Category Archives: expat

Reprise: The Best Pani Puri in the World

You would think that with only a couple of posts left to write while living in India, I would pick a topic that is as profound as it is spiritual and deep…but noooooo, I’m writing about, of all things, pani puri!  

Heck, I didn’t even know that I loved pani puri so much until I tasted it here!

So, before I depart and just in case there are some poor souls left in the vicinity who have not tried them, I simply had to celebrate this Mumbai special. Even though I am repeating myself.

As new information, I can only tell you that in these couple of years I have tried other joints where various friends claimed that you could get “the absolutely best pani puri”.

NADA!

Kailash Parbat, that place in Juhu, this place in Sobo, or the other one in Bandra.  Whatever. I’ve tried quite a few.

And the winner is the same one that I had written about when I first arrived in Mumbai.

That’s Elco Pani Puri Center on Hill Road in Bandra (W)…look, someone even took the trouble of video-taping this deliciousness.

Don’t settle for anything but the best.

Go. Eat. Enjoy!

Crowds with discriminating taste for pani puri at ELCO

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Guess where you will find me stopping by during my one remaining weekend here?

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I shall miss you, Elco.  Therefore, I will be back.  🙂

Do save some for me!

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Photography: Vishal

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Goodbye, India. And Thank You!

“Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.”

― A.A. Milne

Welcome to India!

What on earth just happened??!

My head is still spinning.

Before I could say “boo”, my time here is up. Done. Gone. Finis.

Here’s the twist – with a couple of months still remaining on my commitment, I received a sweet offer (very sweet) to head back home and do my thing there instead.

Carpe diem (Sorry, I just watched that wonderful movie, Dead Poet’s Society).

Sieze the day! What else could I do?  What would you do?  When the choice is heading home or not, and it’s presented with a flourish of new incentives? Exactly.

It’s just that it was totally unexpected and sudden, and I was quite unprepared. In fact, I was under pressure to extend my commitment to stay on in Bombay (by a few years!), making me grapple with all that it means to do so.  I had finally come to terms with this, ready to compromise and lengthen my stay for the right ‘fine print’.

But as I went in to discuss the details, lo and behold, the situation got turned all upside down and topsy turvy!

Could I take on a totally different (and exciting, blah, blah, blah) assignment for the company… based over there?

Huh.

And, before I knew it,  just like that, it was over.

Things are happening so rapidly that I will be packing up and saying my goodbyes over the next couple of weeks. And then, it’ll be off and away for me. So quickly!

India

The time’s right to reflect a bit on my stay in India. Sadness is setting in. Because whatever good, bad or ugly I experienced here – only the good stands out for me now. [Aah, the mysterious workings of the human brain!]

I feel so lucky to have spent this time living and experiencing India – very different from a visit every now and then.

I feel so fortunate to have met all those wonderful people, many who have now turned into life long friends.

And I know that while I will still be racking up tons of frequent flier miles flying back and forth, it will never be quite the same as living here.

Mum-bai

And of the city that became my home for almost two years…whatever can I say?  

A view of Mumbai at night, "clean" and shining bright!

A view of Mumbai at night, “clean” and shining bright!

I love this city in all its smelly and chaotic glory. I love its vibrance. I love the warmth – not of the weather so much as of its people. I love the shopping. I love the theater. I love the yoga I pursued here. I love the best pani puri in the world. I love…so many things here.

[But I do hate the sight of all that roadside garbage nor will I miss the traffic and crazy commutes].

The sweet and sour experience of living in India is looking mostly sweet – in retrospect and when it’s getting time to say goodbye. Isn’t that always the case?

Home Again

So, I head back to the US with all the eagerness of going home, but it’s mixed in with the sadness of leaving the new nest that I had created for myself in my native land.

Aaah, the yin and yang.

My time here has flown by! Almost two years that feel like the blink of an eye.

I am heading to a place where the news I will be reading is not about Sonia Gandhi, Kejriwal or corruption and scams.  Instead it will be about Obama (yes!), Boehner, job creation and the fiscal cliff.

As I get ready to return home, I’m glad to say that I’m not alone. Nor will I ever be. Because accompanying me will be big buckets full of memories that will never go anywhere.

Yep. I consider myself very lucky indeed.

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“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”

― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

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Heading towards a different skyline on the other side of the world

Heading towards a different skyline on the other side of the world

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P.S.  And what of my blog??! I haven’t had the time to figure that out yet.  I have loved every minute of creating it, even when the number of readers was at zero because it was never about how many would read it, rather about what thoughts were pouring through my head that just had to get written somewhere.

Now, what?  Perhaps I just morph it to The Yin and Yang of Life…whaddya think?

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