Weekend Wanderings: conversations, dahi bhalle, faluda, mutton biriyani and a musical gala (New Delhi| January 30 & 31, 2016)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The mind too can wander.

I started the weekend very late. I left my room at about 14:00 hours. What was I doing? Well I was talking to one of my neighbors. In general, the weather, his wife and his plans to move. I told him about a documentary I had seen on youtube. The documentary is called ‘beyond our sight’ and starts with accounts of people who’ve had near-death experiences. I think it’s a great resource as we know so little about the topic as of now. The documentary also covers people’s experiences with the supernatural. So, I just asked my neighbor where our consciousness goes once we’re dead. It was great listening to him. He had interesting things to say although most of what he said had religious overtones. I’ve asked this question to many and people always seem to come up with amazing answers.

Anyways, I had parathas for lunch and then went straight to the American Center Library at Barakhamba road to return books (and get new ones). I had a kulfi-faluda mix there. I love it. It costs 30 Rupees. Then I went to Chandni Chowk to have dahi-bhalle at Natraj, it’s quite famous, you must try. I could not board the metro it was so crowded so I had to take the bus instead. I took a nap and realized I’d missed my station, so had to walk until I reached back to ITO where I took a metro to Central Secretariat for India gate. It was already dark by the time I reached. I Had couple of ice-creams and a bhutta (roasted corns). I don’t know what’s wrong with these India-Gate icecreamwallahs… always selling at a premium of 5 Rupees. That’s so wrong. I tried about 10 different sellers but finally had to give-in.

I returned early.


Sunday, 31 January, 2016

Sunday too had pretty much the same overtones as the day before.

I left for Kaushambi a part of planned industrial city of Ghaziabad in the sidelines of Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border. I went to Pacific mall there. I wanted to watch a movie but they told me I’d have to wait for an hour so I went to Nazeer and had mutton biriyani. According to its website Nazeer was founded by some Aftab Ahmed. This guy used to supply poultry products to 5 star hotels in Delhi before his love for cooking took reigns and he bought a piece of land at Ganesh Nagar in the year 1987 and started what we now know as Nazeer. As of this writing, Nazeer has 13 brances across Delhi and hopes to open 50 more in 3 years. Despite its economic audacity – I must say the mutton biriyani – specially the mutton was bad. It was overcooked and tasted bland. I could not tell if it was something else. But certainly it was un-muttonly. Nonetheless, the ice-cream I had next more than compensated for the awful food. I love these Cream Bell ice-creams! The blackcurrant flavor particularly.

After my gastronomic adventures I returned to my room to freshen-up a little. And then I left for FICCI auditorium where I had a musical gala to attend. The nearest metro to FICCI auditorium is Mandi House on the blue line of Delhi Metro. Once there, exit from Gate 3. It’s at a walking distance from the metro station. Establishment of the institution dates back to 1927, however (thankfully) it does not look that old when inside (but the seats are a little uncomfortable). Ah well, did I tell you FICCI stands for Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry?

The event – titled Splendor of Masters was indeed incredible (despite starting late and long-punctuated interludes). I had to leave early at 21:30 hours and missed the climax. I love sitar and the flute. I sat through the solo performances by the artists but had to leave before the jugalbandi – where all the artists play together – like in an orchestra. However, I sat through the slide guitar, violin, mandolin & Jazz performances and they too were great.

Now this auditorium and the one at Siri Fort really suck when it comes to food and water – two of the most basic and important needs of a human (animals usually are not allowed inside – so you can leave your dog at home). They do not allow water inside (depending on the whims of the guards) and make no arrangements either. Food. What’s that? They don’t sell any. So if fate leads you there someday, just ensure that you’ve had 4-5 hours worth of food and water. And well, they’ve quite nice toilets. Isn’t that a lot?