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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.