I have had the good fortune to come across some very big hearted hosts over my ten years at Mumbai. I had some lovely times at their houses or clubs and at times at restaurants. They would really make one feel at home and comfortable. Times just flies when you are with them. And the food just keeps coming.
And its not easy to have people over at Mumbai. Houses here are tiny. Schedules are cazy and you spend a better time of your life on the road.Restaurants are expensive and full. Distances are killing. So I really admired and appreciated these people for their hospitality.
I must admit that we couldn't return the favour for ages.
We lived in a couple of tiny apartments after we got married. I would want to call people over but we could rarely fit them in. I did have some of my office colleagues over to our house at times. We were quite cramped as we sat together and watched cricket or football matches over juice and pizza and biriyani. I had a set of very 'good boys' in my team. My other option was to take people Oh Calcutta but you can't really spread out in a restaurant for long.
We rented a larger place at the beginning of this year. Since then I have been trying to catch up on lost times. We have had a few small get togethers with friends here.
These are planned at times and at times impromptu. We initially started by ordering stuff - fish chops, luchi and kosha chicken from our Bengali caterer, dhansak and patrani machhi from Elphinstone club, Chicken cutlets from Snack Shack, Lebanese and Chinese from the local joints - Maroosh and Asianwok, sweets from Sweet Bengal and Brownies from Brownie Cottage.
While food is the easy part as most of ou friends have simialr food preferences and most are non vegetarian. But one does have to figure our booze preferences as we don't have a stocked bar at home. But shops like Judes and Deepaks at Pali, Bandra, have everything and are open late into the night.
Parsi stuff - dhnasak, farcha and patrani machhi from Elphinstone Club
Kheer Kodom from Sweet Bengal
A strong favourite for lunch given the heat this year
But the last time was a real landmark. I hit the kitchen in the best traditions of the Karmakars (my dad often used to cook for hoards of folks in England and Iran) and made Bengali dishes such as kosha mangsho, alu posto, fish curry. I was a bit nervous as I had always cooked for two and hadn't cooked for 5,6 people before. But from what I gather it went off pretty well if I can say so.
Rui kaalia, alu posto, kosha mangsho
Of course none of this would be possible if Kainaz didn't play along and in the process discovered her starter of cheese and grapes.
And if our maid Banoo wasn't there to clean up the dishes without a complain or chop stuff for me when I cook.
While the intent is important, it is important to have a good back up team. And I am quite good at delegation :)
There are lot of things which are nice about our new place - the greenery around us, the big tree outside our drawing room, the spare room, the airiness, the sense of space which I have never had at Mumbai ... but I guess nothing makes for great times like having great friends over.