Hello readers :-)
I know it’s been a long, long, long time since I updated this blog. A lot of things have happened since my soppy post last November. There was a trip to Malaysia for work, college applications, numerous weddings and engagements that took me to Cochin, Pondicherry and Chennai, and also, job applications. It’s the latter of these that took me out of Delhi. And now, as the title of this post would indicate, I’m in China and will be at least till the end of the year. Enjoying myself, getting into awkward spots from time to time, but learning new things, and missing saddi dilli di papri chaat and aloo tikki like never before. (The wet dreams about the boy and the ones about imli saunth are in danger of coalescing…mmmmm….).
Thank you so much for all the support for and views of this blog. I’m debating whether to start one of my time in Beijing. For one thing, my lack of Mandarin means that my explorations here are very much surface level and the other thing is that I don’t know even one person here, so the restaurant trips and post-work socializing has been significantly reduced. Let’s see.
If I can say one thing to you in farewell, it’s this – go to the Palestinian restaurant in Sarita Vihar. GO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Make your plans this week and go there next Saturday for lunch. You’ll be completely blown. I’ll put up pictures and a very short review as soon as I get non-firewall blocked net access again.
Enjoy Delhi for me y’all!
is this piece by seema kohli in the jor bagh metro station, near the fire station exit:
i used to pass by it nearly every day for a long while and it was like i noticed something new in the painting almost every time. then our office moved. this is one of the things i miss the most about being there, esp. since i very rarely have to get off at jor bagh anymore.
ms. kohli has a website (http://www.seemakohli.com/) but you’ll be better off googling her (http://www.google.co.in/search?q=seema+kohli&hl=en&biw=1138&bih=555&tbm=isch&prmd=imvnso&source=lnt&tbs=isz:l&sa=X&ei=wau-TtyGDMnmrAfG3KTfBQ&ved=0CAsQpwUoAQ) if you’re interested in her other work.
went to thadi, one of the new places in hauz khas village and came away completely charmed. love it!
location: a short auto ride from the green park metro station to hkv. once there, walk straight in and turn right at ole. the delhi art gallery (dag) will be right in front of you. head into the narrow passageway immediately to its right and follow the signs for thadi. just keep going, up several sets of stairs, through a doorway or two and past places that could have been sets for delhi belly – you’ll get there eventually and a gorgeous view of hauz khas will be your reward.
this is the entrance to the passageway where you turn in:
this is right next to the passageway too. it reminded me of so many of the pictures i took in tokyo, that i had to capture it as well…
costs: under 500 for two people. we had 2 lemon ice teas at rs.110 each, a plate of chilly cheese toast for rs.70 and a plate of garlic cheese toast for rs. 100.
service: really nice and friendly. very helpful with moving cushions and tables around so you can sit as comfortably as you like. this is how it’s done!
ambience: so chilled out and, what is astonishing for hkv, unpretentious. nothing to make you roll your eyes and think “pseudo”.
the seating is divided into 2 areas – the inside, with seating in the form of sofas and mattresses neatly done up in bright primary colours and the outside, with its basket chairs and fairy lights. this should be a lovely place for hot chai and a book on a nippy winter morning.
the crowd is eclectic (psychology students going over their notes, the delhi drum circle post-drumming in deer park, a photographer and his muse, a few young lawyers) and that, coupled with the relaxed vibe make this a fun place to people-watch and eavesdrop. it’s a little like being at a party spread out across your cool older cousin’s pad.
food: the lemon ice tea was stellar – it had the rare quality of more tea and less sugar syrup. yum.
the cheese toasts we had – chilly & garlic – were the perfect foil to it. thick slices of white bread. molten cheese. the heady scent of garlic. the perfect pick me up after hours of shopping and walking about.
the to-the-point menu also includes maggi, both plain and with extras tossed in, sandwiches and brownies with ice cream.
final verdict: one of the owners was nice enough to sit with us for a bit and tell us the story of thadi. so he and some friends studied engineering in rajasthan. and in rajasthan, thadis are like these roadside set-ups where people come to buy cigarettes, drink chai, eat whatever the owner can dish up in 5 minutes (maggi, scrambled eggs, bread toasted on the tawa) and most importantly, talk. and this bunch of young engineers always dreamed of setting up a place just like this and calling it thadi cafe.
i can really identify with the sentiment. we didn’t call them thadis where i went off to study, but “shacks”. and they were where a huge part of our college experience played out. we were there when mess food was unbearable, when we caught up on gossip, when we bitched about the admin or as we recuperated after all-nighters and exams.
with its reasonable prices and wonderfully mellow scene, thadi makes me want to bring every college friend i haven’t seen in a while over there and have a good, long chat with them, just like we used to.
can’t wait to get started on that :-)
this month’s vogue india has a piece on an exhibition of the british photographer norman parkinson’s work that will travel around the country until next summer. the show has been curated (if that’s the right word) by the tasveer gallery and it focuses largely on the fashion photos mr. parkinson shot in various parts of india in 1956, which were eventually published in the british vogue of november that year.
the title of the show comes from what diana vreeland, the editor of harper’s bazaar at the time, said to the artist, “how clever of you, mr. parkinson also to know that pink is the navy blue of india.” – a remark on the ubiquity of the colour in our lives, that rings true even today.
here are some of my favorites from the exhibition, or what i’ve seen of it on facebook ;-)
the dream-like one above is my absolute favorite. just gorgeous.
lovely shots, no? unlike the really distasteful vogue india shoot that featured people living in poverty sporting burberry & fendi accessories (slumdog meets millionaire, far too literally), mr. parkinson’s pictures seem to focus on – and respect – the beauty of the buildings, landscapes and people which form the backdrop for the clothes and the models.
anyway, i just cannot wait to see these in person when they arrive in delhi in january!
you can check out many of the exhibited photos in tasveer’s facebook album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.168042583256170.41541.144606098933152&type=3
and tasveer’s write-up on the exhibition here: http://www.tasveerarts.com/exhibitions/norman-parkinson-pink-is-the-navy-blue-of-india/
just finished watching the deliciously swoon-worthy, utterly romantic new version of jane eyre directed by cary fukunaga. it was so…so…swoony!
how romantic can it possibly be, you may ask? i think the director’s words on love may provide us with some clue:
so according to new york magazine’s vulture blog, they asked mr. fukunaga what the craziest thing he had ever done for love was. (see: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/10/cary_fukunaga_romance.html)
and he replied,
“That’s hard to figure out. What defines crazy? Let me think about that for a second…I’ve scoured for mourning jewelry, put pieces together that have matched from around the world; I’ve given lost lockets as gifts. I’ve written immense love letters that are supposed to be opened over days at a time. I used to always make art for girls. That was the thing I did for girls to like me. I did portraits, drawings, letters that formed outlines of significant things in our relationship. Art. I just used art in general. It usually worked.”
found this amazing video made by spike jonze and olympia le-tan on this website called nowness (see: http://www.nowness.com/day/2011/10/17/spike-jonze-mourir-aupres-de-toi).
it’s beautiful, romantic and raunchy (the latter is a key element in what an awesome video this is!) all at once.
also to be noted is that this little film is set in the famous parisian bookstore shakespeare & co. the setting where 2 of my favorite movie characters – jesse and celine – found each other in before sunset, 9 years after they met in before sunrise. before sunrise and sunset are 2 of the most genuinely romantic films i’ve ever seen. and unlike many films about love that one “loves” at 18, i still love them now, many many years after i first watched them. or let me say, i love them all the more now that i’ve grown up and have seen what love is like off-screen.
olympia le-tan btw, is a designer, who among other things, is famous for making “book clutches” that have been very popular with film stars like natalie portman over the past year or so…here are a few of my favourite such clutches from her blog. check out the rest at http://olympialetan.tumblr.com.