Thursday, March 06, 2014

Book Review : Cutting Chai and Maska Pao

"Cutting Chai and Maska Pao" is a slim volume, a text-plus-photo cultural lexicon of  Mumbai, (covering 65 terms from aila to zunka bhakar) - the result of a college project of three young girls - Digantika Mitra, Priya Sheth and Mithila Mehta.

There's plenty of interest for a foodie, (which is why I'm cross posting it on this blog) even if he/she is just visiting Mumbai. Amul pav bhaji, Ayubs, baida (eggs), bhel puri, Bombay sandwich, cutting chai, Energee, Irani cafes, khau gallis, Leopold Cafe, masala, maska pao, Mewad kulfi, paan patti, ragda pattice, tapri, Udipi, vada pav and zunka bhakar.

Terms related to Travel & Sightseeing : Banganga, Best bus, Bollywood, chawls, chor bazaar, Dalal Street, Dhobhi Ghat, Fashion Street, Gateway, Joggers Park, Juhu Beach, Kala Ghoda, local, Nana-Nani parks, Oval Maidan, Queens Necklace, Sea link, talkies, Taj and Victoria.

Lingo : aila, bhai, dhinchak, dimaag ka dahi, Horn-OK-Please, jhakkas, oye!, Page 3, Pandu, rapchik, rokda, stick no bills, tapori, town and waat.

And a couple of others : Boot polishwala, check your weight, dabbawala, Dharavi, galli cricket, Italian barbers, kabootar khana, Kolis, Lovers rocks, nimbu mirchi, yacht,

As you can see from these terms, they are either unique to Mumbai (as in the lingo and travel/sightseeing) or an essential part of Mumbai (Irani Cafes and Udipi restaurants for example)

Any Mumbaikar will love it, for the collection of terms and the beautiful illustrations. It also makes a lovely souvenier for visitors to this maximum city.

Having lived in Mumbai in 2 stints spanning 2 years, the terms weren't new to me and Ayubs was the only food place in this list that I haven't visited. But I still loved this little booklet. It brings back lovely memories of the city and I often flip through it and randomly read a page from it, whenever I miss living in Bombay.

The pictures have been taken by girls themselves with a few taken by their friends and these pictures do convey more than the words used with them. They are extremely evocative, even the cartoons used to depict some of the lingo.

To compare it to a food analogy - "Cutting Chai and Maska Pao" isn't cordon bleu cooking, its ghar ka khaana made by mom and grandmom, that you yearn for when they aren't around and enjoy when available.

Rating : 3.5 / 5

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