"The greatest Indian cook in Britain"Jay Rayner "The Observer"
"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Monday, 27 February 2012

My travels to India Mumbai

Now let me tell you about my trips to Indian or at least make a start. To tell about all my 10 visits would take a lifetime and a few more visits to refresh all my memories.
I shall start with my first trip in 1993 with one of my favourite cities: Mumbai formerly know as Bombay. 
The first time I visited the place I felt heat like I had never felt it before. Noise and chaos beyond belief.   And the smell oh and the smell I repeat!. The mix of street food of all types, rose perfume and talc worn by many women is a combination  you could never imagine combined with exhaust pollution married in with the the heat and soot
Coming off the plane after flying over the Mumbai slums left me feeling anxious and sad. The airport echoed almost like an under resourced hospital with more people than beds. Nevertheless, the officers in charge wearing khaki uniforms (incidentally an Indian word with the same meaning in English) were most helpful …. Helpful in the sense that they ordered you about like cattle to be fed along the tracks for registration and passport control. Last thing you need when you have just got off a plane having flown economy from Europe with an inconsolable baby. The baggage collection convey belt made more noise than the traffic out side and I could not help but notice the number of Indian men who had moustaches.
That’s was my very first flight to Mumbai and India in 1993. I have been back many times and have experienced far better journeys - including one of my best flights anywhere with Emirates. 
I  recall the  huge crowds of people waiting to meet their loved ones at airport exit and of course three-wheel rickshaws and taxis drivers wanting to take you anywhere for a “fair  price” of course. The extremities of poor and wealthy. Rickshaws zooming in and out of traffic;stray dogs lolling and snoozing  by the side of the road and the noise was incredible.It was so loud!The honking of horns by drivers in Mumbai was not simply to warn passers byers but a mere act of releasing tension from working in a tireless packed city that seemed to only give way or stop for the relaxed cows that make their way through the crowds.  The place blew my mind in and out with all it had to offer. The  extremities of the city certainly kept everyone on their toes. The whole country felt very alien to me and I felt homesick for the first time and in all sorts of ways. 
My reason for going was to meet relations that I had never seen before. I had very little preparation.  I felt emotionally drained after I realized that I had nearly 500 people to get through.  Feeling very Yorkshire/Indain I soldiered on hoping it would be OK.
Mumbai has a vast amount to offer. I guess I would have to say that the food is exciting , but it was also very neat.  The range on offer was colourful influenced by many invaders/settlers/refugees. Somehow they blended together and form the core of Indian cuisine,.
After landing I was in need of nourishment.  On the way to our lodgings I spotted a street vendor.   He sat on a stool with a burner in front of him.  It was the neatest little sandwich toasty shop if that is what I can call it.  He served me a spicy Indian toasted sandwich with a filling of my choice.  He selected the filling from a  compartmented tray with all sorts of vegetarian fillings together with spices and maslasa.  So much to choose from!  I had boiled potatoes, spiced up Indian lime ginger chilli paste and some spices he recommended with a layer of tomato and a serving of cumin cucumbers of the side.   He served all this up at 03:00 near a suburb called Andheri setting me back 14 rupees - my first spend  - about 11p to you peeps
The city of Mumbai seems to respond to any need any time of the day with all guns blazing.   You have just got to ask. http://mumbaiboss.com/2013/06/03/mumbai-food-memories/

No comments:

Post a Comment