Friday, April 5, 2024

Spicy Mumbai

For any city lovers, Mumbai is an experience that has to be seen to be believed. The pulse of the city, the energy, even the chaos is unlike any other place. Compare it to any large city and multiply it a million times and put it on steroids and that’s Mumbai! 

You know how Samuel Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." Well, it would be impossible to be bored in Mumbai or even to have a lukewarm response to it. There are people everywhere, there is commerce on every street corner (and everywhere in between), there is a constant coming and going. 4 lanes of traffic become 8 as cars, buses, slews of motorbikes, trucks and carts all vie for any space available (and most likely not actually available). All of this is happening as every possible horn is being sounded steadily.

So this is a lot to absorb from a car, (which thankfully was being driven by a professional…at least I think he was!) but imagine having to cross a street like that! We did it numerous times, where there were no crosswalks, no traffic lights, just crossing the street in front of oncoming traffic! It does keep you alert! The funny thing is we never saw an accident, perhaps only a few close calls, but we never witnessed any motorbike, pedestrian or car crash. I can’t really explain it, except that no one was going superfast, but still…😮.

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I visited the amazing Lalbagh Spice Market with Aman, our guide. He explained that, just as with any regional cuisine, every cook has her or his own special recipe and way of doing things. 

Home cooks come to the Lalbagh Spice Market to have their own particular blend of spices made up. They come with a handwritten list, which is actually a formula of how many parts each of cumin, coriander, turmeric, bay leaves and so on are in the recipe. A large quantity of these spices is added to a huge wok-like pan over an open flame with a splash of oil and constantly turned (stir frying-like) over an open flame. Then the desired amount of chilies, (gargantuan amounts by western standards) is added to the mix and cooked some more. The whole shebang is put into an industrial machine and ground into a powder. It’s packaged up and the cook has a spice mix all ready to go, which could last for a year!


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Other sights of Mumbai:

The Taj Hotel

The Gateway to India

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (the main train station) a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a gorgeous example of Victorian British Colonial architecture.

Chowpatty Beach

University of Mumbai

Mani Bhavan - Now a library and research center, where Gandhi stayed when in Mumbai

The Central Telegraph Building

Babu Amichand Panalal Adishwarji Jain Temple

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