Wednesday, March 11, 2009

India bit 2: Mumbai Malls and endless eating

Why do I ever bother making plans when I’m visiting India? The thing about plans on our bharat darshan is that they rarely fit all the other humans that have been factored in and since Indian stretchable time is Oh So fluid, any and all plans can and are changed till unrecognizable from the originals. You would think I’d have absorbed this lesson from seven years worth of visits but no, you would be wrong. Very wrong.

Saturday dawned bright and early but thanks to jetlag and a late Friday night of chatting I was away with the fairies till a nephew and his father came to stand at the end of my bed and stare in the half darkness till I awoke. That is the power of intense stares – a power that knows no bounds. Next thing it was back to circus-ville with a house of 10 adults and 2 children trying to make and intersect their plans, amidst breakfast and baths. As everyone and their brother had something important to do (ie, sleep, visit other people, etc) I decided to tag onto the most commercial plan of all - lunch and a wander through the mega Oberoi Mall in Goregaon. So 4 of us (mil, eldest sil, R and I) packed ourselves into one of the cars and demanded the driver brave Bombay’s much improved traffic to the Mall. Once in the shining swanky monolith we deposited R in the play area and then wandered in and out of stores, every single one of them packed to the rafters with things and on some sort of change of season (read recession) sale. I didn’t do an iota of shopping as I just felt uninspired (too early in my trip to take in all the bling and make a coherent decision) and couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of buying something and then carting it to my next destination before heading back to London. I browsed around Crossword with longing but held myself back (for now). Thankfully window shopping can be just as soul fulfilling (I find) and giving advice as my mil and sil bought stuff was rewarding in itself.

We then adjourned to the wonderful ‘in malls only’ vegetarian chain restaurant ‘Rajdhani’ and devoured a Gujarati/ Marwari thali. I cannot describe how tasty and fresh it was: two types of dal, karhi, aloo suji, aubergine, green beans, two types of rice, tiny football phulka’s, puran poli, some sort of vadas, dahi bhallas, pickles, chutneys and papad, all washed down with chaas and followed by 3 choices of sweets. The restaurant was next to but not part of the large and loud foodcourt and the decor was simple and business like with a manager coming around and directing servers to serve out whatever dish they were carrying as you finished/ needed it. Managed to roll back to Bandra and yet find place for some delicious cold coffee and chat in the Barsita on Linking Road. Wandered in and out of Mango and Zara and Nike and then headed for a much-needed haircut. Home by dusk and another evening of houseful-ness, hockey/ cricket/ ball throwing and then book reading with the niece and nephew, obligatory family photograph to mark the milestones of the years since we have all been together (3, I think) and a dinner of delicious kebabs and roti's to wash down all that talk, till the wee hours of the morning and sleep beckoned.

Sometimes you don’t need the best laid plans, just the ability to go with the flow of spontaneously made-up ones.

Khandani Rajdhani: In Malls everywhere. Goregaon Mall, 2nd floor, next to the food court.


  1. Rajdhani is everywhere.. even in Gurgaon...

  2. Soulmate: News to me! Had never even heard about them before this trip. Now I am a fan!

  3. If you like food, India is great. Mumbai is greatest :)