A Slice Of Patiyala In Mumbai

I’m a sucker for authentic delicacies. Be it Eromba from the North East, or Thecha from the farmlands of Maharashtra, I love trying local favourites.

Recently on my way home, I came upon an obscure little street stall that instantly had all my attention. With mounds of meat frying away in woks, the stall’s bright red signboard read, “Lucky Patiyala Shahi Chicken Corner.”  I craned my neck out of my rickshaw to get a better look, but there were too many people crowding the tiny stall. Day after day, I would see people flock upto this spot. Some would park their cars nearby and enjoy freshly fried chicken on their bonnets, some would get it parceled, some would just stand nearby and gorge on plates after plates of the hot stuff. Finally, I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.


The stall was manned by two middle aged men in turbans and a lady who seemed to in charge of handling the money. One of the gentlemen would marinate the chicken and the other would fry them. That’s when I also saw fish in their menu. I’ve heard so much about the Amritsari fish pakoda, and I knew this was as close as I could get to tasting the real deal in Mumbai. So without much ado I first ordered a portion of Rawas Fish Fry, Chicken Popcorn, Chicken Soup and some Chicken Pakodas. All to-go.


The month old food stall is already popular in the locality and also attracting people from other parts of the city. One couple had driven over 14 kms just to munch on their fried Chicken Drumsticks! The owners said they’re originally from Patiala but settled in Mumbai. The marinades and masalas are all homemade, typical Punjabi style.


This very well reflected in the food. Although the dishes I ordered all looked the same, they all had very distinct and unique flavours. The fish was succulent, deboned and had a tangy tinge. The Chicken popcorn had milder spices in it and was dusted with cumin powder instead of chaat masala like you’d find in a Chicken tikka or tandoori. The Chicken Pakoda was my personal favourite. It was perfectly crisp, not one bit oily and tasted heavenly when eaten with the mint chutney that came with it.


The Chicken soup on the other hand, was such a delightfully refreshing break from your Manchows and Tom Yums! It had hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper corns, which made it perfect for a cold-ish Mumbai evening.


You could pair the chicken and fish with pav  if you want. But I’d suggest otherwise. Crack open a can of coke on the side and I guarantee you a happy tummy!

The dishes are priced between Rs.80-Rs.250, so you can take your pick according to how much you’re willing to splurge.





Only catch here is- this stall remains open only in the evenings between 7pm-12am and mostly they run out of chicken even before that. So if you’re planning to get yourself a Platter of Patiyala, you better keep this in mind!


Lucky Shahi Patiyala Chicken Corner, Near Holy Cross School Mira Road. 



You will find me in a million beating hearts.

In the clutter of the Dadar market,

In the chai -sutta of the rebellious city teen.

In the waves that sweep through the shores of Marine drive.

In the misty coffee houses of Matunga,

In the dingy slums of Dharavi,

In the chic bungalows of Juhu tara.

In the alluring charms of Kamathipura,

In the abusive banter of the fish mongers.

In the first rains that soak the children,

In the humid summers that drench everyone in sweat.

The groovy nights at blue frog,

The blissful prayers at Siddhivinayak.

In the buzzing streets of bandra,

Or the country-side bliss of vasai.

In every heaving-breath of a Virar local,

In the saddened silences of Tata hospital.

In the legendary evenings of Prithvi theatre,

In the infinite aimless games of cricket at the oval maidan.

In the cheers for the Mumbai Indians,

In the masked smiles of the LGBT pride parade.

From the nalli nihari and the salli boti

To the masala dosa and vada pav.

From the pillars of gateway,

To the roads of palm beach .

I’m a heaven for dreamers.

I’m the love child of chaos and tranquility.

I’m the unbreakable spirit.

I’m the euphoric emotion.

I am you .I am me.

I am Mumbai.

Mumbai Diaries: The Most Interesting Cabbie In Town!

“It was destiny that brought me here.” Says Mahesh, a 37 year old cabbie I met just a couple days back. Unlike other cabbies who usually dropped me to my workplace every morning, Mahesh seemed very upbeat and chatty.

But what was very appealing about him was his voice. Deep and husky, like the ones you hear in those sexy deodorant ads.

We got talking right from the minute I took the passenger seat next to him. From demonetization to current movies, to animal behavior in the African deserts, Mahesh had a say on everything. And with that beautiful voice of his, I couldn’t help but gleefully join in the conversation.

Jumping from one topic to the other I asked him how he landed up being a cab driver, because it was very surprising to see a person as well read and aware as him to be riding a cab for a living. He grinned at me and said that he recently lost his job. He told me about his college and how he had a diploma in mechanical engineering which held no value now. How he spent 5 months jumping down media agency to another in a chance to get one break into the voice over, radio industry. How his friends left him one by one when his financial condition deteriorated.

Seeing all the amulets and spiritual “jewelry” on him I asked him what kept him going through all of the tough times? Was it god? “My family is my God. It was my wife and children who made me smile on my worst days. They never made me feel like a failure. They never let me down or made false promises like the world or the so called God did.” “I’ve stopped socializing much, whatever free time I have I spend with my family”.

Behind the tough looking face and buttery deep voice if there was something that shone through was his positivity. Mahesh’s story wasn’t really inspiring or one of a kind. We meet so many others like him. People trying to make it big in the city or dreams Bombay! Of those who fail miserably and end up doing things just to survive this rat race. Dreams and hopes forgotten. Succumbing to the pressures of the city life.

But what was refreshing was his attitude towards everything. He still believes that everything that’s happened has happened for the best. He knows that his dreams of becoming a voice over artist seem bleak but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming about it regardless! His thirst for life and the will to do anything for his loved ones is what made his story better than most of ours. I couldn’t help but ask one last question, ” Can I write about you?” He put on his best smile and told me, “Sure Madam! Would you need a picture too?” As if  to say, this wasn’t the first time someone had asked him to do so 🙂

The good v/s The intolerant

Today’s newspaper stirred up so many emotions in me . Both positive and negative .Of anger and appreciation . Of utter disgust and hope .

So it all started when I read the first news ,which really shook me up . There stands a man grimly smiling followed by the headline “politicians should start sadhana “.

At first glance I thought it is some meditative technique ,but I soon discovered it was far from that . This man stands on  democratic soil and says that other religions have no right to exist !

It is ridiculous that people say such things even today !

Apparently some people think that certain ancient ludicrous religious idologies ,that bear no democratic relevance today , should be the basis for a country’s governance .

Here stands a man who denies equality to anyone else other than a selected sect of the society  ,and this he does with so much confidence .

It drove me to a point where I questioned my living in such a country ,coexisting with such narcissistic and extremist groups.

It both drove me mad and rendered me scared and helpless .

And then as every other mumbaikar  does , I handed our country’s fate to the Gods and turned the page for another story that gripped my attention like this one .

And then came a pleasant surprise ,that drew away the bitter aftertaste of the earlier news .

A boy merely 17, Eshan Balbale ,stands on a bridge that he himself built . Now what was so special about a bridge built for some random slumdwellers ?

Well this boy was featured in the “unsung heroes of Mumbai page”

As I read his story a sense of relief and hope rose within me .

What was so starkly different about this boy was that unlike the earlier extremist who was hellbound on erasing all traces of other religions ,this youngster did something for the good of everyone around him ,something pure and unadulterated that benefited all religions the same

He did a simple task of building a bridge over a nullah , so that children could crossover to attend their daily classes without hassle . Compassion and goodwill prevailed over his senses .

This youngster proves that it is possible to be selfless and giving ,in a time where everyone else wants to TAKE and fight for their own “RIGHT

It made me happy to have realized  that I share my existence with a person like  Eshan .

To know that even though there are elements of hatred and violence in this world , there will always be elements of goodness and kindness , and these elements will ALWAYS , that’s right ,they will always win over the former !