The four-course meal


Soup of information:
From the news: All 10-year old-diesel cars were being penalised in Delhi because of a mandate imposed by the National Green Tribunal.

Salad of emotions:
I was going to Mumbai over the weekend. It was a Thursday evening. My previous experience of snail-paced cars stuck in the chaos of  no-traffic-rules-for-us section of people plus the customary everyday evening traffic made me think that I should book a cab 2.5 hrs in advance when it would normally take me less than an hr to reach the Delhi airport.

Ingredients:
1. Panic: I literally called 10 different cabs from both Uber and Ola cabs (a budding cab service in India, for those of you who are’t aware of it), and none of them were ready to go to Delhi because of the penalty. Half an hr passed. I was so clueless, I called a friend of mine who asked me to try Meru cabs.
2. Enlightenment: I used to book Meru earlier but once the more inexpensive cab services came into existence, I totally forgot about this old friend who used to burn a big hole in my pocket. These are the times when you realise that panic can make your mind go totally blank and these are also the times when you re-realise how much more important time is than money.
3. Patriotism: Yes, this is a Random ingredient (like the mouth freshener in the pasta that we cooked a couple of weeks ago). On my way, I saw the Indian flag flying high in the wind, with all the pride that the country held in itself. Whenever I saw the flag earlier, there was no wind, and this was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a very long time.
4. Gratefulness: To the fact that everyone in Gurgaon (this is where I am right now) is not as bad as the city is portrayed to be, and to how you receive help when you really need it. The normal route I take to the airport is usually overflowing with traffic, but the cab driver took a different route when he understood that I was in half-hurry-half-panic mode. This was important because 1. He knew the other route, when most of the cab drivers in Gurgaon do not know the basic routes as well; 2. He was nice enough to assure me that I’ll reach on time; and 3. For the safe ride I had in Meru in a route I did not know in a city which is supposedly very unsafe.
5. Relief: This is when I reached the airport before time. Because it’s nice to have some extra time on hand for food before you board the flight.

Main course:

Lonavala: This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen till now. Partly because it was picturesque, partly because I was longing to see a patch of 100 per cent nature after having looked at only multi-storeyed buildings and long stretches of cars at traffic signals lined up like school children in the morning assembly everyday. On the way to Lonavala from Mumbai I came across green patches, pretty tunnels and narrow paths lined with huge rocks filled with leaves and branches on both sides of the road,  and I was so taken aback by the magnificence of certain parts of this path, that I never bothered to click a picture. Because there are certain things in life which cannot be captured in 2D. Note that there was a background music running in my head to add a special effect to the whole scene.
Well, there are these parts of nature which you can sit and watch for hours and still not get bored, and then you think it doesn’t hurt to stand up for 2min and take a picture. This is when I realised that fresh air and wind that ruffled your hair still existed in the country, and it could never wade its way past concrete buildings and toxic gases released by vehicles in metropolitan cities. This lake in the picture below is called the Pawna Lake, the part of nature I talked about till now. There was a time when I could see sunlight peeping through the clouds and reflecting on the lake like a line, the color of diamonds, when the rest of the lake was a dull grey. This picture here is not that although, because it was too beautiful to be captured by a camera.

Pawna Lake, Lonavala

Sunset! I couldn’t see the sun because it was too cloudy, but probably the clouds made it more beautiful than the normal sunset. Can’t explain more than the picture below does:

Sunset, Lonavala

Cut – Next Scene: Mumbai

Dessert:

Candies: If I’ve seen an entire minion collection of desserts, it is only in this place. Yes, when I said dessert, I meant dessert literally, not figuratively, like the other three courses of the meal, because, well, it’s dessert! I won’t explain more than the fact that it had great food, because 1. I’m not writing a review, and 2. It’s a great place to go to.

<Contentedness>

Inspiration: Mumbai – Lonavala – Mumbai.

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