In Big Chill

Read Part I here

When someone asks you whether you’d like to visit a book cafe or not, don’t say No.

Piyusha told me that it wasn’t in CP (where we were, if you recall), but in Khan Market, I didn’t really know how to get there anyway, she told me we’d have to travel by metro.
By now, I had already travelled a bit with my friends, so I had a metro card!

For those who are wondering why I would be so happy about it, you have clearly never seen the huge queue for tickets. Even though we were there for a month, all of us had Metro cards and I think all of us kept them,as memoirs of our travels.

So to reach Khan market, we had to take a metro to Central Secretariat on the yellow line and then shift over to the Violet line, I think.

This is one thing I find extremely cute when you ride the Delhi Metro.

At Junctions, where you have more than one line intersecting, there are coloured footprints painted on the ground leading to the platform of the same coloured line of the metro that you want to board. I think Piyusha was a little worried about me though. With good reason. Like a mother hen protecting her innocent chick, Piyusha protectively led me to the ladies coach, glaring at those that tried to brush against me, I probably stood out quite a bit and it was as if I had a big board plastered to my forehead “Not From  Delhi”

Most people who come to India as tourists choose one of the two cities – Delhi or Mumbai.

I have heard people speaking of the transport system of India as a whole based on their experience in just one of the cities. Being in Delhi for  90 days, I know how far apart the transport systems are.

In Mumbai, if you haven’t traveled by train ( local train) at least once, you are a rookie. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived in Mumbai all your life, you’re still a rookie at Mumbai.

When I asked Piyusha about local trains in Delhi, she looked a little horrified.

“Not many people use local trains, almost everyone uses the metro”

One more difference to jot down in my book.

Auto Rickshaws in Delhi remind me of annoying matchmaking aunties, they quote the fare before I have even had the chance to sit down, fully aware of the fact that I have no idea how much it usually costs. 

One of my friends joked “Meter kya decoration ke liye lagaya hai?

(Is the meter just for decoration?)

I went over these with Piyusha, who laughed and told me about her experience in Mumbai with a rick (auto rickshaw) where she asked the Rickshaw driver if he would take her to S.V. Road.

Now, for all those who are not from Mumbai, picture an axis, which ranges from negative infinity to positive infinity. Now superimpose it on Mumbai on a map. Voilà, there’s S.V.Road. It ranges from Bandra to Dahisar, approx 25 kms. 

I immediately asked her where on S.V. Road and could barely stop my laughter when she said “that’s what the rickshaw wala asked!”

Remember the “Not from Delhi” board on my forehead, I think there’s a “Not From Mumbai” one too!

This is probably when Piyusha realised that we were on the wrong train, oops, Metro (put it down as Mumbaikar flaws!)

She kept apologizing, that’s when I quoted these lines

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! 

Except for the kissing! 

On the way Piyusha told me about her Masters in Hotel Management and her (then) upcoming trip to Agra with another blogger. This was a first for me. I realised just how much I owed to this platform that allowed me to meet new people through their blogs. I’m not a very social person, so going out is pretty rare for me, and with a stranger! Unheard of!

Except, she wasn’t a stranger at all. She was A Wandering Soul!

Yes, I feel very clever about the above line, I’m weird, deal with it!

That’s when we reached Khan Market.

Khan Market, according to me is a mixture of cultures.

When you say market, you either expect expensive showrooms or smaller shops. In Khan Market, you’ve got both.

It was here that Piyusha gave me an insight into a Delhiite’s mind.

“If you browse the shops in Khan Market, you’re cool, if you buy, you’re considered a fool!”

Almost all the bigger shops are branded of extremely expensive anyway. Piyusha led me around the labyrinth like roads to small book café, I can’t remember the name of.

This was my first time in a book café. As soon as you enter, the outer world seems to fall away. It’s probably how Lucy felt when she found Narnia!

All around, on tasteful wooden shelves, were books of all genres. But the most beautiful attribute of the shelves were the little notes that hung from them.

One of them read “I was suggested this book by my wife, she wasn’t my wife then, she is now!”

This little book café spoke of little pieces of so many peoples lives, their joy, gloom, heartbreak and love. It was probably the feelings of the people, turned into books, that made the little book cafe glow so bright and warm.

If you ever doubt the effect that books can have on people’s lives, visit a book café!

There was a charming staircase that led up to the small but homely seating arrangement upstairs. We didn’t really end up eating there but the memory still makes me smile and feel all warm inside!

The next place we went to is probably the most memorable of the day. Piyusha td me that this was one of the most well known cafés and that there will be a waiting list.

The café was called Big Chill and as she had predicted, there was a waiting list. She told me that there was more than one outlet in Khan Market due to it’s popularity!

While we waited for our table, there was a group of girls having what might be a conversation.

All of us have, at some point or another, attempted to mimick another country’s accent. Some succeeded, others got laughed at. But this was the first time I heard someone say

“I just got back from New York”

In a British accent.

I turned towards Piyusha to notice that her eyes were sparkling with laughter. Suddenly striking an odd pose and waving her hand around, she started to mimick the conversation, which by the way, was about some girl who want invited today. Scratch that, it was about the shoes if the girl who wasnt invited today. Oh wait..nevermind.

I am usually not one to comment on people’s clothes, unless I’m with my best friend. But really, those shoes with that bag with that jacket!

I remember joining in with Piyusha and having a little fun with that sort of hilarious mock conversation.😂

Then they let us know that a table was free! 

As soon as they opened the door, there is a rather narrow flight of stairs to be climbed. 

It opened up into this awesome café that made my jaw drop open! The entire place Gabe out the vibe of an 80’s American Café, with huge posters of models in typical 80’s dresses, the red theme and the pretty patterned tables.

As soon as you enter, there is a huge display of all the pastries and cheesecakes and eclairs!

Now, in most places that I have been, I ask for the Bailey’s Irish Cream shake or coffee, but they never have it. It’s either out of stock or discontinued.

Big Chill had both a shake and a cheesecake!

Piyusha had a Hazelnut Chocolate Shake, I believe.

The cheesecake was well done, the base was crumbly and the cheesecake was soft, the tempered chocolate topping was a brilliant touch and of course, it tasted of Bailey’s Irish Cream! YUMMY!

Amidst the time travel feel that the cafe exuded, we both spent the last hour or so, chatting about our plans for the future. She showed me a piece she had written that moved me to tears, and I told her about the Delhi Diaries Idea that I had. 

It wouldn’t be long past this conversation that she stared Beyond Coffee and Words and I strongly urge you to visit them. It would only be a few weeks later that I would return to Mumbai.

This day would forever be embedded in my heart. The laughs, smiles, chatter, mimicry, food, ambience and the person I spent it with!

Thank you so much for giving me such brilliant memories to cherish!