Hi it’s Breezy, Abi, Abigail and even Rose ( take your pick I answer to them all) author of the blog Quirky Rose Harissa. I’m delighted to be asked to guest post on Jewels From The Roving Stove about India, since it is on the top of Jewels’s travel list. I hope this post will give you all a taste of this huge and varied country.
There’s a Roy Lichenstein painting called Whaam! It says what I feel each time I land in Mumbai. This city has an energy; an abundance of laughter; some of the sweetest, wisest and most humble people and a street life like no other. Mumbai, has a way of holding out its fingers; curling one towards you; beckoning and ensnaring you; getting right under your skin.
I don’t drive in Mumbai… you’ve got to be kidding! I sit back in a rickshaw or a cool cab and take a backseat view. I never tire of travelling here, something always hits one of my senses. It could be a vendor setting up his stall with so much care. Sometimes it’s the children screeching with laughter, as they play cricket along a narrow pavement. The pungent smell of rubbish over-heated in the sun can set my nose twitching. Or I feel my hands on the back of the driver’s seat as we break rapidly to avoid the cow, human, animal or vehicle that has stopped for no apparent reason. It’s incredible, funny, and at times, downright nerve wracking! I haven’t even mentioned the bundles of brightly washed laundry sitting at the Dhobi Ghats, or the beautiful architecture and those mesmerising, exotic women who sit gracefully riding sidesaddle, wrapped in pristine saris, on the back of a motorbike…
But to not touch on the cuisine of Mumbai would be a crime. I love to snack and so does this city. When it comes to hygiene I do what makes sense to me – head to the vendors that have queues. Try a pani puri – a hollowed out deep fried Indian bread with a spicy liquid concoction poured into it; it explodes in your mouth first bite. I love the diversity of the restaurants. I can go to Stax restaurant in the Hyatt Regency and eat the best freshly prepared pasta I have tasted outside of Italy. If I fancy some Sunday lunchtime fun then I’ll head down to the Saltwater Cafe in Bandra. It has a wonderful ambiance; quirky barstools upstairs and benches downstairs so comfortable I do linger. The service is charming and the food very well cooked.There’s an endless array of gorgeous coffee shops in Mumbai. Whenever I go to Crosswords (bookshop) in Kemp’s Corner, I always stop for a latte and something in Moshe’s cafe right inside the bookshop – what else could a lover of food and books want?! But I do have a soft spot too for the interior (especially one of the walls) of Love & Latte.
Sometimes I wish to have that warm, heady feeling that only a setting sun can give me. A fun place to see this is at the Aer bar on the top floor (34th!) of the Four Seasons hotel. The view is eclectic: slums below; the most expensive homes; Mahalakshmi racecourse and the expanse of the Arabian Sea.
So to sum up my Mumbai: it doesn’t hide itself; everything is on view. It’s a city that pulls me in all directions; gives me so much inspiration and always plenty to think about. I commute between the UK and Mumbai, as my husband works in Mumbai. I’m just setting up my own business, so if you would like to read more about my experiences of India, please head over to Quirky Rose Harissa, but before you do, please leave a comment here about where you have/will be traveling this summer? What fills your senses there?