*liquid luck potion in the Harry Potter universe
And so we move to Delhi Diaries Number 2!
Also, this post was getting very long so I split it into two😅
One of the biggest firsts of my life was meeting an online friend. It was a rainy day in Delhi (which I could only hear because my hotel room had no windows😅) on which I had decided to meet this friend.
Piyusha is more than simply an online friend though. Most humans have water as 75% of their composition, I’m sure Piyusha has encouragement! From encouraging me to write or expand on the Story Continuation Prompts to insisting I publish my story on Readomania, she has been a vial of Felix Felicis. Every one of the stories I wrote on her insistence became top read on my blog. This was the woman I was going to meet!
An hour before I was going to leave my hotel room, I got a call from her, warning me that it was raining quite a bit and that I need to dress accordingly.
Of course, listening to this my Mumbaikar soul went into battle mode.
Completely opaque shirt in case you get wet. Check
Capris so you can wade through knee deep water. Check
Simple Kajal so you don’t end up like Monjolika(a character in an Indian Movie who possessed a woman). Check
Umbrella in an accessible place. Check
Everything wrapped in plastic in the bag. Check.
I was ready for anything that the Delhi rains would throw at me. Except, Delhi rains are not exactly like Mumbai.
Scratch that, I can’t call Delhi’s rains, rains!
If you stood outside, you could, if you concentrated very hard, feel a few drops touch your skin. That’s it.😥
So, in my armour, I headed towards Connaught Place(CP), one of the most famous places in Delhi.
Unlike the first time I was at CP, I was much better oriented with this circular maze of shops and quietly stood by KFC, or Dunkin Donuts or some such shop to wait.
Now, I have a slight issue, I am obsessively early to most meetings. You say 8:30, I’m there by 8. So I’m used to waiting for a while before the rest of the people show up! But not this time. I had stood there for barely 5 minutes before I had a Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham Moment.
For all those who haven’t watched this movie, the scene I’m talking about is when Jaya Bachchan, mother to Shah Rukh Khan’s character, turns towards the door when she feels her son getting home.
There she was, dressed normally for Delhi rains, and I felt a bit foolish in my armour.
That was forgotten in an instant though. There are people with whom you have to go through awkward silences before you can really speak to them, and then there are people who you hit it off with instantly.
The latter perfectly describes Piyusha!
She was easy going, and our wavelengths matched to such an extent that you would only be able to find differences with a microscope.
Her face was one of those that could easily put you at ease, an extremely contagious smile and twinkling eyes enhancing her approachability.
The conversation was easily opened and I, being the talkative thing that I am, went on and on about the differences I found between Mumbai and Delhi and she told me her viewpoint.
When she spoke of Delhi, I realised that what I had experienced was but the tip of the iceberg. She had lived there, Delhi was in every pore of her being, like Mumbai was in mine. If you speak to most Delhi people about Mumbai, it’s World War III, but speaking to her was so refreshing, she accepted some flaws of Delhi, which in turn allowed me to accept some that Mumbai has too.
For once, it seemed like there was a conversation, not a debate. A simple exchange of views about the cities we live in, the lives we lead, the goods, the bads, the dos and donts. It was exciting to see her reactions to some “Bambaiya” words that don’t exist in Hindi.
In an episode of Doctor Who, I had heard the doctor say something that made sense to me.
time travel is like visiting Paris. You can’t just read the guide book. You’ve got to throw yourself in, eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers – or is that just me? Stop asking questions. Go and do it!
We weren’t roaming around with a plan, we were just roaming. Walking, taking in the city with a native’s perspective right beside me.
That’s also about the time we realised we needed lunch. Now, if you know me, have traveled with me or even gone to the beach with me, you know I love food.
My sister often says that it is completely impossible to go anywhere with me and not end up eating something or the other. Frankie by the roadside or Cheesecake in a pâtisserie. The place Piyusha took me to though, will forever remain in my memories.
Caffé Tonino’s is a quaint little café, I’m not exactly sure where in CP it is, I’m sure you can Google it anyway. It is beautiful. With a request for a window seat, that I was completely entranced by, we had our appetizers and a drink each.
The window we sat by was your typical Rapunzel styled window, half covered by a tree from the outside. It was here that we felt our imaginations opening their eyes. We pictured gnomes and fairies and maybe a dryad singing to us from that tree, the mystical air of the place, the soft music drawing us in. I checked twice to see whether I was still in my three quarters and poncho and not in a pretty dress straight from Grimm’s Brothers fairy tales.
This place not only appealed to me in terms of the decor and feel, but in terms of the food as well.
Again, for those that know me well, I’m a real critic when it cones to food, that stems mostly from the fact that I act as chief taster for my mom, so I can tell her which spices are too less or too much. As a result, I have the tastes of a wide variety of herbs and spices in my hard drive and I’m rarely wrong about the ones used.
Which is why my attention was piqued by the menu which offered no insight on the herbs involved. Most menus have a habit of disclosing all sauces and herbs in the description itself. I believe our order was a half and half of a Provenzale and a Chicken Lover’s.
After the order, for some reason, we had to shift tables, and although I was sad to leave the mystic window into Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the next table came with a wall adorned with shelves of books and flowers arranged somewhat crookedly to give the entire place a European feel. Piyusha caught on to my fascination instantly, I believe, since she asked me if I wanted a photo.
There is one more thing I love doing around the house, that is decorating, the decor of this little Caffe (Yes, it is spelt that way, I don’t know why? Does anyone know?) entranced me. I’m sure Snow White lived in this cafe once upon a time and she donated it so that common folk like us could have a jolly time eating here.
They say there is no better feeling than when you see your food arriving at a restaurant, I have proved that one true many times.
The half and half served on a wooden flat dish enhanced the rustic feel to the entire meal and I was overjoyed to see it was a thin crust, nobody likes crusts anyway.
The rustic feel hit me full force when I put a piece in my mouth. Most pizzas tend to bypass the traditional tomato sauce for some wonky sauce, which works if you’re not at a restaurant that tries to offer a rustic feel. Yes, my views on food change as per the theme of the restaurant. Is that wierd?
The tomato sauce on this one though, was beautiful. Chicken mortadella, bits of spiced chicken sausages all came together beautifully with the sauce. Not overpowering, but with the entry taste of the mild oregano, the rich flavours of the mortadella and spiced sausages and the after taste of the soft fresh basil, the overall taste of the pizza was not one which led to an explosion of tastes but a flowing transition.
The Provenzale, which I also had, was mellow in comparison to the Chicken Lover’s, although that could be because I’m too much of a hard core Non Vegetarian. One of the things I get annoyed about on a vegetarian pizza is the cheese, they try to compensate for the lack of meat by adding an excess of cheese which then overpowers every other taste.
Pop a bit of fresh Mozzarella in your mouth and you’ll find it doesn’t really have much taste, it is only meant to hold up the flavours of the spices that come after it.
That is something Caffe Tonino’s got right! The cheese was not too much, so the flavour of the olives, mushrooms and peppers wasn’t lost.
The brilliant flavour of the food and the company of a brilliant writer is a very good combination.
We talked about our blogs, her stories that were picked up by readomania to be published, the novel she was working on and life in general.
I am not usually the person to talk freely on my first meeting with someone, but Piyusha, as I have said earlier, exudes an air of warmth, that makes you feel at ease. I was drawn into the conversation, speaking of my days in Delhi, asking her about her days in Mumbai.
SV Road and Outer Ring Road
Dahi Bhalle and Pani Puri
Ganne ka Ras and Lassi
Chole Bhature and Pav Bhaji
I had never expected the Delhi-Mumbai join to be so similar! We exchanged jokes and faux pas of when we were in opposing cities, laughed at each other’s expressions and had an amazing meal to go with it.
She didn’t let me pay, though, citing a treat, and I made a deal that I would pay for dessert then. Eyes gleaming, she looked at me and asked me if I would like to go to a book café.
Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out what happened next!😜