The Shocking Red Soup

The other evening, I took home a Chicken Hot and Sour Soup. I have been suffering from a bad cold and cough lately, and Chicken Soup is extremely comforting. Mom would make it for me once, along with all the other hot foods in her collection – khichdi and kadha. I was thinking about her as I unpacked the soup and got ready to slurp. The soup was hot – and I don’t just mean the temperature – and it was delicious. But when I went to rinse my mouth later, a shock awaited me. My lips and tongue looked bloodshot. Continue reading

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The Gawkers

Koregaon Park, Pune

I wonder he didn’t fall off his bike. He had stopped it an abrupt motion, and his pillion rider was also falling over in excitement. It didn’t matter that the two of them had on civil clothes and were riding an expensive-looking bike. It was not beneath them to gawk at the foreign girl walking on the pavement – shamelessly, if you please.

The two guys ran their eyes all over her, and, as she hurried past them, burst into guffaws and would-be cool jokes. They had met a foreigner that morning, thank you very much. A foreigner wearing jeans and a tee and carrying a bag of vegetables was naturally a bizarre sight, because, hey, Indian girls don’t do that! Continue reading

Winter In Pune

Mahabaleshwar near Pune

Mahabaleshwar, a hill station near Pune [www.tourindia365.com]

It actually is cold in Pune. I mean, my-fingers-are-numb kind of cold. After years of arguing with R about how Pune can never compete with Delhi in the winter department, it does seem like this quaint old city is up to the competition. No, I am not complaining. In fact, I am delighted. Continue reading

It’s Raining Tonight

image

*Picture from agfarson.wordpress.com

It’s raining in Pune. The night is still young but the skies look set for an all-nighter. The street lamps are glowing like fairy lights; they twinkle with every falling raindrop. The stars are all under cover but you can figure they are there somewhere, enjoying the sudden shower. The stars love anything that brings shine to the world – and takes the dust off leaves, pebbles and balcony railings. Continue reading

8 Totally Random Things I Overheard People Say in Pune

*If I have accidentally quoted you, send me a card.

Say that

*Picture from flatonmyback.com

Auto Wallah to an office-goer: You will need to pay me 80 bucks extra as I don’t personally like that area. (Girl starts to walk away frowning) Okay Madam, sit. It was worth a try!

Middle-aged woman to a shopkeeper: Bhaiya, you really need to give a chocolate free now that I have bought so much from you. My old nerves need a sugar rush. (She had bought a packet of Britannia biscuits)

Continue reading

Of Watch-Men Who Give You Headaches

*Picture from www.yorkshireclockrepairer.co.uk

I committed a grave mistake the other evening; I went to get the battery in my watch replaced. Turns out this can be as dangerous as playing with fire.

The watch repair guy sat busily doing nothing behind the counter and said to me: “What’s wrong with your watch?”

“I think the – “ I ventured to reply, when he hushed me and continued. “You don’t really need to tell me. I can figure it out in a second just by holding your watch. I have been in this business for twenty years and this shop of mine is frequented by any knowledgeable Pune-ikar.” He turned to a tea-seller who had his little pop-up shop next door and called out. “What say, mate?”

Continue reading

Of blankets and ice-creams

Rainy Sunday

Pune gears up for a rainy Sunday

“I don’t think we will need that blanket until after June.” I said to R the other day, while opening the bedroom windows for some air. All the fans in the house were whirring at top speed – or at least, trying to – and the number of bottles in the refrigerator had noticeably increased since we moved in.

“I would keep it somewhere handy.” R sounded cautious. “I have known Pune to be as moody as my wife.”  Continue reading

When History Repeats Itself

Birds

*Picture from http://nerdbirder.com

There are a few birds chirping right outside the living-room window of my new home in Pune. It is a quintessentially “Pune” day – a hot sun, a very slight wind and the promise of a rejuvenating evening breeze hanging in the air. R and I are now married and have graduated to being housemates, student-teacher in the kitchen (no prizes for guessing who’s who) and regular visitors to the departmental store. We still sit back sometimes and breathe in hard to let it sink in – the fact that it all turned out well and we are truly, finally, man and wife.

This morning is when my laptop was accessible over suitcases, kitchenware and general chaos. Ladies and gents, welcome again to “Of Paneer, Pulao and Pune”. We promise to regale you with stories from this charming city, told with the gusto of a hot vada paau and garnished with a generous sprinkling of panipuri masala.

This is the umpteenth move from “Saddi Delhi” and I have been awarded the title of the best luggage packer in town. While life doesn’t really allow me any wind of its plans, thus preventing me from forecasting, I look forward to many bright evenings, delightful meals (some of which I will cook), fun times with R and, hold your breath, settling down in happy matrimony.

Wish me luck.