The new wing in Mumbai airport where gates A1-6 are, is spacious, well decorated and has a bar, food courts, shops and palm trees - but a sorry state of the so-called 'Baby changing room' (pic on right) really saddened me at the insensitivity shown by the people who manage the airport.
The room was not done at all, just used as a mini-dump and by someone to drink his/her mid morning tea.
Atri liked to perch his little bum on the small ledge outside the floor window in my parents' house - only I would worry if he sat with too much force and ended up going out of the glass :) Luckily we were spared of any such drama!
Appa catches many cookery shows on TV. This time after being considerably inspired by Chef Damu's recipe - he made this Vegetable Kurma for dinner today! I really appreciate how he sourced every single ingredient over two days - chopped all the vegetables patiently to size with his recently recovered fractured hand.
The kurma smelled divine from the fresh whole spices I got home from Munnar and the fresh masala that appa ground for this dish!
Sunday, couple of my good friends travelled to my end of the city so that we could catch up! Even in those couple of hours, we managed to squeeze in some shopping at one of my favourite stores.
Fabindia has now launched a range of kids' furniture and furnishings - I loved this curtain (blue and white) displayed on their window.
Bajjis (slices of vegetables dipped in batter and fried till golden) would feature on the 4 pm tiffin once in a while on a weekend, when we were kids. Just for nostalgia sake I asked Amma to make Bajji on this Saturday afternoon and she was kind to oblige.
After eating it didn't seem like a good idea - severe summer heat and fried food are really not meant for each other!
In case you want to see how the prepared stuff looked - here's the pic -
My chithi always makes this drink from raw mangoes every summer - so when Atri and me would visit her house each evening, I'd ask her if she'd made this already! She was sweet to make this drink while I was still in Bombay and a glass of this prepared with the raw mango concentrate diluted with chilled water and a sprinkling of roasted cumin powder is sheer bliss in summers!
Had this plate of chilled watermelon at one of my best friend's place in Bombay. I've spent many hours in her lovely bright living room - surrounded by foliage - and I managed to escape for 8 hours on one day to travel to the other end of the city and spend some time with her! This was my only long outing in my entire trip of three weeks.
...of the good stuff - my cousin is scheduled to get married this year. The wedding hall, the caterer are to be booked well in advance in today's times. Sometimes, the wedding date is even adjusted to suit the availability of halls and good caterers.
The caterer who is almost shortlisted called us today to sample his offering - and my uncle, aunt and myself landed up to check how good his food was...This was a Kerala style meal for a Keralite wedding and everything tasted superb! I've just come back home an hour ago and I'm taking time out to update this space - you can imagine how tough it is for me to sit up after eating a yelai- saappadu (banana leaf spread) like that :)
Compared to most other cities in India, Mumbai is one city where it is easiest to resort to public transport. BEST bus system, which plies all around the city is extremely reliable and safe, and one such bus goes from inside our colony to the station, making life so much easier and preventing all the cars from jamming up the busy area near the train station. It's almost like a personal bus service here. BEST is simply the best.
During college days, I was absolutely in love with this tie and dye fabric from Gujarat. The soft cotton fabric with vibrant colours and delicate designs was just so good! Then having worn too many of them I lost interest.
The suburb where my parents live being a Gujarati stronghold, there are quite a few shops that sell these salwar-kurta-dupatta sets and this is one colour combination I fell in love with - purple and green...
It's going to be perfect to bear the summer heat...provided I get it stitched soon!
I've seen statues made to look real like humans. But here, outside this small exhibition hall in the market, it was quite the reverse. A man was painted white, had lights strung all over him and was made to look like a statue welcoming the crowds inside.
I first assumed it was one of those moving statues and I went close to take a proper look, only to see that he was for real :)
I'm quite dreading the weighing machine now. After eating three meals a day for the last ten days, at mom's place, I'm sure I have to go on a strict diet once I'm back home. Luckily the above fudge was not made for me - my aunt was making this to send for my nephew's first birthday in Bangalore. Step wise pics have been taken of this simple paal cake (milk fudge) - hopefully to be posted on the food blog.
Found one such exclusive Bindi shop while shopping around the locality - they had the best collection of simple and ornate Bindis and I managed to select quite a few of them.
While you wont always find me sporting one, I love adorning my forehead with these cute spots when I'm wearing a saree or a traditional salwar kameez.
...are an inseparable part of Mumbai suburbs. What separates them from those that ply in other parts of the country (Bglr, Hyd and Chennai) is that they rarely refuse customers and they ALWAYS go by the meter - it is extremely difficult to find such autos in places mentioned above!
Autos in Mumbai make travel extremely easy and I'm actually enjoying the rides taken in and around where I live!
Walking around a suburban Mumbai market in the early evening - usually it is bustling with crowds, vendors and autos, but I managed to capture a relatively empty stretch.
After shopping in malls and supermarkets, loitering around these open air markets, haggling with vendors and braving the sun seems like so much fun! My body must be thanking me for the extra dose of Vitamin D.
I am having a breather from giving Atri a bath here as my mom has taken over that chore - S would take over the duty off and on at home. It's not the bathing that's difficult but the drying up and getting him ready...This is a sample of Atri's after bath expression!
It was the first time that Atri and me were traveling by ourselves - so far S and me would alternate Atri-handling duties on the flight taking time to relax in between - I was all stressed out as to how I'd manage him by myself.
In the end all my worrying happened to be in vain, as I had the best flight ever with baby! After all the running around he'd done for an hour in the lounge, he was ready to sleep as soon as he had some milk on board - I managed to catch up on some reading with some freshly brewed ginger tea..bliss...
The whole of 7th went by in packing up for the long trip to Bombay, so I just did not get a chance to even get my hands on the camera - so I'm posting a pic from the 8th where Atri was at his animated best in the airport lounge - the large bay windows overlooking the hangar held his attention for a little over a few seconds, which is a lot for me :)
Siri was sweet to invite Arundati and me for her wedding - we attended the wedding reception in traditional sarees, jewelery and big bindis - it was fun getting ready for the occasion of a fellow foodblogger's wedding :)
As Arundati has already posted, the bride and groom looked lovely in their finery and the food was yummy!
And hey a wedding to attend finally prompted the lazy me to get new blouses stitched...
Enroute to Jew Town on the morning of our last day in Kochi, we stopped by this quaint cafe, which true to its name, holds some hundreds of teapots in different colours, shapes, sizes and material.
As if that was not enough, the tables were old tea cases, there were sketches of teapots and teacups on the walls, old photos and pictures from tea estates - and for a tea lover like me it was heaven.
Peter Celli Street, Fort Cochin
Kochi, Kerala 682001
Another one of those hotels done up with a colonial air about it - right from the Armoury Bar to the terracotta tiled reception, the Burma teak furniture to the antique accents, I was absolutely in love with this place. With a bent for bright colours in decor, I was surprised that I loved these earthy colours so much - I felt transported to another time. I loved the little eco friendly touches around the place like the small mul hankies kept in the washrooms to dry hands instead of using paper or electric blowers.
Another highlight of Day 6 was a Kerala sadya on banana leaf at this place Sarovaram in Kochi - I absolutely enjoyed the food there, possibly the best meal for me in the entire trip. If you are in Kochi, do not - i repeat do not miss an opportunity to have a meal here.
Day 5, we left Munnar early in the morning, driving down the hills to Kumarakom - which was a four hour drive. With a frisky toddler, a four hour drive can easily seem like an eight hour drive, you know what I'm talking about!
The temperature difference from the hills to the plains was a bit too much to take, especially after we were spoilt for the last few days by some crisp chilly mountain air.
The backwaters were as lovely as I'd seen them in pictures - just that making sure Atri didn't try any adventure sports jumping out of the boat kept me busy enough not to enjoy much of the scenic beauty. The extreme humidity and heat was also a big deterrent in making this an enjoyable experience for me.
We were served some good Kerala vegetarian fare by the in-house chef and the AC on full blast managed to help us get a good night's sleep - apart from the two hours that Atri decided to stay awake in the middle. I don't blame him though - given that he was being subjected to sleep in a new bed in new surroundings every day, he was behaving as best as he could!
The best thing about Munnar town apart from the spice and tea shops was this beautiful post office. Its board was garlanded by these vibrant bougainvilleas, and there was no way I was leaving the place without capturing its beauty.
This was our last day in Munnar and I went around the town for some last minute purchases in the Kannan Devan outlet - the High Range brand Strawberry Preserve is to die for.
Whenever I hear the word Munnar - it will always bring back memories of crisp cool mountain air, miles and miles of tea plantations, shiny silver oaks, tall eucalyptus trees and winding roads.
The tea lover in me was at peace here - three days of bliss - driving around to the various points, tea stores, tea museums, spice plantations - life seemed just perfect. The light showers that came down each afternoon was the ultimate gift of nature - cooling the air and releasing the fragrance from the fertile soil.
The 20 km drive from the resort to the town was hardly anything to complain about, when we could enjoy scenes like this on the way!