3 weeks in, and my experience (and stomach) are telling me that the universal love language of India must be food.
Top food moments of the week
This week I was very fortunate to have a colleague I work with buy me lunch. The meal was delicious dosa (with cheese on this occasion); a dosa is like a crepe made from rice and lentil batter, and this day’s treat was served with samba, an Indian lentil stew. The next meal worthy of an honourable mention was the Bombay sandwich. To this day, I’m not sure of all the ingredients; however, to the best of my ability, I think it was a mix of tomatoes, onion, a potato patty thing, green chutney, masala, and cheese. I recommend this tasty sensation which can be enjoyed from local street vendors or the famous Leopold cafe (a restaurant that still has bullet holes in the walls from the 2008 Mumbai attacks). The third food of the week was a pistachio snickers, more of a shout-out to my sister back home in NZ (don’t worry, I’ve already packed some in my luggage). It is a sweet but salty chocolatey treat and surprisingly the same price as a regular snickers.
Lassis of the week included a saffron cardamom lassi 9/10; the thickness was superb, almost too yoghurt thick but not entirely; the addition of pistachio nuts was a delightful texture addition, and the cardamom and saffron tasted divine with an air of wealth and luxury in each sip. The second up was a banana lassi 6.5/10; now, don’t get me wrong, she was a good drink, with suitable thickness, and great fresh banana flavour. However, it felt like a banana smoothie and needed a more lassi vibe for me personally. Finally was, the rose lassi a 6/10; a great on-the-go option and always handy to have in one’s bag as a source of calcium, but I found the rose flavouring a little too sickly sweet; thus think it could be improved with a lower flavour profile.
An ode to the Queen of sweets. Our PMSA group was utterly blessed to have a magical individual within our group who could sense, smell, and locate a sweet shop within any place we visited. This week’s magical finds included Ghee treats from Colaba causeway, brownies from somewhere near Fort, and the best of all, ras malai from Bandra.
The challenge of the week: I was returning home on the train from my internship in Govandi one evening, and to my surprise, the train changed the direction of travel mid-journey. Backing up the story a bit: I travelled from work to the station with a colleague, and we were chatting the whole time until I got onto what I thought was my train. Later I realised (a little too late) that I had jumped onto a train that converted from the Harbour line to the Central line. As I was busy listening to music and people-watching, it took 5 stops in the wrong direction for me to realise what I had done. As a result of my error, I needed to jump into a peak commute train to get home. Luckily made it safe and sound and was rewarded with a purple CSMT station when I made it to my destination.
A few fun things from the work week included working in the pharmacy, where I was pleasantly surprised to find out that ibuprofen is bright orange here. I also got to join the immunisation program team on a vaccination camp for children. The blue boxes keep the vaccines cold as we journey via the work ambulance from the Lallubhai base to the Mandala camp that had been set up for the day. Finally, I felt truly honoured to be involved with the Doctors for you Lallubhai compound women’s blessing day; I received many blessings from my coworkers and enjoyed dancing and celebrating with them through the afternoon.
Come Friday, it was adventure time. I was on the evening flight team, and sometime after 10pm (delays galore), we left Mumbai and headed for the capital city of New Delhi. Landed and headed to the hotel to cram in 4 hours of sleep before jumping on a big bus with the whole PMSA team to drive the 3 hours to Agra.
The first stop was the Red Fort of Agra. To my surprise, it was so large that we walked around the Fort for hours and could have easily stayed for many more hours to explore. The deep rich colour of the red brick is so warm and inviting, and the intricate areas made of marble and stones within the Forts walls are breathtaking. Then it was time to quickly check in at our hotel and prepare for the main event.