of them chuckled knowing only I could have thought of something so – exciting. 

I wait patiently at Cafe Threesome in Versova. The vibe is fabulous. The DJ spinning some deep house tunes and the service of the barman prompt to keep my spirits ‘high’. It’s a very chic sublime concept of a restobar with a unique twist to a much enticed exotic menu. The bathroom catches my fancy given the soap dispenser being a Jack Daniel bottle with a selfie booth (I’m sure it’s seen some mayhem and action three ways to Sunday in its time) with the lovely folk visiting for a powder pucker. 

It’s always great meeting old friends. So much catching up to do well in this case thanks to a multitude of Whatsapp chats were in touch though far away and life carried on. A gentle reminiscence of ‘wild days gone past’ and a somber melancholy sets in to a time not so long ago that is hard to come by these days. Thank god for change and the stagnation of us all to pick up where we left off unfettered. A few of the usual lot couldn’t make it and their presence was missed. But we were at Cafe Threesome and I had heard a lot about some of the wild preparations. 

Now before the morale police come to task let me assure you after being in the food fraternity a while and travelled far and wide there’s not much that shocks me anymore. But a good preparation or the culinary skill and concept of chefs these days could arouse much curiosity to ensure I am left gasping for more. Yes, there is a hashtag circulating these days to the effect #foodporn and yes I totally understand why. After all good food = porn these days? 

Let’s call ourselves back to the showcase at hand. I am gently ushered aside to allow me to let go of the menu to the chefs imagination and only asked my preference being vegetarian or not. I go for the non vegetarian route this time. Having detoxed myself in Goa I feel alive and fresh for more. Sadistic much? Read on. 

The Italian Chicken makes its way like a caged animal to our table. For a moment, in the dim lit ambience I thought we would have a live chicken up for slaughter given the cage that accompanied it. There is a restaurant in Mexico that does that I’m told. Don’t want to divulge more details here but as I said things are bizarre in the world of food excitement these days. Fresh from the farm onto the table in a matter of speaking – literally! 

On the lighter side, what did chicken say to server upon arriving at my table? Cage meeeeeee. (I’m not known for my jokes. Thank god for small mercies.) 

 The Italian Chicken   Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography

Our up and about waiter with a hop to his step further elucidates; ‘Sir. This dish is an Italian flavoured burger patty with salad leaves, Roma tomatoes, pickled cucumber with a serving of grilled onion chutney, jalapeños & salsa served with thousand island dressings and fries.’  The waiter had me at pickled cucumber. The rest was just the icing and a orgasmic blur emitted from his iteration of the condiments. I smiled in glee thanking him like a satiated kid in a consumed candy shop. 

The meat was tender and well marinated. Perfect char and succulent and juicy inside. The fries fresh and crispy. The presentation reminded me of Mr Williams character in the movie the Birdcage. The cage round and red made of firm wrought iron was produced and kept aside. Ladies this piece of jewellery could do well to husbands who don’t behave themselves on the dinner table or elsewhere- if you catch my drift. Come now, your probably thinking 50 shades darker yes? 

While your at this place do dig into a few exotics such as the Silken mutton galauti and the wasabi fish fingers. One of my recommendations for the vegetarians is the cute Cupcake Shrooms. Now it’s not illegal so your safe. More on my Instagram post shortly about that in the coming week. Stay tuned. 

All in all I better let your mind play havoc and run a little wild. The next time in the mood for roll cage might I suggest some with a threesome. Guaranteed to excite. 

Gardening @ the bar 

I must confess. I miss my garden. The smell of wet mud, the plucking of weeds and my entire gardening apparel, gloves, hat et all. The simple joys of pottering and tottering around getting my hands dirty (in a matter of speaking). 

On my food trail in lovely Mumbai on a glorious sweaty and sunny afternoon a foodie bestie and self decided to head over to Jamjar diner @ Versova for some much needed catch up and a ‘special surprise’ that awaited me. 

Least expecting come dessert time was the presentation of this ‘sinful surprise’ brought to our table- Flower pot surprise. 

I guess it must have been the constant high pitched tone shrills me and my bestie kept on at that possible caught the attention of our garçon attending to us to attentively without ask hand over this delicate creation. 

So what is the Flower Pot Surprise? As you can see it looks like an orchid plant but underneath the so called deceiving earthly mud is a ton of gooey brownies, a few diced marshmallows infused with dollops of vanilla ice cream topped off with Oreo soil. A gardeners treat indeed. 

Mind you though, looks can be deceiving. Though small in size it took all our might to down this treat. It is comfortable enough to satiate at least 3 people on the table so order one carefully.

With great tunes belted out in a very chic retro diner (loved the old juke box) and great conversation ahead here’s to happy food trails ahead. Oh- I forget to mention – don’t worry if you don’t have green fingers for this any color will do as long as the sweet tooth craving prevails. 

Flower pot surprise -(before & after)   Pic courtesy – Nolan Mascarenhas Photography 

Poco Loco with mi Churro 

Anyone heard the latest song by Prince Royce feat Pitbull- “Back it up?”, I’d suggest you all do when you read this post especially while I dig into this sinful Churro at San Churros in Bandra. 

Before my avatar in a galaxy and time zone far away, this used to be my midnight haunt especially post a strenuous workout (yes it makes no sense, however when looked at from my perspective, was a calorie nullifer to counter my sweet tooth cravings. Simple math, though i sucked at it BIG time in school- run like a mad man on the treadmill to burn a measly 350 calories only to gain it with this sinful concoction at midnight). Hence the name ‘loco‘ made perfect sense. 

mr. NObody along with a dear friend and foodie from Mumbai decided to troll the old haunts once again (nostalgia kicking in). The Churros were just as I left them. All crunch with that extra dose of sugar powder sprinkled over and heady milk chocolate dip- sinful and consistent. 

For those who didn’t know -Churros were invented by Spanish monks (god bless them) and its part of the extended donut familia. Well,anything remotely close from that is always welcome in my books. 

Savour this with a small yet heady concoction- Macchiato and its something to give one that instant sugar rush to boost ones night. 

And for the musically inclined, the song would have ended by now. Get the drift “papichulo”. 

 Churro Poco with Macchiato  

Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography
  

The Old Man & the Blue 

A road trip was the need of the hour  so I packed up and headed for the coast. I wanted to move far far away, where the haunt of technology couldn’t usurp my senses. No network, no internet – just the perfect respite I was seeking. Run away from the dogma that plagues us working highly stressed folk.

I headed to the docks where a ferry service was willing and ready to take me to the fishing island up ahead. It was early- 6:45 a.m and the sea mist and the seagulls were at harmonious play. The water golden tempting me to plunge deep within.  Like clockwork we depart on time.

The man at the helm was Sheikh Abdul Pathan. A native of Punjab (now part of Pakistan post the separation) who moved to Mumbai in the early 50’s -then called Bombay. Towering a little over 6 feet 3 inches I felt like Frodo next to him. He was accompanied by his 10 year old grandson since school was out that day.

Busy at work with no time to chat Mohammad was scurrying around the boat pulling in ropes and buoys to ensure all was as planned for a smooth sail ahead. Much like a pro athlete from the NBA doing suicide drill warmups. Focussed and determined.

Me being a restless soul I walk across to the man with the mesmerizing blue eyes – Lagoon blue set amidst the burnt reds resembled two sapphires lodged deep within an abyss of possibilities and stories. His stare was deadpan and might i add intimidating – yet he had the calm and composure of a placid lake with the occasional dragonfly swooping in for a ripple nibble.

Breakfast was around the corner. I hadn’t eaten since I woke up. Home made fish pickle (always a MUST carry along on trips to give flavor to bland food one might encounter) and some egg and bread sandwiches in the nap sack.

I had befriended his Mohammad Ebrahim (his grandson) and we decided to ‘break bread’ together. The grandfather decided to partake as well and thoroughly relished the fish pickle.  He even suggested I come home and try out his wife’s preparation of dried fish soaked in groundnut oil and spice.

In conversation I asked him what his purpose in life was. “It was all in the hands of Allah” he mentioned looking up to the sky with gratitude. I could tell his contentment of being a fisherman who took pride in his job and on weekdays used to ferry the boat for passengers at USD 0.25cents a trip spanning 3  kilometers across the sea. Was business good? His answer was as clear as the blue in his eyes.

He explained- Two ferry trips a day and every alternate day would be his fishing expedition to get an adequate supply of fish to feed his family. When questioned as to what he did with the remainder of his time he chirped “I sleep late, play with my grandchildren, take a siesta with my wife, talk to my sons, pray and stroll into the village to meet the neighbors. I have quite a busy life”- was his gaiety retort.

I was curious to his contentment and had to ask why not increase the cycle of fishing trips to earn more money. He asked “what would money do for me? I would buy a bigger boat, better equipment, catch more fish, get a fleet of boats- how long would that take me? 15 to 20 years? But what then?”

I nodded in unison as he stole my thoughts and affirmed that he would become a millionaire and be able to comfortably retire to spend time with his family and friends. The old man smiled at me. It was a smile that showed I was on the brink of a major apparent discovery of one of life’s simplest mysteries.

And that’s when it struck me like a lightning bolt -this old man of the blue knew the meaning of Living each day with a general plan of an uncertain tomorrow. Tomorrow is promised to no one my friend.

Carpe Diem. 

Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography