19 th July 6 am
Color Code – Pink
I woke up at 6 am and I could hear great deal of laughter and I guess it was Archana’s voice ! I wanted to sleep longer , but the kitchen was quite close to our room and since the South Indian Team was cooking I could hear the sound of the cooker whistles. I was keen to learn their Satvik spread but realized I would get in their way , so just clicked a couple of pics and stepped out of the kitchen.
While these girls were cooking we all sat on the dining table and had some toasts . Varada had got some mix which tasted delicious on toasts . She did get a couple of these bottles and asked us to share , but with so much hush push , I completely forgot ! We had some caramel saved from the cake spreads – Valli feasted on it ! Caramel is a favourite with me too , but I didn’t want to indulge into any such thing which would spoil my appetite for the lovely spread our friends were preparing .Since we had planned a chat party for evening , I decided to prepare the different types of water which had to be served in the evening .
The South Indian Team wanted to serve the meal in a particular manner , so we had to change some furniture arrangements . All was set , and then walk in our three beautiful ladies dressed in their traditional attire . Wow ! What a sight ! So elegant !
Everyone sat on the floor and The Iyengar Spread was served on a banana leaf , our beautiful hosts served the meal , some of us used the dining table . I wish I could remember the complete menu , but whatever was served on the banana leaf was a complete treat for me . I finished everything , without wasting a grain . Thank you Veena , Sandhya , Priya Sri , Gayathri and Priya Suresh . We had invited Usha’s cousin and my nieces for lunch . Before the meal was served , the team adorned our hair with flowers . Once the meal was completed they gave us gifts . I was totally mesmerized , what a lovely culture .
A session on editing videos by Usha .
For the September Mega Marathon Valli had given Sakinalu as one of the mandatory snacks . Since I had so many doubts , we requested Usha to ask her mom and aunt to give us a demonstration . Well , even after a demo , I felt it would be hard for us to make it – Sakinalu needs lots of practice ! I had a good mind to pick some of these which Usha had got and click pics , but finally we decided to change the snack .
After this Amaara gave us a demo of the Mango pickle , and Mango Ice Cream . Apparently they have huge Mango farms and the variety of Mangoes is to die for ! She had got us the pulp as well as the ice cream which had no sugar . This Mango ice cream was one of the best ice creams I have had till date ! Thanks Amaara ! The Mangoes and your hospitality will surely pull me to Hyderabad during summers .
Next on the agenda was the Five Flavored Pani Poori . I am a huge fan of these and except for the Delhi Meet I have prepared them in every meet . I loved serving them just like the pani poori wala Bhaiya ! The different flavours were Hajma Hazam , Jeera , Lassan , Regular and Fruit . Hazma Hazam as always is a total hit . Everyone was so full with this that we had to put away the ragda pattice in the frig and drop the idea of making Jhal Moori which was our original plan . We packed the left over waters for Amaara ‘s family .
As we finished packing and Amaara left , we heard the bell . Usha’s cousin Rama had come in in the afternoon with gifts for all and in return we had given her a saree . As we opened the door , we saw Rama wearing the saree we had gifted her . Wow ! This took us all for a surprise and I really admired the zeal of this lady . She had come to invite us for breakfast to her restaurant .
Later we all played some games that Preeti had organised , Preeti is perhaps the youngest in the group and typically Haryanvi , very sweet and bubbly girl .
As we were about to retire we could hear the sound of the rain pitter patter! All of us ran to enjoy . I love rains and love to get soaked in it , but with my leg issue can’t do those tantrums ! Veena took me out and we did a small rain dance – these are all the silly things we did as kids , right ?
Pakoras have always been associated with rain and Preeti immediately went to the kitchen to serve us some hot Pakoras at 2 am ! I don’t know who all made them , but I thoroughly enjoyed them with a slice of bread and some pickle . Thanks Preeti ! You surely made some yum yum Pakodas ! Preeti’s baby is just 3 years old and she calls him yum yum Divyam . So cute !
Time to retire ! But wait let’s see what Valli is asking this sculpture ?
20 th July
Color code – Blue !
After the heavy rains last night , the weather had become hot and humid . We got ready and got in the cars sent by Rama. We reached Mint Leaf . This was the restaurant which belonged to Usha’s cousin Rama , the lady who was so loving and active . She had arranged for breakfast which was so authentic and delicious . Dosa’s , Button Idli , Button Vada Sambar , steamed Dosa with Caramel sauce and much more ! After following a specific diet , my appetite has gone down and I was barely able to eat 1/2 a dosa .
After that we took some group pics , looked around the restaurant kitchen . We looked around their bakery too . Ah ! This made me nostalgic , I immediately recollected my own restaurant . It’s been just two years since we gave away the hotel .
Next we took a drive on the Necklace View Road . We stopped to take some pictures and then headed for Charminar . Hyderabad is associated with Charminar. It’s a busy area , very crowded and one can barely walk around . All the same we walked into some pearl shops . Some of them bought them , but I was looking for something really exclusive , perhaps I didn’t find the right shop .
While the girls were in the shops , some of us were outside and we saw street vendors selling Hyderabadi mini samosas . Rs 10 for 5 samosas . I was skeptical about their oil , but picked one pack , the samosas were excellent and vanished in minutes . Once the girls came out we bought more and more – everyone loved them .
In spite of the area being so crowded we walked to the Lad Bazar , a bazar famous for bangles . The shops were full of a variety of bangles , and very pretty ones . I wish I could buy them all . Once upon a time my wrists were always full of these . I remember my mil saying – you can open a shop ! The bustling place had vendors selling so many knick knacks .
A visit to Nimrah Bakery at Charminar is a must . They serve oven fresh biscuits and puffs , and the owner is such a wonderful person . He took the girls around to show the bakery and the making of Irani Chai . The hot weather was killing us and some of us were feeling drained , we decided to head back after drinking a good Nariyal Paani.
Back at the villa , Pavani ‘s family came to see us . It was wonderful meeting them , but I left with Amaara for some shopping . I picked some outfits for my hubby and a couple of kurtis for myself .
Back at the villa the Bread Baking was in full form . Varada is our bread queen ! She bakes excellent breads and had got a dry sourdough starter . She activated it and planned to make a variety of breads . Her team had Ritu , Ruchi , Gayathri , Sowmya, Archana . Now these breads were our dinner and I made some Bhaji to go with it . Ruchi was sweet enough to pre prep everything for me . Everyone loved the Bhaji , but unfortunately we went short on it ! We had ragdas from the previous day which were then served . The South Indian team cooked some rice and enjoyed curd rice .
Later in the night we played some games and then we distributed the prizes to the winners . The Prize distribution was a hilarious scene as Preeti kept saying – Let’s give the namkeens as prizes , and when it came to giving her a prize we picked a packet of boondi ! She refused to accept , finally after lot of persuasion she accepted only to dedicate the prize to the Princi ! We all were in peels of laughter , we were holding our stomachs, our jaws and cheek bones ached .
No one wanted to retire , but it was time to pack and say Goodnight !
I shall come back tomorrow to tell you about our last day celebrations .