A piece of Matunga

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I have a soft corner for the Southern part of India. Well, I can’t really explain the reason. But, let me try. I’m talking about Chennai, where my maternal family has been living since decades. I have spent a number of summer holidays there, which got me exposed to South Indian cuisine, Carnatic and lots of AR Rahman music, classical dance, and of course, the Hindu newspaper and filter coffee! I truly adore the Madrasi way of living to the hilt.

Luckily or unluckily (as I miss it to the core, and it really has taken the peace out of my current life), I had a chance to live in Mumbai with my husband after our wedding. That’s when I got a chance to explore our beautiful neighbourhood called Matunga. People call it a mini Madras.

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My editor was the first one to speak about Matunga. So, one day, I decided to witness it myself. As I was walking on the busy streets of Matunga, I could smell the aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans, lots of jasmine flowers, sambhar (weirdly, yes), and sandalwood, too. How could I not love Matunga?

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A usual Matunga trip would be incomplete without a mini meal at Arya Bhavan (and the Anando thandai available at the restaurant), a second-hand book purchase from King Circle (off the road) and a short visit to the Chheda Stores, from where I bought my idli batter, green chutney, Rao’s rasam masala, Gujarati dry snacks and other kitchen essentials. Buying mangoes from the Matunga Mango House was a big thing for me. And, I also loved the O’Hair salon situated over there.

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You may now know, why my breakup with Mumbai was a dramatic one. How can any place replace Matunga?

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Currently, I might be used to the luxuries of Gurgaon; its spacious houses, gardens, posh malls, endless social gatherings and all, but if given a choice, I’d take the first opportunity to go back to Mumbai. Gurgaon has taught me some different lessons in life. And I get how this city is becoming one of the best cities to work in. But, it’s just that, this place is not made for me. Here’s what I think I should do. Find my handmade scrapbook and see some saved Matunga food bills.

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