Tuesday, May 12, 2015

FOODWALKING – Healthy Exercise For All Ages

Ramblings of a Retired Mind

In my younger days – in school, college and my early days in the Navy – I played active sports for exercise.

Later – my exercise comprised less physically strenuous activities like swimming, jogging, brisk walking/hill climbing etc.

When I crossed my mid-40’s – and landed up in Mumbai 15 years ago  in the year 2000  when I was around 45 years of age – I started my foodwalks”.

I had two foodwalks” a day – one in the morning from 6 to 7:30 – and one in the evening from 5 to 7 

(On Sunday mornings I had a super-long foodwalk” which extended upto 9 or even 10 AM).

These foodwalks” had various stages:

1. First, after a warm up brisk walk, I jogged on Marine Drive for around 3 kms till the end of Chowpatty.

2. This was followed by a brisk walk – on weekday mornings – I would walk back to Stadium Restaurant  at Churchgate for a Bun Maska, Bun Omlette or Kheema Pav and Refreshing Irani Chai – and on Sundays – it was a super-long foodwalk to Noor Mohammadi Hotel near Bhendi Bazar for Nalli Nihari – or to Vinay Lunch Home near Thakurdwar in Girgaum for Misal. 

In the evenings – when I had more time at my disposal – my foodwalks would be more exploratory – I would take new routes every day – and explore new eating places – starting from Colaba and Cuffe Parade in the South – to various places in Central Mumbai like Grant Road, Byculla, Mohd Ali Road, Crawford Market, Girgaum, Kalbadevi, Chowpatty etc wherever my legs would take me.

3. So – it was first a brisk walk – then a “replenishment halt” for food – and after “replenishment halt – it was a leisurely walk back home – fully satiated – and morale high.

Retirement is a big comedown – and my glorious foodwalks” came to an end.

However – I have decided to revive my foodwalks again – and this morning I went on a long foodwalk – culminating in a “frugal” vegetarian breakfast.

During this rather lacklustre foodwalk – I remembered my most memorable foodwalk in Mumbai.

So – let me delve into my Foodie Archives – and pull out this “memoir” for you to read...


I Spent the Six Best Years of My Life in Mumbai – 6 glorious years from the years 2000 to 2006.

During these six best years of my life, I lived in EMPRESS COURT  my all time favourite home – the best house I have ever lived in during my entire life.

I wish I could have had my retirement home in that lovely neighbourhood, or nearby, but then, can an honest naval officer afford a house in South Mumbai?

Maybe a Merchant Navy Officer can afford a house in So Bo (South Bombay) – but if you have spent your life honestly serving the nation in the “Fauji Indian Navy  forget about Mumbai  you will not be able to afford a home in the heart of Pune  and you would probably have to settle down in some faraway suburb like Wakad or Baner or Kharadi  or in one of those military veteran “fauji ghettos” like Mundhwa, Kondhwa or Mohammadwadi where most retired service officers have settled down.

But in your mind’s eye  you can always hark back  and relive your “good old days” with nostalgia. 

That is what I did on this lovely morning – during my foodwalk – I reminisced about my glorious Sunday Morning “Food Walks” in Mumbai.

Let me tell you about my memorable Sunday mornings in Mumbai.


Mouthwatering Memories of an Early Morning Food Walk followed by a Sumptuous Nourishing Breakfast

I love good food.

I am a foodie – I am certainly not a snobbish high-falutin fine-dining foodie – but I would rather describe myself as a simple Trencherman.

As I said, I love good food.

And I love walking around searching for good food. 

So, whenever I get an opportunity, I set off on my frequent food walks searching for good food.

It was in maximum city Mumbai that I enjoyed my best food walks.

Let me tell about one of my favourite food walks – a fulfilling early morning food walks culminating in a nourishing breakfast.
This is probably my first piece of Foodie Writing. 

I wrote this in the year 2000  around 15 years ago  after returning from one of my food walks.

So  Dear Reader  here are some mouthwatering memories of a glorious early morning food-walk in Mumbai culminating in a wholesome breakfast.

EARLY MORNING FOOD WALK IN MUMBAI  a mouthwatering memoir by Vikram Karve

I start early  at dawn  from my house near Churchgate.

I admire, in the early morning pre-sunrise light, the impressive silhouettes of the magnificent Gothic structures of the High Court and Mumbai University across the Oval.

I hear the clock on Rajabai Tower strike 6 AM (0600 Hrs).

I walk briskly past Oxford Bookstore, KC College and CCI towards Marine Plaza Hotel.

Then I cross the Marine Drive, turn right and start off towards Chowpatty.

I greet with a smile the morning joggers and walkers and rinse my lungs with the fresh invigorating sea breeze.

I walk briskly on Marine Drive. 

Soon I am past Marine Lines, Taraporewala Aquarium, Charni Road, Chowpatty, Wilson College  and after the brisk vigorous walk of about 30 minutes I break out into a slight sweat as I reach the northern end of Marine Drive.
Here I ponder for a moment. 
Should I turn left up the Walkeshwar Road to Teen Batti and Banganga? 
Or should I turn right towards Babulnath?
Or should I turn back towards Nariman Point? 
I experience a sense of true freedom. 
I can make whatever choice I want and go wherever I desire. 
Thats freedom!
I choose to cross the road, and walk fast, straight up the steep path towards Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill  trying to exercise my heart and lungs. 
I take a round of garden atop the water tank near Kamala Nehru Park (is it now called Phirozeshah Mehta Udyan?). 
Then I canter down to Kemp’s Corner where I turn right  a U-turn really  past Crossword Bookstore – and I walk down Hughes Road.

I turn left past Gamdevi towards Nana Chowk and I cross the railway over-bridge and keep going onto Grant Road past Novelty Cinema.

Then I turn right at Delhi Durbar on Falkland Road  reach VP Road  walk past Gol Deval, Alankar cinema  and soon I am at Bhendi Bazar.

My destination Noor Mohammadi Hotel is right in front of me across Mohamedali Road.
Almost two hours of brisk walking has built up in me a voracious appetite and I am ready to devour a sumptuous breakfast. 
I am hungry. 

And I eat only when I am hungry.
I enter Noor Mohammadi Hotel, a Spartan no-nonsense eatery, and order a Nalli Nihari and Roti.

Nalli Nihari is a pure ghee version of Mutton Nihari cooked with bones filled with marrow. 
Within a minute a bowl of piping hot gravy, with a generous chunk of succulent meat floating in it, and a fluffy khaboosh roti is placed in front of me. 
I dip a piece of the soft roti in the spicy rich gravy, let it soak for a while, put it in my mouth and close my eyes to luxuriate in and relish the gastronomic experience in its entirety.
I can feel the juicy gravy soaked roti melting on my tongue, releasing its delicious flavours and spicy aroma which permeate into my soul. 
I am in seventh heaven and keep on attaining higher states of sheer heavenly bliss with every succulent bite of the mouth watering concoction.

They say that Nalli Nihari is a mutton bone marrow and wheat gravy  but I don’t delve too much on the contents of a dish.

It’s the taste, delicacy, eating experience and ultimate divine feeling of satiation that matters.
It is a delectable beginning to a delightful day as the luscious taste of the delicious Nalli Nihari lingers on my tongue indefinitely. 
Yes, it is epicurean satiation of the highest order  a blissful experience I can never forget.

Here is a picture of Nalli Nihari 

(Today – I click and post foodie pictures using my smartphone – but since this happened 15 years ago when there were no smartphones – I will take the liberty of posting a picture of Nalli Nihari  freely available on the internet  from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, file url: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nalli_Nihari.JPG  )

Nalli Nihari
Dear Reader, if you happen to be in Mumbai and are ready for a sumptuous non-vegetarian breakfast, take a brisk stimulating food walk early in the morning and begin your day with Nalli Nihari at Noor Mohammadi in Bhendi Bazar. 
I assure you it will be a fortifying and stimulating experience.
Don’t forget to tell us how you enjoyed the food-walking experience.
But remember one thing. 

If you want to truly appreciate this splendid Heritage Gourmet Trencherman’s Breakfast Dish to its fullest  you must build up an appetite for it.

Happy Walking. 

Happy Eating. 

Happy Food-Walking.

Remember  in order to enjoy your food  first build up an appetite  and then satiate it.

Yes  remember the FOOD-WALK DICTUM:

First build up an appetite and then satiate it



Once more  let me wish you Happy FoodWalking.

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All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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