Mumbai Memoir 40- Rendezvous with Powai!
Bright Sunday October mornings in Mumbai are usually lethargic and lazy. The blazing hot and humid climate of Mumbai during October plays spoil sport to the spirit of a Mumbaikar, who wants to make the best of the weekend. Last Sunday I was thinking about my plans and after a lot of brainstorming I decided to go for a Sunday morning exploration around the city and check out a place that’s within the city but has a unique natural flavour of its own. The ignition of my car engine also ‘ignited’ within me the desire to visit an area called Powai. Earlier I use to just swiftly pass it while commuting by my car. But last Sunday I actually decided to soak the Powai juices and feel its morning air. Powai is geographically located in the central most part of Mumbai. It connects the Eastern and Western suburbs of Mumbai. Besides its ‘pivotal’ location the vibrance of Powai is felt when one notices the various ‘genres’ of activities that happen on a normal working day, and also on weekends. As one approaches Powai from the Western Express highway end, the most striking feature that one notices is its lake. When I strolled near the lake area, a tranquil feeling stabilized my senses. The quite waters in front of me and the occasionally zooming of fast vehicles behind me defined Powai’s essence altogether. It’s the best place in Mumbai to see Mother Nature having a harmonious rendezvous with jet speed urban life of Mumbai! The promenade and green patches built besides the lake are well maintained by the civic bodies where kids, youth, couples and elderly enjoy with enthusiastic fervour.
Just as you drive further from the lake, one notices a high security campus wall of Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay (IIT-B) that touches the main road. It’s a government funded premier educational institution which was established in 1958. It’s dedicated to nurture the best brains of India in the areas of Engineering and Socials Sciences. Besides enjoying the greenery and the lake’s ambiance, the students of IIT-B have their own social eco-system. To bring out the holistic best among students activities related to hostel life, tech and music fests, workshops, conferences and seminars, keep the 550 sq ft (2.2 kms) campus buzzing throughout the year. For more info about the institution: http://www.iitb.ac.in/ http://www.iitb.ac.in/en/about-iit-bombay
Recently I had visited the campus from within when my friend Sushma R was taking up a short course there. We hanged all over the campus and later dinned at a unique restaurant that was named ‘Mirchi & Mime’. As I passed by the restaurant last Sunday, I got nostalgic of my August’15 visit there. The most unique feature of the restaurant is that the waiters employed at the restaurant are all hearing impaired. They are well-trained and are sharp to pick up the communication of their guests. This concept restaurant just doesn’t feed the stomach of their guests but also feeds their soul by creating respect for the hardworking waiters. The guest has to adjust and get customized to the sign language that the waiter knows and only then can they place an order. After entering the restaurant, the dynamics of the sign language used for ordering is briefly explained by a manager (who is not hearing impaired). Using the sign language we had ordered ‘Kothimbirwadi’ (a Maharashtrian starter dish) and custard pie. It was indeed a humbling experience to see deep sense of pride and reflection of high self esteem radiating from every waiter who was serving at the restaurant. The restaurant’s promotional tagline is ‘Good food served quietly!’, which expresses the theme of the restaurant very well. More about the restaurant here: http://mirchiandmime.com/our-story/
This restaurant is situated in the Hiranandani Gardens township of Powai. The township is the most ‘happening’ area of Powai that’s spread over 250 acres of land. The model of the township is the first of its kind in Mumbai city. Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani is the mastermind of the architectural model and is the Managing Director of Hiranandani Group of Companies. There are residential areas, corporate parks, food joints and organized shopping areas on the lines of a U.S city centre. Many American and European ex-pats prefer living here as it’s a well-organized township which suits their needs. Having visited the U.S in 2010, I could see the resemblance between a typical U.S city’s downtown feel and that of Hiranandani Garden township. Especially the neo-classical architectural resemblance is strikingly similar. For a glimpse into Hiranandani Gardens township here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnXboGDQtAg
As I strolled on the sidewalks of the roads out there, my mind was getting confused of my geographical location. But the October heat that set in at noon reminded me of being in Mumbai! As I headed home, I realized that inspite of the heat, my rendezvous with Powai made my Sunday more special!
Photo credits: Sushma R and Shraddha C. Sankulkar. *Special Thanks to Sushma R for sharing her photographs.