Thursday, October 25, 2012
I watch a Program on NDTV India International Channel called "Highway on My Plate" and it features these two crazy guys called Rocky and Mayur who roam the length and breadth of India sampling the Cuisines in the most accessible as well as the remotest areas in India.Today's Episode was based on New Delhi and featured a Shop I've loved and salivated over for my entire Life---Wengers---situated bang in Connought Circus!!!To me this one Shop is what the Taj Mahal Hotel's La Patisserie is to my daughters--a lifetime of wonderful treats!!
Daddy's visits to New Delhi during my childhood meant getting Parcels of the yummy Shami Kababs that Wengers is so famous for.Visits to New Delhi also meant standing in Wengers and eating calorie packed Fresh Cream stuffed Chocolate Eclairs,Pastries and Tarts---all fresh and just made!!The Chicken patties--made with Puff pastry shells stuffed with minced spicy Chicken as well as the yummy,meaty Shami Kababs--crisp on the outside and scrumptiously meaty on the inside tempered generously with Spices and Mint Leaves even today invoke a mouth watering nostalgia!!
Daddy's visits to Delhi during my childhood meant the fabulous Masalas or Spice Powders from Roopak Stores at Ajmal Khan Road in the Karol Baugh area of Old Delhi.This Shop was started by by a family of refugees from the Pakistani Punjab in 1958.Till today their Spices retain the old taste that my tongue remembers from my childhood---and this was one place where Sudhir would lose his cool each time we visited it--for our Luggage weight would rise by a minimum of 3-4 kgs on each trip---and my Freezer would be stuffed with my precious hoard!!!Even today I'm constantly on the look-out for this brand in Mumbai--and snap up the maximum quantity of these whenever and wherever I can.In the 1960s Kusum Atya--Daddy's younger sister lived there and Delhi became a place to visit regularly for us.The sights and smells of the fabulous Delhi "Chaats"--Street Food---still lingers in my mind each time I think bak to that period---so also does my father's naivete in buying stuff at Ajmal Khan Road in good faith--only to discover later that he'd be gypped!!Mummy never let him hear the last of his escapades---even though he surrendered unconditionally to her superior judgement!!
Sudhir used to get Migraines during the early years of our marriage--and because of this I would travel with him each time he needed to go to the Supreme Court in New Delhi.It was during one of our visits there that we discovered a delightful Hotel named "Centre Point" at Barakhambha Road in New Delhi.This was a short walking distance from Connaught Circus and became a favourite place to stay for us.The Centre Point was an old sprawling Bungalow or "Kothi" in old delhi parlance converted into a Hotel.Because of this their Suites were huge with huge Bathrooms--all old fashioned,marbled claw footed Bath Tubs and solid Bronze fittings.The Girls simply loved it when we stayed there in the Winter of 1978----the beautiful old World ambience and the huge Lawns were something they fell in love with at first sight!! Wengers became a regular part of their lives and walking in the chilly evenings to snack on the yummy Pastries and Tarts as well as the fresh,hot Chicken Patties and Shami Kababs became a regular routine for our family each time we visited New Delhi.We all loved Centre Point also for the wonderful taste of the wonderful Punjabi Food it served---eating it sitting on the Lawns was something that turned each well cooked Meal into a Feast!!
During those days we could still carry Food as a part of our Cabin Luggage and the number of times that we flew back home to Bombay with Cakes,Puddings,Pastries,Tarts,
Patties and Kababs from Wengers as well as large Containers of Roghan Josh and Mutton Biryani from Centre Point are innumerable.Today the Security Staff at the Airport would confiscate any such Item as soon as they'd cast their eyes on it!!
New Delhi holds a host of Memories for us as a family for we spent many Winter Vacations and also parts of the Summer Vacations there.For me New Delhi has held a very special place in my heart and has been a part of my childhood and later my married life as well.This is a place that holds a lot of beautiful Memories--and a large part of my life is still somewhere connected to it because of this!!