Ahmedabad Memoirs

22 Feb

I am back from my short trip to India. In 10 days I have traveled plenty and hogged on more food than my system could take. It was an opportunity I wasn’t ready to miss. I feel sad that it ended so quickly but that is how vacations are. They end so that you can think about them and feel good later. I also feel sad that in my gluttonous avataar, I forgot to capture a lot of pictures that I could share over here. Midst all the hogging, my dearest hubby managed to click a few which I am going to share here.  For the uninitiated, I was in Ahmedabad for my lil brother’s ( not so little anymore) wedding to a Gujarati girl. I couldn’t be happier. I love Gujarat, its culture, the food, the people, the shopping and everything about it. I was brought up in Gujarat and had most of my education in Mithapur & Ahmedabad. I was so eager to go back atleast once to see my favourite city and re-live the wonderful college memories. Engineering, unlike other courses demands 4 years out a student’s life. I have had the most amazing time at college with my gang of friends. I am so sure when they read this post, they are gonna do that walk-down-the-memory-lane bit for quite some time.

Thats my Engineering Institute

My friend and now a professor, Poonam Modi. Bumped into her and it was such a pleasant surprise.

We landed in Ahmedabad after an entire night of no sleep on a very uncomfortable flight. My parent’s reached Ahmedabad the same day and the first thing we did was to transfer our luggage along with Mimi to my mother so they could carry on to their destination ( To the wedding place – Bhavanagar).  From then on, my hubby and I were free birds to do what we wanted to. Not having tonnes of luggage to lug around and a baby to run after can be liberating. We walked, hand in hand ( after two whole years), breathing in the crisp and very polluted Ahmedabad air. I was so eager to show my hubby all my favourite hot spots and I wishfully desired that the city wouldn’t have changed in 10 years.

The "Boys' canteen at our engg. institute

The "girls" Canteen

I quickly made some phone calls to my Engineering friends to see if anybody was free or in town. I planned the day with a few friends who were in the city and boy! what fun we had. It was certain that it was going to be mostly about food. Correction- It was all about food with a little shopping thrown in between. But I am sure my husband would think otherwise. I met up with one of my best friends from college, Dhara and one of my room mates from my hostel, Nandini. We had the giggliest time together that annoyed my hubby so much. He pretended he wasn’t with us. It was refreshing to talk about old times with my old buddies. They told me stuff about me that I never actually knew but I am not going to write about it here.

The first stop from the airport had to be the University area where I had to visit by Alma Matar – L. D. College of Engineering. It felt surreal to be there after 10 long years. But it doesn’t feel that long. Time can make you fuzzy and make you feel it was just yesterday. To see a new batch of students clambering down the institute’s stairs with a sense of purpose and books in tow, I felt nostalgic to the point of shedding a few tears. I didn’t , else my hubby would have completely given up on me. Loitering aimlessly in the corridors I had the most fantastic moment when I bumped into another classmate, Poonam,who’s now a professor at the institute. I was overwhelmed and there are no words to describe how amazing it felt to meet her. It was probably the best- est day after the birth of my daughter. No I am not exaggerating. I mean it. I was truly happy.

Now the University area is inundated with food stalls and hawkers selling all kinds of heavenly delights. Famished from our night long journey, it was only just to fill our rumbling bellies with all the goodies. It was so difficult to stop at a particular food stall and greed got better of us. We scanned the whole row before settling for some steaming hot, laden – with- goodies, Poha. The guy even scraped a tonne of cheese on it. I did not stop him. I knew my soul needed that cheese.  The poha was spiced just right and garnished with sparkling pomegranate seeds, plenty of sev, boondi, peanuts and other spices, I couldn’t identify. My pictures do not do any justice to the fantastic dish. I was too busy gobbling it down when my hubby suggested that I  may like to click a picture for the blog. This is one of the reasons why I married my man.

Poha with cheese at the University

Boondi "spice bomb" chat

My hubby had his Poha plate without the frills then realized mine was the one to go for. We also had a boondi chat which was such a spice-bomb. I enjoyed it but could not finish it. My hubby then scavenged for some tea with Maska ( buttered) buns. He wasn’t too happy with both. Morever he felt the tea cost too much. I needed to save some space for other goodies I wanted devour later during the day so I gave the buttered bun a skip after a single bite. My friend, hubby and me made our way to our college canteen. Back in those days, we had a weird system where girls and boys sections were separate. We, girls, were made to sit under a make shift roof with no fans and the boys under the cool concrete with fans in the hot summers. It wasn’t fair at all but we didn’t care. We stuffed our faces with as much food the canteen wala could possibly make. Personally my favourites were Vada pav, samosa and maggi. I am slurping as I type this :-)

For now, we were content sipping on some hot tea, talking and reliving some of the past again. From there we took off to the famous Janta Cold Coco with Ice cream seller, right behind the boys hostel. I noticed so many boys peeping out to see the visitors walking down the road and it was flashback once again. Sigh!

Janta was closed because they were renovating. I was heart broken. We moved out of the University circle talking about what other food joints we had to hit before my day ended.

For all who have never been to Ahmedabad, there is one thing that you shouldn’t miss doing while you are here. SHOPPING. It is cheap and the variety is staggering. I wanted to go and shop at all my favourite joints on Ashram Road, Satellite and C G Road but time was a constraint. I managed to go to my favourite store called ASOPALAV which is wonderful for ethnic wear and jewellery. Since I was heading for a wedding, some jazzy jewellery was in order. It was way cheaper than I would ever hope to pay in Delhi.

my loot from my shopping escapades

After a generous stint of shopping where all my hubby did was snooze, only to wake up when it was time to foot the bill, we headed to have a sumptuous Gujarati thali at a restaurant named DadiMa ( meaning Grandmother). The sight of the huge Thali ( plate) with numerous katoris ( small bowls) was so heartening that we impatiently waited for the servers to begin their job. With every passing second our heavenly plate was being filled with divine tasting Gujarati food. There was no time to take pictures or conversation. Each one of us was in the world of our own  savouring the delicacies. Puris, tiny rotis, with potatoes in gravy, dal, kadhi, black gram gravy, dhokla, basket chats, all kinds of salad, gulab jamun, khichdi, and so much more. After finishing the meal, I was certain that if I tried moving even an inch, I was going to explode. We sat outside the restaurant because we couldn’t lift ourselves up.

My hostel room mate, Nandini came along to see me and I felt I had  new found energy and appetite. We headed for some more shopping and by early evening decided to finish of the expedition by having some coffee at a barista. That was the day I understood why westerners drink coffee after their meal. I had some hot black coffee and instantly felt revived, ready for some more scrummy food. My hubby, who knows how completely ruthless I can be when it comes to food, dragged me out of the coffee shop and I found myself saying my goodbyes to my friends from the cab windows. :-(

It was such a wonderful day spent in the company of food and friends. There couldn’t be a better combination. We made our way to Bhavnagar which was the wedding venue. There we were greeted with more fabulous food and hospitality. I have to say this- The hospitality that Gujarati’s show their guests is incomparable. They go beyond and above to see that their guests are treated like nothing less than Gods. With that kind of treatment, one can only have fond and fonder memories of wonderful food and courteous people.

My Hostel Room mate Nandini

My dearest friend Dhara

I hope to re create the poha or the dhokla on my blog to relive the superb time in Ahmedabad.

Here are some photos from the wedding.

The Bride and the Groom

Mimi @ Sangeet night

The Ganesh Puja

The Band , Baja & Baarat just starting out

The mandap being set

50 Responses to “Ahmedabad Memoirs”

  1. Harshad Joshi February 22, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    this pohe looks awesome..and too many calories for a humble dish :)

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      yes.. that was the point, really :-)

  2. Prateek February 22, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Shaadi!!
    Ahmadabad is a great foodie place; needless to tell you.

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 8:24 am #

      absolutely! I made the most of my day in Ahmedabad

  3. Devina Divecha (FooDee) February 22, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    1. Cheese is ALWAYS good for the soul!
    2. You’ve trained your hubby well in the ways of the food bloggers :D I love the “training” period when friends and family realize they can’t touch the food until you’ve captured it. Now even I have some people asking me: “Wait, aren’t you taking pictures?” Haha love it!
    3. I’m still editing my pics from my insane 9-day Bombay trip. Wedding, food, family…*sigh* Watch out for those soon (I’ve too much for one post :( )
    4. Congrats on the shopping loot!
    5. Random: I’m half Gujju but never been to Gujarat!

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      ha haa ha.. so true. My hubby is attuned to my food blogging ways. So are my friends and my little daughter too. But she breaks the rules sometimes. :-)
      Will wait for your post.

  4. Meghna February 22, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    wow anita….along with you I went down the memory lane too…:-) simply simply wonderful…and totally loved your post…
    and your jewellery. You must give me the name of the store. And the gujarati thali – OMG…that looked soooo delicious!!!!!

  5. Deboshree February 22, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    What awesome pictures! Looks like you had a great trip.
    Thanks for the jewellery tip. If I go to Ahmedabad, I will keep that in mind. :)

  6. Marie February 22, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    How wonderful that you got to spend time with friends eating delicious food and kid free is always a nice little break. I am sure your husband was only pretending not to listen to your conversations. Men always act like they’re not interested as they’re hanging on your every word. All the food looks utterly delicious. Great wedding photos too.

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      Thanks Marie.. A wonderful comment!!

  7. Gayathri February 22, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Very well written, Anu….Felt as if I was there with you too….Gujarat is one place I have been wanting to visit…Hopefully, some time soon..:

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      wow long time no see Gayathri. Good to hear from you :D

  8. Meenakshi February 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Cheese poha? I have never tried that! I need to. It looks really yummy. Sounds like you had a great trip! I love the necklace, it’s so elegant! The thali looks amazing too. But Mimi looks the best :)

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      It was awesomeness – that poha. Thanks so much for your lovely comments

  9. Harshad Joshi February 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    didnt find mention of faafda. this too is an amazing item.

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      unfortunately I couldn’t sample any. Sheesh! I knew I missed something out!

  10. Muneera Mohammed Ali February 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Wow! Sounds like you had a great time. I’ve never been to Gujarat. I must put it in my must-see list, which is getting longer. But I’ve tasted some of the food from the Gujarati neighbourhood in Kochi. I love dahi puri. I haven’t tasted poha though. Must try it someday. The newly wedded couple look great, by the way.

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      Gujarati food is delish. One of my favourite cuisines. Next time we meet, remind me to tell you how you can make poha at home. Thanks for your comment, Muneera

  11. Bikram February 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    OH MY god .. this is amazing , Its always nostalgic visitng the places we have stayed , studied and awhat not .. OH MY as I was reading the post I was going through the same emotions ..

    you know that Poha and boondi thing, we had similar thing with white channa’s OH MY it was blissssss the rest of the ingerdiants look exactly same ..

    ANd your alma mater I remember that i stayed for a couple of days somewhere in a hostel not sure exactly where, my brother was studying there and they had some sort of elections or something , so had to come with all my friends from chandigarh to help in that ..

    the boys canteen looks much better then our college canteen for sure

    wedding pictures and the little one all dressed up look lovely .. thanks for sharing them all ..

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      wow your brother studied in LD. That’s quite a coincidence. Which year?

  12. Ankur February 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Lovely post…. No wonder u had fun… though I m still waiting for more of the wedding pics… and really wanna have the boondi chat n vada pav… :)

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      :D I am sure you do ..

      Will upload more pics or may email them to you.

  13. Buls February 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anita Menon February 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

      ha ha aha :-) You are cute Bulbul.

  14. yummychunklet February 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Love when you can get so much fun stuff done during a short vacation!

  15. Ameena February 23, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    If I ever make it back to India I know I’ll gain 50 pounds. Seriously, with so many fried things surrounding me I’ll have no self-control.

    Beautiful picture of Mimi. And the bride is stunning! Love the photos of you as well.

    Glad you had a great time!

    • Anita Menon February 23, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      ha ha :-) that is right. I am struggling to get my exercise schedule back in track to get rid of all the pounds.

  16. Cass @foodmyfriend February 23, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Beautiful pictures Anita! Sometimes you need someone to remind you to take a photo, I know I do!

  17. anh February 23, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    beautiful collection of photos! I would love to be there…

  18. La @ FoodSlice February 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    I see Amitabh Bachchan advertising for Gujarat tourism all day on TV on so many channels, but your write up is what makes me want to go there. Glad to hear you could meet college friends and walk around in campus. And all that food, i want street food now. Never mind that i just had lunch.

    • Anita Menon February 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

      I saw that advert when I was in India and was pretty impressed by the efforts, the state govt of gujarat is putting to increase tourism, business etc. The food in Gujarat is beyond yummy…

  19. Audrey February 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    I love your photos. India is one of the places on my hopefully one day list. I’ve never been there. It’s fun to travel through others photos and words.

    • Anita Menon February 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

      Please do visit Audrey. Thanks so much for you kind words.

  20. Anzz February 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Loved the read, taken through each incident. And the pictures are awesome..!!

  21. Deeps @ Naughty Curry February 24, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    look what u have done, now i wanna go to ahmedabad asap… on a food-hogging trip! never have i tasted poha with pomogranate & cheese… cant blame u for almost forgetting to take the pic, i wouldav polished it off even quicker! but what has got me drooling is the gujju thali… with a name like dadima’s it has to be good. the basket chaat looks so adorable. btw, the ethnic jewellery u bought is awesome :)

  22. Gayathri Ramdas Sreekanth February 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Good to know that u had such a brilliant time back HOME ! I wonder when I would get such time to indulge similarly at Bahrain or Bangalore ! sigh..

  23. ologadhvo February 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    its bhavnagar…couldnt help it u see ;)

  24. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb February 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    wow Anita!

    Looks like u had the time of your life. I have never seen Ahmedabad, hadnt gonne that far east. are there foreigners in ahmedabad? as local u must have got a nice price, do u think a foreigner would get the same price for it?

    I love the picture of the puja. very pretty.

    thank u Anita for sharing all your beautyfull memories with us! =)

    • Anita Menon February 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      It is in the west of India.. and it one place you really should visit. There’s lots to experience and explore. Sadly, the prices would be different for foreigners.
      If it is any consolation, I suck at bargaining and end up paying a lot more than anybody would dream of paying.
      Thanks for your comments Helene.

  25. I Live in a Frying Pan February 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    What a colorful recollection, and I’m proud of you my foodie friend, for going all out and eating so much yumminess all in one day! That poha is insane…never seen cheese on poha before….Poha for the Ultimate Payt Pooja.

    Great post, and so lovely to hear that Gujarat really rejuvenated your soul (and tummy).

  26. Poonam Modi February 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Anita it was extremely overwhelming reading this blog entitled “Ahmedabad Memoirs… And what an extreme honour it is to be part of your this gripping blog… I am kind of swelling with pride, believe me i am thoroughly touched by this gesture of yours..Thanks a ton dear for remembering me and making me a part of this… Now coming to your blog,the content, the flow and the grip indubitably the “USP’s” of your writings have been duly maintained throughout… Loved reading it and yes it does take you down the memory lane… By the way dear where did u stumble upon the Boondi chat… shame on me albeit staying here i never came across this special item… And yes i must say the perceptive account of the visit that you have penned here clearly shows the gala time you had in “aapdu ahmedabad”.. Cheers dear, wll keep reading your blogs and also to virtually savour all those yummy dishes…

    • Anita Menon February 27, 2012 at 6:59 am #

      The boondi chat is right across the road from where you teach. Go grab some on your way back home and enjoy the spice bomb explode in your mouth. It was wonderful meeting you and I feel so proud that you chose a career in teaching. It is a rare thing indeed these days. Hats off!

  27. Asmita March 4, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    What a beautiful post! Indian weddings are so much fun. Good food, music, family and dancing to Bollywood songs at the sangeet.
    Poha is one of my favorite dishes and this looks yummy!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Of Routines & Breakfasts (with Poha) « - March 19, 2012

    [...] twice a week. Embellished or unadorned, this makes for a tasty and filling breakfast. During my recent trip to India, I happened to eat a divine version of this humble dish and swore to recreate the magic [...]

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