Friday, April 3, 2009

Lazying Around in the Vikhroli Woods


After almost a gap of two years, I went to Vikhroli to my cousin Kashmira's house for an overnight stay. Trips to Vikhroli are always looked forward to because I am so attached to that place. Almost every week, as a child, I used to go there on Friday with Kashmira when she was a professor at Hinduja college, she used to pick me up on her way home and then Rustom- her husband- used to drop me back on Sunday evening. Apart from my neighbours, the Bhathenas and Batliwalas, her place is one where I have virtually grown up. So Vikroli has many pleasent memories for me, since Rustom has been working at Godrej for decades.

As always, one of Kashmira's strengths is her cooking. We celebrate many celebrity chefs when we go and dine in their restaurants, 5-stars, etc., but chefs like my mom, Kashmira, Hutoxi, their mom Perin Fui, my deceased aunt Hilla Fui, Viloo Mami, Havovi, Moti Mummy and many such more, are the true star-chefs to me. This particular one though, was at my exclusive service this weekend, so I had the luxury to chose the menu over the weekend. Now this is some opportunity, if you are familiar with Kashmira's cooking. I chose Mora Dal Chawal (the Parsi-style yellow plan, but thicker than the typical Hindu dal, and plain white rice) and fish patia. But I like the fiery-red patia made out of coconut, rather than the bland tomato patia, so I chose the former. Lunch at Kashmira's place is always served with plenty of hospitality, love and affection, so that makes the food taste that much better. I can go on and on about this....

After a good siesta after such a good and heavy lunch, I spent the evening pretty much at their place because we had some visitors, but I did visit my other cousin Mahiyar, my family's in-house computer expert and my chief IT consultant. Later in the week, I took one of his recommendations and implemented it. Let's see how good his recommendation really is. I think it would be.

A trip to Vikhroli is incomplete without a walk in the Godrej Hill-side (where Kashmira & Rustom live) colony. The first thing that hits you as you take a stroll in the colony is how well the Godrej family maintains its housing societies that they build for their own staff. With so much land in Vikhroli east as well as west, I feel the Godrej family is the uncrowned kings of the real estate in India, but much of their land in Vikroli seems to be used up for their staff's housing needs. I have yet to see a bigger housing colony of any company's staff. And just because these homes are meant for their staff and not for themselves doesn't mean the family has a devil-may-care attitude. Their housing colonies are very aesthetically built and maintained, homes are very carefully constructed and are very spacious. Godrej seems to know how to take care of their employees very well. And their housing colonies are also well equipped; large playgrounds, a fully functional primary and secondary school, a hospital, store, library, club with a swimming pool, restaurant and cyber cafe amidst lush and beautiful greenery, what else do you want!!!!! And the views from the colony hill-tops are fantastic; you can see Navi Mumbai from Airoli stretched to Vashi and the beautifully lit-up Vashi creek bridge. Magnificent view!

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