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The way people from across religions get excited about the Iftar food on offer in Mumbai during Ramzan makes me strongly believe that food is the great leveller.
In my last walk at Bohri Mohalla there were Hindus, Christians, Muslims, folks who have moved into Mumbai from the US, Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore and local Mumbaikars, including a vegetarian. All united by the love of food.
All welcomed whole heartedly by the kind folks of Bohri Mohalla.
I always feel very emotional about my walks in Bohri Mohalla. This is where I had done my first Finely Chopped Walk and returning here is always very special for me. When I see the smiles on the familiar faces of Bohri Mohalla I feel that the kind folks here have adopted me as one of their own.
Last Saturday I did a Ramzan walk at Bohri Mohalla. A day after I returned from Prague battling jetlag and a blister on my foot, both of which were completely forgotten thanks to the wonderful time I had there and the adrenalin rush.
I got my fifteen minutes of fame when I settled my bills at Ba-b-que and the young gentleman, who had saved khiris and botis for us, looked up, smiled and said “finely chopped”.
Or when Mr Abdullah of Vallibhai Payawallah said, “aap kaha the, main soch main admi yeh saal nehin aya” (where were you, I was wondering where was our main man this year) as he made place for our group of 14 despite the crowds.
We happily dug into searing hot slow cooked nihari, pichhota and paya here.
Then there is the gentle Hatim uncle who smiled indulgently as we sat at Taj ice creams and introduced each other in the group over some splendid sitafal ice cream.
The khiri or cows udders at Bar- B – Que was a show stopper as always. K calls it the Indian foie gras. Andrew, who has had it at Nizam’s in Kolkata like me, agreed that the khiri is better herd.
The guys at Salman’s in the pulao gulley opposite Noor Sweets were gobsmacked when our group walked in and asked for beef (bade) pulao. A dish everyone had to eat with their hands and loved.
Then there were the guys at India Hotel earnestly and energetically serving us chicken Karachi rolls, Burma Baida rotis, bheja masalas and lip smacking potatoes fried in beef tallow.
And of course the uncle at Tawakkal Sweets who smiled and said it was not required when I offered to give an advance for the goody bags of sutarfeni that I ordered before the walk started. He knew I would be back and back we were to end our evening with indulgent malpuas, firnis and rabdi.
If ever I needed a welcome back to Mumbai then Bohri Mohalla gave me one.
Do read a couple of lovely blog posts on the walk.
Serena Ansari, who came for the walk, writes about connecting with her roots through it here and trying everything on offer
Jyotika Purwar writes here on the walk and puts up some great pictures
This is where Jean Spraker writes about the walk and brings in her own inimitable perspective to it