Daily life

Toys and Couscous

1:08 PM

And that’s what happened on Sunday!
DH and I had an original ambitious plan of first going to Marine Drive early in the morning, then have breakfast and then head to Phoenix Mills (Which contrary to the name, is no longer a Mill but a shopping mall complex) to head to Hamleys to originally get a toy remote controlled car that DH wanted to get for his birthday to play with Ishita.

As things often happen in our family is that the plans change at the last minute, we overslept…actually DH did, and by the time we were ready to leave it was 9.30 strongly going on 10am, and Marine Drive by then would have been a bit too hot and uncomfy, so we skipped that part all together, and headed to Lower Parel to the Mall aforementioned, but then again a clarification, this isn’t just ONE mall, that’s 3 all connected together around a courtyard, built on the ground of what was once a textile mill, one among hundreds possibly thousands in Parel, in the industrial era. The mills have gone, high end real estate projects replaced them be it commercial or residential.
But enough with the history here shall we? We reached there early and headed to one of the numerous coffee shop for breakfast, then looked around for a while, and headed to the famous Hamleys Toy Shop, I say famous, because I’ve been to London enough to know that that Toy Shop is one big Landmark there and has quite a name, the original is a big multi-storeyed affair, and would you believe that in all my quite many trips to the British Capital I never set foot in it, maybe I needed a child on my own refusing to just let my inner child go wild, but that’s a topic I’ll left unexplored, my inner child prefers cartoons, computer games and Star Wars. And yes when I heard the opened a branch in Mumbai (mentioned by a friend when we were living in Navi Mumbai last year) I was quite surprised, I didn’t know Hamleys turned into a franchise, to me there was only one store, the one in London. And we moved out of the Mumbai vicinity before we had time to have a look, this time we lie nearer to it, so time to satisfy our curiosity.
The shop is fairly big, well organised, and it was PRICELESS to see Ishita’s mesmerized face, she just stood there wondering where to begin: The stuffed Animals on the right, or march straight away through the craft section all the way to Barbie, not that the choice was made as she immediately got distracted by the Hamleys Teddy Mascot that was getting the final adjustment made to his costume before heading out on the balcony in the sun to wave at the crowd (poor guy), a giant moving teddy…that’s quite something when you are 2 years old, so she ran after him to the door, not quite sure what to do next until one shop assistant opened it for her to step outside, taking very cautious step she went to the teddy, with a look of sheer amazement on her face, and a bit uncertain as to what to do when the Teddy just held his big paw to shake her hand. So I just picked her up so she could see Teddy’s face and she then touched his paw, and had a big gigantic smile on her face when he pat her head, her day was made!
We headed back inside as the 3 minutes standing in the sun with Teddy were quite enough heat for the day (and I once again felt sorry for the guy inside teddy’s costume hoping he wouldn’t have to stand the whole day there and risk a heat stroke).
Back inside we found DH in the toy car section, and then roamed around the store, Ishita just feeling in heaven looking at everything, and just having fun.
DH decided not to get the toy car just yet, as Ishita might break it before they could enjoy it together. So instead he got a Rubik’s cube, and Ishita had her eyes set on the Leap Frog talking picnic basket, I got some sticky ball game so we can play in the park once the grass gets dry in our building, and by the time we paid and stepped out I was relieved to see Teddy was no longer standing there, for his health sake as it was noon and the sun was burning high.
We took some more time roaming around finding out that all the big higher end brands have an outlet there, and at the top of the most exclusive of the 3 malls there was a gourmet supermarket…that I had to see!
First good surprised is that it also sell regular local brands, and Indian organic products, but in more European Grocery store atmosphere, no pushy crowd there, it’s gathering to the upper middle class, it has a “traiteur” section with freshly made salads, and dips, a guy who makes Sushi, and yes even vegetarian sushi bento. going deeper into the store, I saw their exotic products, a section to buy all the stuff to make your own sushi, udon noodles, thai cuisine essentials, all type of vinegars and sauces, and…COUSCOUS GRAINS!
In 8 years in India, despite all magazines (and I mean even Femina which is local) came up with couscous recipes calling for couscous grains I would never find in any of the stores, not even the speciality ones. I spent 8 years experimenting with broken wheat, suji, in all brands, grain sizes and what not to always end up with something lukewarm, and the closest I came from the real thing was with organic dalia (broken wheat or bulgur wheat) but not quite the same taste. 8 Years of craving a Taboule or recycle that leftover Chole into a modified couscous with real couscous grains!
Needless to say that after such a long time, I don’t even care that the pack cost 255 rupees, I took it.
The store also have cake decorating stuff, mini marshmallow, which I didn’t buy but will once I decide to try that rocky road brownie recipe I have somewhere.
But what felt the best, is that for once, I can stop wondering about ingredients the next time I read a continental recipe I want to try. I’m sure there are other stores nearer from my place, but the point is that now for the first time ever since moving to India I know one place that have quite a few of the basics that I couldn’t find anywhere else.
After 8 years of being an expat with the desire to cook home food with the right flavours, my wish have been granted, I have my solution…YES!


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