Vijay Prasad and Ronita Das have been my hosts in New Delhi for the past two nights and their openness and hospitality in their home in Dwarka has been the most perfect “Welcome to India” that any first time visitor could ask for. I met Ronita on CouchSurfing.com after being introduced to the concept by a beautiful friend of mine (<3) and searching for someone to stay with in New Delhi.
Tonight and tomorrow night I will be staying with another CS friend of theirs, Shyam Singh in Gurgaon. Shyam, like many young Indians works in a BPO Call Centre and thus works night shifts – so he is sleeping now and I have a few hours to catch up online.
But this post is about the CS ‘Foodie Walk’ which I was invited to join yesterday afternoon and evening. The idea of the walk was conceived by another Delhi CSer and travel writer, Dr Ashish Chopra who has previously taken some of the most high profile CEO’s from Gurgaon on the same excursion – walking through the street markets of ‘Old Delhi’ and sampling the various eastern delights on offer.
This culinary adventure is made better by the atmosphere of the ancient city as the backdrop to thousands of people just getting on with their lives – pulling rickshaws, cooking, travelling, begging… The colours and sounds and, of course, the smells are an adventure in themselves before you’ve even tasted any of the food on offer.
We stopped at places along the way and sampled all sorts of things with names like chilla (savoury pancake with cheese and tomato), dahi balla (I have no idea…), japanese samoosa (Indian-style wantaan), gosh raan (thigh of lamb), brain curry (er, sheep brain, curried), mutton stew, kaleji (livers), gurda (kidney) and at the end of it all a beetle leaf with all sorts of sweets and stuff on it called Paan. To a boy from Durban in South Africa many of the flavours were familiar and those that weren’t were compatible with what we like to eat… nothing was outrageously hot though – I’d have liked to have found something piping ‘ot!
This morning, Vijay, Ronita and I watched Slumdog Millionaire win 8 out of the 10 Academy Awards which it was nominated for, and though billed as a British Movie, it is equally as Indian, having been filmed in India, co-directed by an Indian and adapted from an Indian novel. I am going to watch it tonight with Shyam and Dr Chopra – I cannot wait!