The radio silence that makes it seem like the blog’s gone dead?
Well, it hasn’t.
I’m coming to you from somewhere high above the Atlantic, as I fly back home. The airplane cabin is dark and quiet. The baby in 24C was crying a while back. He’s fallen asleep. I’ve just a finished a spectacularly bad meal of pack-n-seal biryani. But buckle up, this is going to be a long one.
It would be OK for you to assume that I haven’t been doing much of cooking or baking, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Barring junk-that-will-make-you-slobber-uncontrollably hot dogs and a chicken and mushroom quiche, which I will share with you shortly, I haven’t really spent much time in the kitchen this year. So far.
Remember how we discussed Altertrips over lemon cake? I did promise to share more with you and now is just as good a time as any.
Two summers ago, in 2015, we took an impromptu flight to Berlin. Just because. Fauri, my BFF from Uni (and fellow kebab-lover), was finishing up with her post-grads in Dessau and I was looking for a short break. Germany seemed like an attractive option. Unfazed by the popular consensus about the starkness of bratwurst, my family wanted to come along. And so they did.
I don’t have to tell you how family vacations are completely different from vacations with friends. It’s the priorities that get you. Hostel vs Hotel. Sightseeing vs Eating. Eating Indian vs Eating local. Walking around all day vs Going back to the hotel for an afternoon siesta.
Luckily, my family’s made up of champs and travel-hungry people.
We booked an AirBnB, a charming two-room apartment in Barbarossastraße, with the tiniest of kitchens and a bathroom that was so narrow, you wouldn’t be able to stretch out both your arms sideways at the same time. The apartment was stacked with its neighboring units and overlooked a cozy courtyard. The coziness and the green of the courtyard was welcoming. However, it meant that neighbors could easily hear you talking if you raised your voice a couple of notches. Toddlers looked up from their playtime and quietly watched us drag our luggage to the first floor.
We took a weekend trip to Darjeeling. A work thing. Mixed with tons of sleep. And food.
Well, I mean, look. Just look.
The last Friday night was spent swaying in a train, as we made our way to Darjeeling. At one point, the time when my folks honeymooned there, Darjeeling was quaint, cold and romantic. It is still cold. It is no more quaint. And the romance is stale and fragrant-less.
Now it smells of horse-shit, from the ponies that carry children around the market square. It also smells of smoke from the Read More »
The entire trip lasted about 36 hours from start to finish. There was a big SUV full of tired architects, a big ice-box full of alcohol and a three-hour trip to Digha.
Digha’s one of those touristy beach towns, a stone’s throw away from a big city. That automatically turns it into the destination to go to when you’re looking for a weekend retreat or a quick and budget honeymoon. The roads, if you can call them that, are lined with lodges and hotels to fit your every budgetary need. And if you’re not spoilt with choices in overnight stay, you can even talk a walk on the sandy promenades munching on batter-fried eggplants and haggling with the shopkeeper of that place that sells local jute handicrafts.
A week before Thanksgiving last year, I packed my winter coat and a few pairs of skinny jeans, cleaned out my bank account and took a very very long flight to New York.
I would like to go on a rant at this point saying how the plans were all last-minute, how the tickets were bought overnight and how I craved adventure so much, that I spontaneously packed my bags and flew off halfway across the world in 22 hours and 25 minutes. Oh, how I wish that were true.
I did exactly that when I booked for Paris overnight during my Spring Break in 2010. But this time was different. All planned. Lists made. Proper clothing packed. Maps studied. Timings synchronized. All signs that I’m finally growing up.
You’ll have to forgive me though, before you go scroll through the photos and then come back and yell at me, “Where on earth are all the food photos, woman?!”
Well, I don’t have any. Or, I have two. If you count a blurry photo of a humongous piece of chocolate mousse cheesecake from Junior’s and one random photo of my first time having Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate Mix. So, yes. If you count those two, then I have two ‘food’ photos. Go ahead, you can curse.
I always get excited when I stumble upon videos on London. It’s the curiosity of finding out what others think of my beloved home.
I wake up every morning and go to work. Through the train-window I stare at the Gherkin sparkling in the sun or glittering in the rain. At the station I’m engulfed by the crowd, all suited and booted, rushing towards their workplaces. They don’t have time to stop and notice the city. On the way back home I shake out my umbrella and curse the rain. I stare at couples on their uncomfortable first dates sitting at coffee tables. They stare back at me trying not to look at their partners. But I don’t notice the city. The weekends are filled with hauling around colourful shopping bags and smirking at the attractive woman with chipped fingernails sitting across from me on the tube. The city goes to sleep without a goodnight kiss from me.
And that is why when I come across movies on London made by others, I look. I envy visitors. I envy Londoners who take the time to get to know her. I play the videos over and over again and again, and try and spot all the details.