About sudhagee

I write about this, that, here, there and everywhere... Come, explore my world through my blog, my Facebook page, on Twitter and on Instagram.

Restaurant Review: Just Bing’g’e

I am a lazy foodie, in the sense, that while I’m very happy to try out new types of food and check out new eateries, I am rarely willing to travel for the sake of food. I’m quite content exploring places near my house or office that keep popping up regularly. I make it a point to at least drop in once just to see what a new eatery is like.

Restaurant Review, Just Binge, Just Bing'g'e Vashi, Nuvofoodies, New Love In TownThat’s what should have happened when Just Bing’g’e opened in Vashi. I can’t remember where I heard about /came across Just Bing’g’e, but I decided not to go there, even though it was fairly close to my place.

The reason was not related to the food being served, but to the way “Bing’g’e” was spelt. The extra ‘g’ and the inverted commas around it set my teeth on edge. Consider me old-fashioned or boring (in addition to the aforementioned lazy), but I’ve never been able to understand or appreciate ‘creative’ spellings just because it sounds good or seems different or unique. I generally ignore/avoid places, things and sometimes even people with such creative spellings.

Just Bing’g’e got relegated to that category and would have remained there if not for an invite from Pooja of Nuvofoodies for a bloggers’ roundtable or a tasting at Just Bing’g’e. I did cringe when I saw the extra ‘g’ again, but the warm and personal invite from Pooja won me over, and that’s how ended up I visiting Just Bing’g’e in Vashi one evening last month.
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Travel Shot: The Pandava Temple at Lohargal

Around this time last year, I visited Lohargal in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan in search of a stepwell. I found the stepwell or Chetan Das ki Baoli, And along the way also stumbled upon a temple dedicated to the Pandavas, with a very interesting story attached to it.

The Pandava temple (shrine would actually be a more appropriate word) is on one side of the narrow pathway that leads to the main and ancient temple, dedicated to the sun. I would not have given this shrine, whose walls are covered with subway tiles, a second look if the priest hadn’t called out to me and told me to stop. I did out of politeness and was glad that I did for I had never seen or heard of a Pandava temple in worship till then.

Lohargal, Shekhawati, Rajasthan. Travel, Pandavas, Mahabharata

Krishna flanked by Yudhishtra and Arjuna

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Museum Treasure: Silk Money of Khorezm

Q: What does a country do if there is a shortage of paper to print currency?

A: No problem. They print currency on a material they have in abundance.

When the rulers of Khiva of the Khorezm Province in Uzbekistan faced paper shortage at the beginning of the 19th century, they turned to a material they had in abundance —Silk, which was used to print currency of large denominations

Silk Money, Khorezm, Uzbekistan, Museum Exhibit

Silk Money or currency printed on silk

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Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

2015 has been a strange year, a tad surreal even.

It has been a year of fulfilling long-held dreams, exciting travel experiences, great perspective shifting books read, poor health thanks to my allergies, unexpected happiness and loss, achievements and opportunities lost, friends made and lost… among others. But most of all it has been a year of serendipity. A year where attending an event led me to take a decision that I now know has enriched my life in immeasurable ways and has imperceptibly changed it too.

On January 25, 2015, I attended a session on “Why a Library of Classical Indian Literature?” at the Jaipur Literature Festival, which had Sheldon Pollock as a speaker. I chose to attend this for two reasons — (ii) my niece had a lot of good things to say about Pollock’s writings, and (ii) the idea of a library of classical Indian literature was intriguing. To say that the session was great and Sheldon Pollock inspiring is a huge understatement, but what it did was to rekindle a desire to study classical Indian literature and art in a formal and structured setting.

Back home in Mumbai, I enrolled for the PG Diploma Programme in Indian Aesthetics conducted by Jnanapravaha. (I must add here that I had known about this course for about 2 years and had been dithering over joining it.) Classes began in July and at this point, I’m half-way through the programme. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the programme has raised more questions than given answers that I sought. And I mean this in the best possible way as I think, read and research into Indian Classical Art. In other words, I’m still feeling my way around. :P

That was 2015.

I don’t know what 2016 has in store for me, but I hope that it will be enriching. I begin 2016 with some travel to new destinations, which have been influenced by the programme I’m enrolled in. One of them is Mahabalipuram, which I visited in 1997 at a time when I neither understood its relevance or its beauty. I hope I can do both this time around. Watch this space for more. :)

Mahabalipuram, World Heritage Site, UNESCO, Film Camera, Travel

Mahabalipuram, May 1997. Apologies for the poor quality scanned photograph

Happy New Year, dear friend. Thank you for reading, commenting, writing, sharing, appreciating. Wish you the very best that 2016 has in store.

Before you go, I’d like to know what was the most important event in 2015 for you? And what are you looking forward to the most in 2016? Do share with me in the comments section of this post.

Cheers :)


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3 forts and a dakhma: Exploring a bygone era

Scattered across the vast Karakalpakstan region in the north-western part of Uzbekistan are the remains of many fortified settlements. These fortified settlements or qalas extend into the Khorezm Province in western Uzbekistan as well and also into the neighbouring country of Turkmenistan.

Archaeologists say that these fortified settlements were built over a 1,000 year period with the earliest fortifications making an appearance around 7th century BCE. The qalas, which were constructed from compressed mud or clay bricks, were built in the fertile region created by the Amu Darya delta. It is believed that the number of qalas in the region run into hundreds; however, only about 80 or so have been documented.

Elliq Qala, Karakalpakstan, Khorezm, Heritage, Monuments of Uzbekistan

I visited 2 qalas in the region — Toprak and Ayaz — and saw a third (Gyaur) from a distance, after visiting Mizdakhan and on my way to Khiva. I also made an arduous climb (my knees are still protesting after 3 months) to see the Chilpyk dakhma or Tower of Silence, but more on that later.

To travel through a vast area in a single day, see these intriguing bits of history scattered about in a desolate and barren land was quite an experience. Continue reading

The photographs in the envelope

It was close to noon sometime last week. I was at work and wrestling with some pending bills, my least favourite task in the world.

“The morning mail’s here and there’s a packet for you,” announced G, my office assistant as she came into my room and handed a medium-sized envelope to me.

“Personal or official?” I asked, glad for the distraction.

“I think it is personal,” said G as she turned to leave.

“It is. And I know what’s inside too,” I said when I saw the return address on the envelope. “Go, get the others. I think all of you will like to see this.”

Within minutes my office team had gathered gathered around my table and the envelope had been cut open and its contents spread on the table — lots and lots of photographs of my family, many of which I was seeing for the first time.

Photos, memories, stories, Black and White

“So many photographs!” exclaimed a team member. “Someone in your family must have been very fond of photography.”

As we went through the photographs, I told them of the two photographers in the family who had taken the bulk of the photos. I also shared the memories and stories behind the ones I could recognise, and how the photographs in the envelope came to be sent to me.

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