The Suraj Kund Mela 2012. My First Mela Experience!

Entering the Gateway of The Suraj Kund Mela 2012, Faridabad, Delhi

They had fascinating crafts and clothing from every state around the country
When you walk in, you get the feeling of being in some village that has been stuck in time. Don't let the arid look fool you, because the mela was huge and endless. There were umpteen stalls that took over acres and acres (literally) of this land.
This year's theme is 'Assam' an eastern state famous for its 'Bihu'. They have a really long Assam stall-cafe serving you decent sized thalis and other snacks which I had never even heard of
States as far as Tamil Nadu had stalls show casing their famous fabrics. I was surprised to see better quality prints and cottons here than what I found when I was actually down South! And the prices are not ridiculous, considering the kind of material they had
It's good to go to a place where you can still catch people working behind the scenes. This is a man from one of the Assam stalls putting together flower ornaments
At the Lucknow stall a very personable 'Nawab' looking guy sat in the throws of running Chanderi Cotton. It was quite obvious that the stall owners/workers were accustomed to people with cameras
Click on the Image to Get a Larger Experience!
It was a beautiful day , with the sun out and the colourful umbrellas, lanterns and carpets from Gujarat and Rajasthan. What was better about the Suraj Kund Mela was the fact that there was an abundance of space, which allowed grand displays of crafts. You won't ever find such sights in any other crafts market
What I loved, was the sudden burst of 'Mela-ness' you got to see. While bending down to inspect the pottery, I was suddenly mesmerized by the old fashion ferris wheel up in the sky
I have never seen woolly shoes with woolly laces before! From the Himachal Pradesh Stall
Well they had put up a make-shift temple for the Mela.......
...With make-shift priests too?...Hmm.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the term ‘Mela’  it means ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’ or a fair.

The overall experience of the Suraj Kund Mela was an outstanding one. Set up in the folds of the Delhi-Gurgaon-FaridabadIt took me back to a time where people from nearby villages would collect for such an event. Stalls were put up showcasing such talents from every nook and corner of the nation. It really makes you feel proud…And you will definitely enter gaining the happiness of a child!

[Remember to click on the images to get a larger experience]

Lavish Lunch For Two Si Vous Plais?

On Sunday, the 15th of January my Mom was treated to a special birthday lunch in the bustling and highly commercialized Sector 29. Although we felt tempted by the restaurants that sprawled themselves in that square opposite Bikaner, the dazzling structure of The Pllazio Hotel, with its old world charm was definitely the choice for the day.

Although many have poked fun at the name, which looks slightly misspelled- we chose to blame it on the numerology-alphabetology shebang and entered right in, smiling at the really warm staff.

The buffet lunch was being set up with immense precision by people who worked there. We spent 20 minutes (we were early) observing them as they inspected each and every mouse, cake, shrimp cocktail-replacing the ones that didn’t look great, and so on.

The decor , the home-stitched looking serviettes, and the fact that things were colourful and sunny in the inside, really perked my senses. I felt as if I had sat myself down at a really nice home party. But then again, the lacey looking skylines and the chandeliers, showed that they were following the must-have decor code for poshy swoshy hotels.

The salad bar was crazy….Well, okay I went crazy over it. It’s just really rare for me to find fresh, bouncy veggies around town, especially at buffets. I couldn’t handle it. My corns flew everywhere, my peppers slid off,  grapes when tottering here and there, I was way too excited. And look at it…Just look at it. It has to be a crime for healthy food to look so bad-ass.

It’s so hot you can see it bubble. Chicken and vegetable soup. It was stocky, salty and filling. The Greens inside were kept fresh and I was almost sure I would pour it secretly into a bottle, to douse myself with it at home. It was so good, I was stoked…Or stocked. haha. I feel high on soup just by looking at it. I swear if you stare long enough at it, you can see that it has a smile…Aww.

It was soup times two (and yeah the “soup song” bit of Kolaveri does pop into your head) . The roasted pumpkin soup could not be missed. It was smooth. Which is rare.  Good on you Melange (oh that’s the name of the restaurant in the hotel by the way). This was a world cuisine main. I had the cheese cannelloni , the cabbage dolma, a bit of zaffrani biryani. cottage cheese/paneer in some coconut-chilli gravy and pease n mushroom gravy, which was very generous with garlic and ginger chunks. My favourite touch to any dish…Okay, ‘any’ was a bit of a stretch.

The pan Asian plate. Chicken biryani, sweet n sour chilli tofu (brazed….is that what it’s called?), spicy beans, and Thai greens. each dish had some name that originated from a different city of place in China…But I forgot. I just hogged till my guts’ content.

The reason why the angle of this photo is slanted, is most probably because I was collapsing with excitement and vengeful , relentless hunger.  The round thing with a big dollop of cream on it, is called the Shahi Tukra and it was sublime. Not too sweet at all. Beside it on the right was a sort of cream roll, that had a strong aftertaste of rose (now we all love surprises like that one). The strawberry and cream pastry is what every chubby pubescent boy around the nation would kill an Aunty for. I mean…with love ofcourse. It was fluffy, light and the foamy cream smeared all over your mouth. It was fun. The dry fruit slice was also really nice, but better if they had bigger slices and offered tea with it. The mocha mouse ( I refuse to acknowledge that thing as a was just cream and a speck of a crumb at the bottom, dissected by a salty tasting cookie) was  a big no no no! finally the mother of all resistance was the chocolate swirl thing (if only I stopped to look at the names!). The chocolate was at the ‘Death By Chocolate’ level. Not sweet and bloody chocolaty. The cookie that formed its base, crumbled like a shortbread cookie. I loved it. I should have had more.

So now you know where to take a good normal date out (a person who eats and admits to consuming food), or a father, or mother or sibling. There were kids there too who got their own custom pizzas made (damn I should have done that! Oh well, there there, I’m sure there will be a next time!). The price? Rs.400 per head. Not bad I say. Go ape!