Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pattice at Dava Bazaar

Uday doesn’t know why his father Prahlad started selling this unique pattice for a living. “Good question” he says and adds that it never occurred to him to ask but the idea could have come from his earlier job with the Jamnagari Farsan Mart located in the opposite street.

Welcome to Prahlad Pattice Center, a cart located near the footpath on the Dava Bazaar street( an extension of Princess street), ahead of the famous umbrella retailer, Ebrahim Currim & Co and right opposite the Standard Chartered/ Progressive Co-op banks. You will notice a board on the cart in Marathi and Gujarati, which says ‘Mava Masalanye Bharlele Special Farali Pattice’. Prahlad has been dishing out these very popular and unique pattices (I haven’t come across a pattice with such a filling anywhere in Mumbai) for the last 35 years.

The pattice has a potato covering, dusted with arrowroot and filled with cashews, raisins, chilli, groundnuts,chironji/charoli pomegranate-seeds, fennel-seeds and then deep-fried. It is neither sweet nor spicy but has an unique taste. You will always get them garam garam as there are three people constantly making the balls and one frying them. They serve it with light green colored chutney, which is strictly ok.

A plate of four costs Rs 12 and you can also buy it by the kilo (40 nos) for Rs 100. They sell more than around 100-150 kgs of pattice everyday and this farali pattice is immensely popular with the chemical/medicine traders in this very congested and busy area.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hope for the bald

Years ago, while treating dogs on the streets, we came across a new dog in the Mantralaya area. She was very sweet but hairless. She didnt have a single strand of hair on her body. We decided to name her Hope with the hope of being able to cure her. So Hope’s treatment started and someone from WSD used to see her twice a week. After about 4 months of treatment, Hope got all her hair back. She had lovely cream-colored fur all over her body and all of us were really happy for her.

All along, there used to be a bald hawker who used to watch us come every week and treat Hope. When Hope got her fur back, he came to us and said “ Bhaisahab , yeh dawai hum lagayenge toh kya hamare baal bhi wapas ayenge” , we of course replied in the negative but this hilarious incident has become one of the many that I have encountered whilst treating stray dogs on the streets of Mumbai.

Hope, of course lived happily ever after till she was run over and passed away many years later.


WSD’s beloved Snowy passed away last week. Snowy’s haemoglobin was very low & he went through a blood transfusion which temporarily improved his condition. But later it was found that he had a bone marrow depression, an abnormal condition characterized by the bone marrow's inability to produce normal amounts of white blood cells,red blood cells and platelets. His good friend Rani had also passed away two weeks ago.

Snowy was found abandoned by a volunteer near Mithibai college at Vile Parle in 2001 and brought in. Snowy was the most sought after dog because of his good looks (he looked like a great Pyrenees) but as he was very possessive, he was never put up for adoption.

Snowy was a ‘king’ at the WSD kennels. Being an alpha male, he never got along with Tommy, another alpha male. Tommy and he had once fought so severely that they ended up breaking our washbasin. After that they were ‘allocated’ separate territories. Snowy used to hang around near our physician’s table and Tommy was relegated to the back. He was really fond of eating & would be first in line if anyone were distributing biscuits or food. Sometimes, he had to be tied when food distribution was on, as after finishing his big bowl he would want to eat the other dogs’ food. Many first timers to the kennels had thought that he was ‘pregnant’ looking at his gait.

Mid-Day wrote this about Snowy after he passed away in their March 14, 2006 edition, “ Top dog Snowy died last week. Resembling a polar bear in size and colour, Snowy was found abandoned on a Mumbai road many years ago and picked up by Welfare Of Stray Dogs’ volunteers. Featured often in MID DAY and other media, Snowy died of an almost unheard condition called bone marrow depression. However, WSD’s volunteers know that Snowy really died after his best friend Rani, another dog also died some weeks ago”.

His presence will truly be missed.

Sol Kadhi

Had written an article on the Sol Kadhi which appeared in the Times Life section of The Times Of India on February 19, 2006. Didn't find a link so have pasted it below. If you are looking for good Sol Kadhi in Mumbai, Goa Portuguesa comes close to the ideal.


It’s an innocent baby pink, but a sipful of sol kadhi sets your palate awash with an astonishingly piquant taste. Once you acquire a taste for this Konkan coast speciality, you’ll be hooked for life, says Abodh Aras

THIS kadhi is truly for one’s soul. With the advent of coastal food especially of the Malvani variety, sol kadhi has started getting the recognition it truly deserves. Known earlier only to households that lived along the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Goa, sol kadhi has now become so popular that a restaurant in Mumbai serving coastal food once named itself after this orgasmic digestive drink.

Sol kadhi is superb as an appetiser, a refreshing, between meals sip-up or as an aid to digestion. Fish eaters generally drink it with the main meal or pour it over rice. One more way to make use of a good sol kadhi is to add it to any coconut-based gravy. Add it to a vegetable curry or a mushroom xacuti and see how it enhances the taste of the original gravy.

So how is it made? First, buy some kokum. Don’t get confused between sol, amsul and kokum, they mean the same thing. You will get them in packets from stores around the Girgaum or Dadar areas of Mumbai, but watch out for inferior stuff that is just smeared with artificial colour or has not been put through the entire processing technique, which is labour intensive and can take upto a month. Kokum is made from ratamba (Garcinia indica), a fruit from the plum family. The pulp and peels of the ratamba are separated. The peels are soaked or smeared in its juices and sun dried. This is repeated often till the skin shrivels up but retains the red/purple colour and the slightly astringent flavour. This is now kokum, which is used as a souring agent in cooking and making kokum sherbet and sol kadhi.

Sol kadhi needs to have a coconut milky consistency, a baby pink colour (neither overtly red nor white) and the correct taste (refreshingly sour). Most of the coastal restaurants in Mumbai (like Anantashram, Saayba, Highway Gomantak, Gazaali, etc) make the sol kadhi either too watery (they don’t add enough coconut milk), too red (use kokum which is artificially coloured), too white (use colourless kokum), smell rancid (use stale coconut), temper it with mustard and curry leaves (make it like a buttermilk kadhi), tasteless (don’t get the recipe right) or too ‘garlicky’ (they use chopped garlic instead of grinding it in). Instead, try the traditional recipe alongside. So go ahead, try that sol kadhi which you will either love or hate. Just as the taste of wine or cheese grows on you, one needs to develop a taste for this drink.
Sol kadhi sommelier, anyone?


Soak three-four kokum in three teaspoons of warm water. Extract coconut milk (one cup) and grind in twothree flakes of garlic. Once the kokum extract is red, add the coconut milk, chopped green chillies and salt to taste. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Be careful not to leave the kokum soaked in, as it will make the kadhi sourer than normal. Ignore all recipes that add ginger, cumin or mustard. A quick fix sol kadhi is also called ‘futi kadhi’ or ‘tival’ (in Konkani) and is made in coastal Maharashtra or Maharashtrian fish-eating households. The recipe of this is similar to the one above, but instead of coconut milk, one uses water.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Holi-day & New Srikrishna Bhojanalaya

Holi in the city and Mumbai looks like its been hit by a bandh. On my way to a meeting near Haji Ali, the roads were empty, buses non-frequent, colored people ( no racism here) moving around in groups - children racing around with phickari's of all shapes and sizes - regular water pistols to something that looked as huge & powerful as an AK-47, silver haired old men with green color on their heads, urchins and street children jumping into the sea opposite the erstwhile Lotus theatre and temporarily adding color to its dirty waters, stray dogs who must have been forcibly colored looking all red, blue, yellow and green, a young man who was already all colored up being carried by two others with a sense of purpose, a Pomeranian with green spots, young men standing outside a barricaded wine shop handing money to the guy inside in exchange for some booze and I was in this almost empty BEST bus with all the window panes down shielded from any future water missiles. Some window panes were wet indicating that some water balloon must have landed on it. Well, now you know why no one ventures out on a Holi-day !

After the meeting, whilst walking back to the bus stop, one of the street kid-color in hand, looked at me as if he was politely asking me for permission to put some color. I smiled at him and shook my head and off he went to throw it on his friends. As I was very hungry, I though I should have some Maharashtrian food at Dadar before going to the office.

Only after doing a pradakshina of Dadar from Plaza via Shivaji park to Gokhale road and finally Ranade road, I found that all the Maharashtrian restaurants( Prakash,Aaswad,Dattatraya) were shut . Groups of holi- colored men were eating bhaji's and wada pav's at street corners around Shivaji Mandir. I was dying of hunger when I remembered that there was a Maharashtrian khanawal on the first floor on a road that leads to Dadar station as I had eaten there many many years ago. Luckily it was open and it's called....

New Shrikrishna Bhojnalaya and Shakahari Upahar Gruh.

When one enters this bhojanalaya , it reminds you of the ones in Pune. Its a simple place with wooden tables and chairs and also a 'family room'.The items for the day in the thali are written on a blackboard. Looking at the menu , there is a choice between Sri Krishna Deluxe Thali(Rs50), Shri Krishna Special Thali (Rs 34) , Shri Krishna Thali(Rs 26) and Shri Krishna Mini Thali (Rs 20). The no of items in the thali go on increasing from the Mini thali to the Deluxe Thali which has 4 Chapati/7 puris/3 Bhakaris, Veg pulao/Biryani/Masale bhath,3 vegetables,dal,sweet,papad and Buttermilk. I settled for the Shri Krishna Special thali. The dal was very Puneri - a little sweet but nice. There was a dudhi and tomato subzi, a black pea curry with a coconut masala and zunka and the rice , chapatis etc. The buttermilk was good and so was the sweet - shevayachi kheer.

Don’t also miss the sign in marathi above the wash basin which translates as " Do not make loud noises here" which is a warning for people against making inappropriate noises while gargling or washing their mouth.! heh heh.

SKBSUG also serves snacks like batata wada/ misal and 'fasting snacks' on 'fasting days'. As many other Maharashtrian restaurants you will not get any cold drinks here but the kokam sarbat was good. They also serve other sharbats like amla,kaju,'jinjar lemon' and mango panhe in season.

SKBSUG is located on the first floor of Gokul Nivas on Ranade road in Dadar(W). If you are coming from Plaza turn left at the first junction and Gokul Nivas is the first building on the left else ask any local and they would direct you to it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Round and About at DHL

Just found this piece that I had written whilst undergoing my induction as a management trainee at DHL in July 1996.It was a batch of 25 management trainees from various management colleges and I think only one of them is still with DHL(long service award !!). I am in touch with some of them and would be great to know how the others are doing.

Round and About at DHL
( with apologies to Busybee)

And after 9 days of Classroom induction, a few stray thoughts and a few general observations and a few points of view (not all my own work)

Like in the past nine days we have had a great learning experience from all the wonderful people at DHL, that we have started walking, talking, eating and sleeping DHL

Like all the DHL jargon and terminology have got so much entrenched into everybody’s head that ‘Pick-up. Delivery, Transit-time, Shipments, Hubs, Spokes, Gateways, Pre-Alert, Pre-Advice, Documents, Parcels have become a part and parcel (see what I mean) of everybody’s normal conversation. Poor Chetan, vowing not to think about DHL almost jumped of the train when he saw DHL – On Time Everytime written all over next to the Pearl Centre advertisement.

Like in addition to the learning experience, we have had some good entertainment, especially from the IT guys.

Like some of the questions thrown up by us (Management Trainees) were very intelligent and interesting and need to be patented

Like for example, some of us ask questions in 2 parts (part A and Part B) and some in three (Good, Bad and Ugly) and maybe today someone would move on to asking in four.

Like one of the prize patented question’s is ‘Is OBC – Over Board Courier or Over Bored Courier’ and no prizes for guessing whose patent it is.

Like one of us was taking Customer delight too far when he wanted to know if we tell the Customer which flight (route, flt-no., stop-overs etc) his DOX/WPX/HWP/DOM is going by. Some Smart Alec added that in addition to all this information we also tell the Customer the Name of the OBC, if he is Veg/N.Veg, Smoking/Non-Smoking and if he has a window seat.

Like Munnawar spontaneously exclaimed loudly “ Look Grace is going with Disgrace” when he noticed that Grace and I were going for pick-ups with the same courier

Like for a long time now, we have had two pairs of Siamese twins, again no prizes for guessing who.

Like I wonder if every body knows that we have a Limca Book Of Records holder in our midst, for the longest name in Sai and though I have heard it several times I still cannot remember it, so prizes for repeating it correctly (with the right accent)

Like Surekha must be really feeling at home (Kashmir), for not only does she wear a blue sweater in our chhhhhiiiiiiiiily seminar room, but also goes around terrorizing people

Like one thing we would really miss after today would be the multi-course, multi-cuisine lunches the tea and biscuits (especially Bourbon) from the ever-smiling Satish.

Like every time I ask Rita as to where she is staying she comes up with a different answer, I guess proving how difficult it is to get acco in Mumbai.

Like we have learnt many abbreviations from people out here ……..QGM – Quick Gun Murugan, GEMSA – generally Engaged In Manufacturing Silly Appliances, HITC-FITC – Head In The Clouds-Feet In The Clouds, MBA – Masters Of Bullshitting Arts.

Like one good example of an OBC(on board courier) would be Nandini………to and fro from Bangalore. Though I don’t know if she is Over-Board or Over-Bored.

And this final point of view, Hats Off to Rajesh for being so patient with characters like us, being such a good trainer and I am sure he would be for the whole of next year.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Our beloved three-legged Rani passed away on February 27,2006. She was in kidney failure. She was one of the permanent dogs at the WSD kennels at Mahalakshmi. She was brought to WSD sometime in 1997 with a shattered leg because of some cruel persons incessant beating. Her leg had to be amputated but luckily for us, she never got adopted and remained at WSD. Many years later, a volunteer did adopt her but she stopped eating at her new home (a palace compared to WSD with lots of open space and a nursery)and the volunteer brought her back. Her companions at the kennels also did not eat as they missed Rani dearly.

Rani was one of the most gentle dogs I have ever seen. Her eyes were so expressive that you always wondered what she was trying to tell you. She would come and greet anyone who came with a tail-wag. She was a willing demo dog for the SOS workshops WSD held for dog lovers, where she would be bandaged and muzzled.(You can see her in the picture above showing off how a pressure bandage should be tied)

Rani would be missed by all of us at WSD and whenever I enter the kennels , I feel that she would rush up from somewhere to greet me.