I’m The Food! Here’s my story from Dilli-6

I, as an entity come in variety of sizes, shapes, forms and cuisines. Some people just have me because they have to; I help them survive. Some like to play around with me and savor cooking me. They feel happy when their version of me,served to others’ platter is appreciated. A few just ask me to pose , so that I could fetch them a mass following on Instagram.

I hate this DSLR and i-Phone generation. These noobs don’t even chew me properly. They honestly don’t care whether I am cooked properly or how do I smell like. Their sole agenda is to leverage my looks to boost their ego of being hailed as a famous-foodie. They use me like a whore.Hate them. Especially the self-proclaimed ones.  And a female up loader with a pretty face is an add on to the rant. At times, they do not make any sense but just because she is hot, people go bonkers.

“People who write Foodie in their bio on Tinder and Snapchat should be boycotted from this society with immediate effect.”

Foodie has become analogous to a Roadie. Every tom, dick and harry wants to be one. I mean,you don’t have to force yourself. It comes in naturally. On a flip side, there are a few good eaters of mine too. In fact, I adore the passionate ones.

There’s one more league too. The “paidayshi bhookhay” category. I love them the most. They are the people who can go to any extent to have the best version of me, who do not claim to be the connoisseurs of food.They have me because they simply love me.

On a brighter note, I did come across 3 such people. The hoggers came to relish the Delhi-6 version of me. Before we go into the knitty gritties of that romantic evening, let me just brief you about the three monkeys.

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Mayank Singh – The Thakur ! Knows each and every inch of Delhi. Amrik Sukhdev is his second home. Extremely passionate about cars and can drive you crazy with his stories.
Someone who values friendship to the very core and keeps telling people how diverse the food in Delhi is. He is our free PR agent. Kudos to this soul.

Veenit Bhatyal – The mini dynamo from Jammu. Known for his deep quotes and tales from the valley, he carries the Punjabi accent with full flair. His love for barbeques and pahadi non veg dishes is no less than Bappi da’s love for gold !

Lalit Vijay – Someone who just relocated to Delhi, was lost in the nuances of the new job, new city and was skeptical about making new friends but all his theories were put to rest as the Santa-Banta duo decided to take him for a gourmet stroll in Dilli-6.

We are a very big food family spread across Bazaars and lanes in Delhi-6. There is a Gurudwara, close to which you would come across lip smacking chats and sweet shops. In the lanes surmounting Nayi Sadak, you would find Chhole Kulcha stalls, rabri on the rocks.

img-20170122-wa0038In the further by-lanes where a four wheeler can’t enter, you have streets named after a parantha and near Jama Masjid you’d come across soul-quenching non-veg cousin of mine. If you go further down, my another cousin – Milkie resides; where you would see a lot of paneer shops and old school dhabas like Kakke Di Hatti, an institution where naans are groped with ghee using an actual paint brush.

In short, I am the uniting force. I do not distinguish between any human. Plethora of people hailing from different origins come here to find salvation in the form of “me” and rarely I’ve disappointed anyone. For the matter of fact, these 3 dumb asses were a delight to be hosted.You should have been there to see the looks on their faces as they lingered me in absolute frenzy.

Here’s their trail map. In case you are new to the city just follow it step by step.

Hop 1: Located right outside the Chandni Chowk Metro station, is a small shop which has just two items on its menu – Aalo Tikki and Papdi Chat. Both are amazing. Within 100 Rupees, you can achieve gastronomical heights at Natraj. Their red imly chutney and thick curd is to die for.

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Hop 2: Just beside hop-1 is a chatwala serving daulat ki chaat. It is basically milk froth served with Khoya.

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Hop 3: Chhole Kulche and Rabri Falooda in the opposite lane next to Nayi Sadak. You could either take the electric rickshaw if you are really tired but that I guess happens when you are too full, later in the story. Not now ! So, better walk.

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Hop 4: Another eatery with just two dishes on the menu- Jalebis and Samosa, hailed as The Old Famous Jalebi Wala. Those 500 Rs/kg thick sweeties can take you back to the Diwali pooja’s memory lanes where those bulky pieces of sugar are gulped with milk. Minus the long queue, it’s divine.

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Hop 5: The most fairly used location in Bollywood movies – Paranthey Wali Gali. Mind it !
The paranthas aren’t too great, neither is the hygiene but it’s the emotions and vibe that draws thousands of people there every day. Brace yourself for this iconic junction in case you wish to have fried paranthas with a lot of chutneys and that authentic aalo sabzi by the side.You name a thing, they have a parantha stuffing for that. Be it jaggery or carrot. Moolis are a strict no in case you have a lot to eat in your head. Simple hygiene check!

Hop 6: Tucked inside the bylanes of Chandni Chowk is this Haveli Dharampura. Basically a house converted to a heritage hotel luring foreigners and desis with that royal and rustic touch of old school elements – hookah, kite flying, pigeon taming and the grand dining units.

Finally the last two gems – Karim’s and Al- Jawahar.

Hop-7: After visiting the Jama Masjid, head straight from Gate-1 to these legendary units. They need no introduction. The trio had Chicken Burrah and Mutton Shammi kebabs at Karim’s. At Al-Jawahar, it was Mutton Biryani and Changezi chicken. The last hop was an iconic point in their friendship. After that, there was no looking back.

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I hope you liked my story. Every explorer brings in his/her perspective. Come, try me out. Trust me, at the end with a heavy heart and stomach you’d still crave for more.

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It’s always a treat to watch Pakistan play !

Not because my forefathers hailed from Pakistan or Momina sings for Coke Studio Pakistan, I generally love to watch Pakistani Cricket team play. Also, it has got nothing to do with the fact that I love to eat Karachi naans.

Dear reader, being a logical Cricket fan; I like to see this team play. Please do not label me an anti-nationalist.

Here is a point-wise explanation of my feelings –

1. Highly unpredictable.
They work the extreme ways. Either they can go on to win (almost) in the fourth innings by chasing the improbable 400+ in the fourth innings or they lose consecutive Tests by a margin of an innings defeat. In the shorter format of the game too, they have a knack of playing with a zillion heartbeats. In 2007, Misbah almost scooped them the T20 World Cup which left me and my billion brothers peeing in the pants. And recently, on a funny note, they failed to score 2 runs in the final over of a game against the bowling of Maxwell. Heights of craziness! Do you remember their iconic celebrations at Lords’
when almost everyone had written them off ?

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2. Raw talent.
It’s all about the raw talent. Neither do they have a proper set-up for promoting the first class level Cricket nor can they play on their home turf. PSL- their indigenous premiere league does push local talents to the limelight but the quantity is very less in terms of impact when compared to a sporting event like IPL .People who eventually make it to the team are primarily raw & naive and they come from non-cricketing backgrounds only on the basis of their talent.

3. Bowlers are their real superstars.
Baring a few batsmen like Hamid Mohammad, Inzaman , Mohammad Yousuf or Younis Khan it has always been the bowlers’ show for Pakistan. Right from Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mushtaq or Shoaib Akhtar, it’s their bowlers who have primarily lead from the front and won games for them. Bowlers, I certainly feel are highly under-rated and they don’t get the credit they deserve. For me, it is a great leveler and I enjoy the competition between the bat and the ball when Pakistan is playing. Except the last few games, the pacers- Irfan, Amir, Riaz and Yasir have been phenomenal, that too in all the conditions.

4. Rib-ticking fielding.
Pakistan is one crazy fielding unit. Every time they are on field, comedy of errors is guaranteed. There is no concept of calling for a catch. Right from their former keeper, Kamran Akmal ; everyone loves chaos. Earlier, Inzy used to be the leader of the wolf-pack – right now Wahab Riaz does his part with full perfection.

5. They entertain.
Pakistan has a sublime history with their coaches. From Bob Woolmer’s mysterious demise to the great Mickey Arthur, someone who keeps on embarrassing himself by comparing Paki players with the legends, it’s always fun to have that “what’s next” moment when you see Pakistan play. Ramiz Raja’s commentary is a cherry on the top. He is the worst commentator that I know of. He is so bad that after a certain point, you actually start loving his stupid anecdotes. And don’t forget the fun in their post match presentation ceremonies. InshaAllah, boys played well are the most holiest 4 words ever.

Hope to see more of their games, more of pretty ladies in the stands and yeah watching them lose to India in World Cups is divine.

Cheers!

Sorry Bollywood! Please don’t make a biopic on Rahul Dravid.

Off late, there is this resurgence in Bollywood towards making biopics on sports stars. But the problem is they do not know how to make one !

Bollywood lacks good editors. They surely don’t know what not to show. I mean look at Azhar. Firstly, it wasn’t even needed. The entire plot was morphed. As a Cricfan , it was bullshit. Qualities like erratic behavior, affairs etc give orgasmic sensations to the script writers and without even thinking, a movie is made in India. From the bottom of my heart, I condemn biopic makers.

Dhoni : The Untold Story was even worse. Being a Cricket fanatic, I could predict everything. And who cares about Mahi’s love affairs. And why would I be interested in Dhoni’s flings and mushy romantic songs. I mean why ? Why can’t they keep it crisp and show something real which a fan would love to know. For instance – board room politics, his equation with Sehwag & Gambhir or the Meiyappan saga. Something which hasn’t come out in open ever.

Bollywood thrives on masala. The sole criteria of making a is biopic is that the sportsperson must have some controversial/ glamorous background or should possess some cliched middle class struggling life plot. Rahul Dravid, if we talk about, doesn’t fit in the pattern !

Rahul Dravid is a legend, an inspiration to many. We are talking about a man, who is the epitome of simplicity, very humble and down to earth. He’s a man, who resigned from international cricket as if it were no big deal. A true gentleman. I don’t think any movie would ab able to depict what he has given to team India.

Every time I see a biopic made by Bollywood, deep inside I secretly play, Oh dear Lord ! Please stop them from making a movie on Rahul Dravid.  Bollywood biopics have the capability to ruin anything and justifying Dravid’s stature would be a daunting task.

Moreover, I feel glitz and Dravid are never in sync with each other. It’s a highly odd alliance.  Dravid had been an ideal student, an ideal player, the goodie good guy which gets overshadowed by either the topper of the class or the villain. There was no room for the second best. He wasn’t aggressive like Ponting, he wasn’t loved like Tendulkar, he wasn’t cherished like Lara, he was just Dravid who did is job meticulously and left to live his personal life with grace.

Citing an example from Bangalore. Dravid is like CTR. Everyone knows it serves good dosas in Bangalore. They’ve never advertised it ? Do they need to ? NO ! People acknowledge and love it. Similarly, no film can ever display Dravid’s grit, his passion and his will power because it could just be felt from his game and no reel can ever replicate those moments. It will ruin everything.

As a sincere fan, I hope no biopic is ever made on Rahul Sharad Dravid  because of the fact that it won’t do justice to him.

Bangalored !

I love you Bangalore !
Not just for an awesome college life, the craziest of the friends or the MNC job that you’ve offered me; there is something more to it. I wonder I would ever be able to express it.
6 years man! I know you in and out. Trust me you are the best, leave even the weather part aside.

The fact that I owe you one big time, let me pen down where all you’ve made me felt ecstatic. The places where I love to go again and again..In case, someone’s new to town and inquisitiveness in him happens to drag him down to these  places  after reading this piece of blog, I’ll be extremely glad .Here’s my list-

Now, Swalpa Cheers Maadi Saaar!

1. MTR 1924:
Considering the rich cultural heritage of Lalbagh MTR, if you think it is somewhat less, No is the answer. This place deserves the cult following. The very fact I love it because of the simplicity in the food, the menu and everything is enriched with the aroma of desi ghee.
Majority of my Sunday mornings are dedicated to relishing the best bissi belle bath, rava/masala dosa, idli vadas and filter coffee in town.

Well, you don’t judge a south Indian restaurant with its sambhar in Bengaluru!!Chutney is the one that matters the most and let me tell you it is just perfect here. Staying closely offers me the luxury to barge in any moment here. Even the 220 rupee one special meal during the lunch is equally delightful. Once you see the variety it offers to your plate you tend to forget the long queues and all the waiting.

If a Punjabi like me feels this way just imagine the joy on the faces of hardcore Kannadigas eating over there.

MTR's special bissi belle bath

MTR’s special bissi belle bath

2. PLAN B:
Dimly lit, glass bottles hanging over the bar adorned by cool posters and enormously loud music to go on with it! Well that’s plan B for you. Do not go on its name. Trust me! Once you have the chicken wings spiced with their iconic ABS sauce (ass burning shit) you’ll say realise that it is the only plan if you are visiting Ashok Nagar.

ABS for that matter is no ordinary piece of sauce. It has the potential to put your face on their legendary walls.  If someone can finish the wings (a dozen of that kind) in 120 seconds he is right there adoring the prestigious wall of fame. Plan B is like a small roadside American pub next door run by an over friendly Coorgi uncle. I can bet he will remember your name for his entire life once you share a talk/smoke with him for 5 minutes. Sometimes I wonder is it those pink lil Coorgi swines or the cigar he keeps smoking responsible for his sharp memory.

Even though it’s overcrowded, you can’t listen to what the person smelling your burps is talking or the fact that you always have to shred 45 minutes of your life to get into this place, you’ll still love it; the way I do. Just to clarify the above written statements have nothing to do with the fact that I have special liking for Coorgis. Their burgers, wings and pork have made me do the talking.

Ultra Spicy chicken wings at Plan B

Ultra Spicy chicken wings at Plan B

3. CHIN LUNG:
There are some good bars. There are some better bars and then there is CHIN LUNG.
Located right at the junction of residency road and THE Brigade road; stands tall this epic place. It is the one of the classiest and the shadiest places I’ve ever been to. You can find from rags to riches drinking pauwass (quarter)over there, where in rags being referred are the college kids, people just starting their careers like me and riches are the ones who are richer not only by their hearts, their  car brand as well.

Spread across three floors, the top floor gives the best view .The terrace is a space for heated conversations, loud exchanges, raucous laughter and the occasional brawl. If it is drizzling that day, the peanut masala and the chilli chicken can give you goosebumps.The best part about the place is that the waiters are the real bosses. I’ve never seen such rude yet caring staff at the same time.

It might resemble to some kind of hazy bars you could’ve seen in Bollywood movies but trust me just go there skip the dingy entrance, overlook the weird people occupying the dark alleys with chillums, grab a table on top, pour some whiskey and take a deep breath, feel the neon rays across the street and think about life; you won’t regret it.

Chin Lung-The hazy kingdom

Chin Lung-The hazy kingdom

4. OPUS:
Better known for its activities, situated near the great Bangalore palace; this place is a complete action hub. Ranging from a wide range of social events like Karaoke, Live Bands, Stand up comedies what stands apart and attracts me to book (I prefer to skip the curious case of drink and drive) a cab almost every alternate Thursday is the fact that 10,000 rupees, a trophy, a table on the house and an infinite amount of knowledge is up for grabs at Booze and Brains.

It is an ideal place for catching up with friends or a casual dine out with intellectual colleagues over drinks and some quiz stuff. The main courtyard is open and airy. Amazing music, Goan food, great vibes and the voguish chicks of The United States of Bengaluru are my secondary reasons to love this place.

Booze and Brains hosted every Thursday by Mark Rego

Booze and Brains hosted by Mark Rego.

5. TRUFFLES- ICE AND SPICE:
Life is too short to not eat the All American Cheese Burger at Truffles (Ice and Spice).I mean the cheese literally melts in your mouth. I’ve never had a better burger than this in my entire life. It’s proximity to the all girls Jyoti Niwas College converts the inevitable boring waiting durations to bird watching sessions .The USP  of the place is the enigma that makes you feel younger.Their chicken steaks are yummy and definitely add a great value making it as the perfect “American Brunch Place” in the town. Planning of giving a Budget treat- Don’t think too much. Start heading towards Kormangala Truffles.

The legendary All American Cheese Burger

The legendary All American Cheese Burger

6. TOIT:
This is THE PLACE. It never gets older. Toit is an iconic landmark in terms of being the oldest and coolest micro breweries in the town. The first thing you see as you enter is a Dravid’s portrait (just behind the fumy reception desk) that says “To TOIT from Rahul Dravid”; I mean what else you want then! If someone in my circle comes to visit Bangalore I make sure that he/she has to have their Tintin and Baked Nachos.

I’ve had the most epic conversations here at Toit, ranging from “How does it feel to work for Anurag Kashyap” to “Bhai kuch to karna hai life mein. BC dekh lio”. Friday night is the best time to go there, stand at the bar, get sloshed, watch a game and dream. Their motto is “Fuck Reservation”. Hardly twice or thrice in my life I’ve sat there and eaten. The crowd just hits you and the best part is you barge into a lot of known faces and if you are high you are bound to have a gala time.

A brave new happy world

A brave new happy world

7. BISTRO CLAYTOPIA:
Located right at the epicentre of the city’s most posh area, Indirangar is this small house turned into cafe. It unleashes my creativity and I call it as my “Quantum of Solace”. Usually if I’m alone, I just sit back, get lost in my wanderlust, pen down my thoughts, plan my itineraries and take all my life’s imp decisions at this place. Ironically, it turns out to be a gossip ADDA in case I happen to visit it with the boys. That time we use the footpath space, share a smoke, sit outside and talk and the best part -you can peacefully sit there for hours without getting bugged for placing the order.

Another thing that I like here is its diversification of the crowd. At times you can see kids modelling clay pots, people holding hands on a date, someone playing with their pet or a group of friends relishing smoothies in a single frame. I like their Grilled Lamb Burger and Omelette the most.

Claypot your thoughts !

Claypot your thoughts !

8. MAHESH LUNCH HOME:
Some wise man once said “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I think he was at Mahesh Lunch Home while phrasing it. Forget about the ambience and the warm welcomes! It’s their food that does the talking. Undoubtedly the best sea food (I call it as the real happiness) I’ve ever had.

Their chefs, managers and Stewarts treat you like their babies. They know what they are serving(with minute details) and make sure that you know what exactly do you want to eat because the menu is huge.Still,if you are confused you have the exact raw thing on your table ! You see, you like, they cook -That’s their mantra!

You can customize the spice quotient with the chef as well. When I went there for the first time, I was awestruck to see such an amazing hospitality that I ended up paying 200 /- tip on top of the tax vats n blah blah.Try their lobsters, crabs and Bombay ducks ,I can assure that you will look forward to come back for the heavenly experience.

Lobster on the rocks !

Lobster on the rocks !

9. MATTEO:
Situated right across the most happening lane (Church Street) of Bangalore, this place demonstrates the true cosmopolitan nature of the city. My sole reason to love this cafe is that it gives me the perfect ambience to read.

I can’t imagine a better place than Matteo to be on a Saturday afternoon. You can spot me at the leftmost corner just next to the glass separation wall in case you happen to pass by the road. My regular is a grilled chicken sandwich clubbed with a hot coffee.

Also, this place offers me the pleasure to travel in NammaMetro at least once a weak. You can take a power break from reading and visit the Magazines (right opposite to Matteo) where in the Cats can give you the best relaxation therapy.The Entertainment Store also falls in the catchment area. So, once I am done, I usually check out that and retreat. Overall, it’s a complete package.

Matteo-Gift of God for the readers.

Matteo-Gift of God for the readers.

10. SAVOURY:
Located on the hustling Mosque Road in Frazer Town, Savoury Restaurant offers you the best Arabian dishes in the town. Though it is much known for their Shawarmas and pulpy juice, but I love their Al Faham Dajaj and barbecue chicken with humus equally. The meat is fresh, tender and perfectly cooked that it just hits your p spot. It always gives me the vibes to travel to Istanbul, don’t know why! Anyway let me assure you this place is an absolute delight for die hard non veg lovers esp. during Ramzan time. Go there and be their Nawab!

My little Istanbul.

My little Istanbul.

PS: All the images have been taken from the internet. Sorry, I was too busy cherishing those moments (every single time) that I couldn’t capture the photographs.

The girl with my dream bucket

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After a filling meal as I sit back in the balcony of my apartment on a lazy Sunday evening, I’ve got nothing to do except for admiring the beauty of the City. The city that has made me the person I am today is definitely special to me in so many ways. As the cold breeze touches my soul, whose happy flag has already been set up with the spicy Dum aaloo and sambhar, I just get comfortable on the cane wood chair. With a positive aura around I sit back, smile for no reason and start thinking about the good old times that I’ve cherished with my loved ones. The next moment mom calls up and adds a new dimension to the joyful thought process. Within no time I realised that the topic has shifted from Khaana-peena, how are Dhriti and Suvansh (my niece and nephew), The Chief Minister of Delhi to my future Home Minister .After the call as I look into the hazy sky with thoughts of the last conversation in my brain’s cache I feel lost in my la-la land.

I am standing in the backyard of my house watering the plants and simultaneously adoring the pretty lady and her bright green scarf, tied on her semi black hair through which a cute little pony pops out (like those in the shampoo advertisements) .She slyly walks towards the sunny end of the kitchen garden with a bucket in one hand and a piece of meat in the other, where Dexter is taking his dose of Vitamin D and is ready for his lunch. She keeps the bucket down, gives me a witty glance and starts patting Dex. Those twinkling eyes were definitely hiding something mischievous. Oh BTW Dex (my dog), she and I live in a wood house in the suburbs of Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh.

Minutes later she deceptively sends me back inside the house to fetch some more bones for Dex. As I walk back adjusting my Bandar topi(which covers my mid 50’s grey hair and also protects me from the extreme cold) I see coloured crew necks hanging on the clothesline and the empty bucket  with some suds left ,in her hand. Now that was something unusual. I hadn’t worn these colours in years. With her intensifying sensual smile, I suspected something good in store for me. But didn’t know it was this big a surprise that’ll take me to cloud 999. I was on my toes, as she revealed the mystery.  No doubt the love of my life was holding the bucket of my dreams. The dreams that I had lived were in front of my eyes. Every tee had a name written at its back. The names of places, which I had added in my bucket-list in my 20s once and were, now ticked off my list.

With every revelation, she used different body gestures and expressions. There she flips the first one that says #Melbourne. She had that naughty smile that evidently stated “I wasn’t there…”Yes! That was the time before she even entered my life during my early 20s. Boxing day test on the Melbourne Cricket Ground it was. It is the same ground where Trevor Chappell had once bowled underarm. Australia V/s England and the Englishmen fighting like the warriors in 300 to take the urn back. It was an all boys tour with my bros from college and school all the way to Australia. MCG with a close to 1 Lakh attendance on the final day had something epic in store for us .Mitchell Johnson blew everyone away with his fiery fifer spell that humiliated the English. Being food freaks, after the game we tried our luck at the Master Chef’s kitchen and had the food of our lives.

Wasn’t that a fun trip? She asks. Yes Madame is the reply that she gets .The slideshow proceeds. The moment she flips the second one, she starts blushing and I automatically figure out that she would be saying #London. And that is exactly what happened. How can we both forget that place? What Aamir Khan did in Dil Chahta Hai, I gave an exact replica of that .On my knees and YESS! In front of The Lords, the Mecca of cricket I had proposed her. This is my personal favourite cricket stadium .The place has been the venue for some of the greatest matches including the finals of world cups of 75, 79, 83 and 99 with 83 one being ultra special. A charming smile appears on my jaw lines with an instant feeling to kiss her, but I prefer to save it for the finale and I end up giving her a flying one.

This series of surprises was the best of the lot that I had got till now .I wasn’t the only one pumped up; Dex was also in the league. His wagging tail justified the emotions equally every time a shirt was flipped. As she moved towards the next twist, I could make out with her gestures that #Kolkata was coming. And there she says Kolkata in a complaining voice. I still remember that day when I showed her my bucket list featuring Kolkata and all she wanted me was to convince her why would we go to this place of all the places…I’ll make fish for you at home was all she said. I answered the three words-The Eden Gardens. Established in 1864 with close to 90,000 capacities and is regarded as one of the most hostile grounds in the world. Rewind your brain cells a way back to 1996 India Sri Lanka WC semi final. You’ll get the context of the word hostile. The ground till date holds an integral part of my heart. My favourite cricketer Rahul Dravid along the likes of VVS had played an exceptional knock during my childhood, that match is still my favourite match till date. Obviously that had to be there in the list. Upar se in early 30’s jab EMIs ke saath biwi ki daant ho more, Aur Biwi  maange videshi New Zealand ka tour Toh Queenstown hi ho jaaye Eden town. Oh Queenstown by the way is a beautiful picturesque set amidst the Remarkables Mountains in New Zealand. The stadium is a deadly combination of scenic beauty and the sport. The deal proved to be fruitful when she got to meet Shahrukh Khan at the stadium. We indeed had a remarkable trip.

That moment when you don’t want your favourite series to end and you end up watching it at a slow pace, with the similar ideology I decided to suppress the butterflies in my stomach and a tea break was taken. I made her a strong ginger flavoured one and we both sipped tea in saucer with that sudak sudak-sound while Dex was busy circling around the rope.

It was time for the final showdown, the last name to be revealed. The moment that red tee was turned, we both winked at each other. It said #Johannesburg We both had crossed our 40’s.A much awaiting break in the second half of our lives it was! A getaway from the responsibilities or in a sweeter context it was our second honeymoon .Known for its high chasing games and the bull architecture The Wanderers still continues to be in my top 5 list. I remember I was dressed up like a cool Hawaiian guy (like Sgt. Batista from Dexter), chilling throughout with a mug of Castle beer in one side and my love by the other. She also loved the non cricket part of the tour to a great extent – the diamonds. I bought her diamonds on the drive to Cape Town for another game at Newlands.

I don’t know how she manages to bear me. Hats off to her! Without any iota of interest in cricket she has travelled with me to these places without complaining except for the Kolkata one. I love her even more for that. I guess this is called as true love.

I get a little closer to her. I can feel her warmth. She then hugs me and whispers “You freak! Tell me honesty were you expecting a fifth one saying #Dharamshala for you.” It is there though .Look what Dex is wearing. That truly was the happiest moment of my life. Dharamshala undoubtedly is the most exotic cricket venue in the world. Located at a close to 4000 feet above sea level in the vicinity of Tibetan monasteries, amidst the great Himalayas the place draws its attention for its snowy peaks, deodar and pine forests, tea gardens and beautiful hills. And this is the heavenly place where we both decided to grow old together. Being avid readers we both spend majority of times reading and writing. She calls me Ruskin Bond at times when I write something good. I grab her by her waist and kiss her gently to say I love you .As the sun sets Dex jumps onto me. The three of us go inside and cut our 25th marriage anniversary cake.

With a knock on the door, I get back from my Shangri La. I sit quietly and ponder what if it was a realisation, not a dream.