Apr 13, 2008

South Indian Food Joints in Mumbai

The Rice Boat
Aram Nagar, 2 JP Road,Versova, Andheri (west)

Meal for 2: Rs 900

Signature DishesVegetable toran, kottayam duck surry, fish allepy curry

Fairly small and just two year old restaurant is Malayali to the core, with waiters in traditional mundu and jubba, offering you tomato rasam or buttermilk.

Aiyappa Food Stall
Opposite Bhajan Samaj Temple in Matunga.
Meal for 2: Rs 100

Signature dishesUpma, Mysore masala palak dosa.

Largely popular among working population in Matunga, this place does not serve the typical Udipi sambar -- it is thicj and tangy with no jaggery in it. However, he has adopted to serve dosa with cheese toppings and packing them in butter paper.

Popular Punjabi Dhabas in Mumbai

punjabi dhaba food mumbai ethinicFirangi Dhaba
9 Remi Bizcourt,Veera Desai Road, Andheri (w)26743232/26744444
Meal for 2: Rs 500 - 1000

Signature Dishes
Sarso da Saag, dal shahi bukhara, prawns achari tikka, sabzi diwan-e-khaas

This dhaba offers a wide variety in seating choices from a shamiana -- low lying four settees enclosed by decorative door curtains. You also have a cart or autorickshaw turned into a table for two. The place also has a dholwala who plays every half hour and even does a bhangra on request. Walls are adorned with old filmi posters and neon signboards.

Chawla da dhaba
Link Plaza shopping complex,Oshiwara, Andheri (west)26322323/26342323
Meal for 2: Rs. 250 - 500

Signature Dishes
chicken dhaniya adraki, punjabi kadhi, punjabi kofte, makai ki roti and sarso ka saag

A few patiala pegs down and the guests join the bhangra dancers at the corner courtyard of this modern dhaba. Besides the usual Punjabi elements -- charpoys, munde, and Patiala peg -- waiters in colorful lungis break into bhangra every hour. fifteen pickles to choose from, colorful kites and bangles, cycles and drums. The Punjabi kheer and jalebis are the favorite desserts.

Kake da dhaba
Centre point hotel, TTC industrial area,Turbhe, Vashi, Navi Mumbai27683311/27683322
Meal for 2: Rs 250 - 500

Signature Dishes
dhaba chicken, punjabi kadhi, macchi amritsari, paneer ropadwala, makai ki roti and sarso ka saag

The front of a real truck greets you at the entrance of this rooftop restaurant. An artificial well, charka and chakki are placed in nooks and corners to complete the semi rural look. The place has three eight seater sections called Parivar and an enclosed low seating sections called bhetak. The one liter brass glass of lassi and open kitchen are popular.

New Smart Cards at Mumbai Suburban Railways.

Mumbai local railway fare can now be purchased at the vending machines at the stations using a new smart card. This is not the western style card that lets passengers onto the trains. It is a step towards taking cash out of the equation.

Apr 12, 2008

P L Deshpande

Mumbai's leading poet, playwright and philanthropist might serve as an opening approximation of P. L. Deshpande's place in Marathi culture, but only if it were followed by a string of such qualifications as comedian, singer, musician, raconteur, screenwriter, film director, translator, actor and author of enough books to fill this space with their titles alone. He was known as "Mr Multi-Media Man" and indeed there was almost no area of popular and intellectual culture within Maharashta that he had not dominated for decades. "Pu La" as he was affectionately known by his Marathi initials was as widely popular as a harmonium player as a movie actor, his comic cassettes were continual best-sellers and his unstinting generosity made him a revered supporter of a range of charities. One way to describe him as India's Woody Allen.

Deshpande, who had been suffering from Parkinson's for the last six years, died in the hospital he had himself inaugurated. He was to be given a full state funeral, an event wisely resisted by his widow, Sunita, as the antithesis of his aesthetic.

PL Deshpande was the first person to produce Indian TV program. He was sent to BBC in 1958 for training for this purpose.

Purushottam Laxman Deshpande was born in Bombay and attended Fergusson College, where he set up a literary circle: "We ran it with complete confidence that the future of Marathi literature rested only in our hands." A typically self-mocking comment which can hardly disguise the fact they were proved right. His love of literature was reflected by the series of public readings of Marathi poetry that he set up with his wife and which became sell-out stadium events.

Deshpande seriously studied the harmonium from a young age and eventually became a leading player, as accompanist for some of India's most fabled singers and also composing his own hits, whether the devotional song "Indrayani Kathi" or the children's number "Naach re mora". Indeed his harmonium tapes were a staple at every Marathi home, where few social gatherings would end without some discussion of Pu La and his activities.

Deshpande made his first film, Kuber, in 1947, in which he was acting and play-back singing; by Mothi Manse in 1949 he created the music; and he spent the next decades on countless movies in which he was either actor, play-back singer, composer, narrator or writer. On his last film, Ek Hota Vidooshak (1993), Deshpande created the screenplay and dialogue.

Perhaps his signature work was the play Batatyachi Chaal about a ramshackle Bombay apartment building, which is one of the few of his works translated into English.

Apr 10, 2008

Parts of Mumbai Metro may be replaced by Monorail

People living on the Mumbai Metro route from Hutatma Chowk to Ghatkopar, a 22-km stretch, may find themselves riding the monorail instead of the Metro.

Planning officials at the MMRDA said the Metro route was being examined for viability. As the area along the route is crowded, the monorail—which is lighter than the Metro and does not take much space either—may find favour with the officials. The other route being examined for monorail viability, instead of Metro, runs from Ghatkopar to Mulund and covers 13 km. Both the routes were part of the Metro masterplan.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), a consultant to Mumbai Metro, is examining the routes in detail. A final decision on whether to have monorail or Metro on the said routes will be taken after the viability check.

MMRDA officials explained that while the monorail is like a large bus, the Metro is a lot bulkier and occupies more space. The monorail, on the other hand, can be built along a crowded road without requiring much space.

The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar section of the Metro is being built by Mumbai Metro One, a consortium jointly owned by Reliance Energy Ltd, MMRDA and a French company called Veolia. The project is being built on private-public partnership. MMRDA planners said financial bids for the monorail would be ready by May 15 and work should start in the next two months. The first couple of routes will run from Wadala to Keshavrao Khade Marg in Byculla and the second one from Chembur to Govandi. The skybus project of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited—to compete with the monorail—was rejected by the planners right at the onset. MMRDA officials said it was done even before the project had a mishap in Goa several years ago. The monorail technology has been used in Japan effectively since 1963 and is a proven system, they said.

The planners said to have a technical consultant for the monorail, they will go in for global tenders as there is no such system in India. For the initial stages of the monorail project, RITES has been used as a general consultant.

Apr 7, 2008

No Honking Day -- World Health Day for Mumbai

No Honking Day Mumbai Apr 7 World Health DayMumbaikars should not be surprised if they find the usually chaotic city roads, bustling with vehicular traffic and honking, peaceful on April 7.

The city police's traffic department has decided to observe a "No Honking Day" on the occasion of World Health Day on April 7 as noise pollution has an impact on the health.

The traffic department, which started the highly successful and widely emulated drive against drunken driving last year, has roped in a host of NGOs, automobile associations, as well as schools and colleges to sensitise over 1.5 million motorists about the campaign.

"The focus is on creating awareness among the people through the campaign. Lowering the decibel levels is not the priority, we have to educate people and still if they persist with honking, punitive action will be taken," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Harish Baijal told PTI here.

Hoardings, banners, posters and stickers carrying information about the campaign have been put across the city, in advance, so that majority of the motorists abstain from honking on that day, he said, adding that they have also tied up with radio stations to promote the message.

The police have taken action against 1,920 motorists since January this year for using pressure/musical/reverse horns, honking in silence zones around hospitals and courts and for unnecessary honking.

Apr 1, 2008

Western Railway Elevated AC trains

The ambitious elevated Churchgate-Virar suburban rail corridor on the Western Railway (WR) for air-conditioned EMUs (Electrical Multiple Units), as proposed by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in his last rail budget, has already hit its first hurdle.

Companies in the fray for the position of Technical Consultant – which carries out the prerequisite feasibility study – have asked the Railways Ministry to give them more time for the study.

Representatives of the firms, who number well over a dozen and are currently bidding for the position, travelled on the 60-kilometre route on Thursday.
According to sources, they then returned to the capital and asked railway officials to up the time limit to a year for completion of the study. That is six months more than the 21 weeks specified for the task by the ministry in a global tender issued on February 29.

The feasibility study would include a master plan for secondfloor level platforms and stations, construction method, schemes for road connectivity, entry and exit to the stations, fly-overs, parking, study of environmental impact, investigation of soil composition and traffic surveys.

“They pointed out that the time given for the feasibility study is very less, and have asked for one year at least,” confirmed S P Vats, Additional Member (Works), Central Railway Board. Vats further revealed that the bidding companies wanted the enormous scope of the study to be reduced in case it was not possible to increase the time limit.

The main reason the railways is pushing ahead with the project is because an elevated corridor adds capacity to an extremely overcrowded transport system without requiring any additional lines alongside existing tracks. It hopes that the air-conditioned EMU services on the elevated corridor ‘will enjoy a robust response’.