#TravellerStories-05- Of Emptying the Arabian Sea and other stories

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This edition of the #TravellerStories features Mandar Malshe, who builds software for a living for the oil and gas sector and being as gentle as he is, loves Kalariyapattu.

Why the need for such a series like TravellerStories? We hear so many travel stories, but we’d be able to appreciate the travel stories at a relative level, only when these same questions are put to people at different place, we’d probably have a sense of awe towards how geography and history places a bias on our thinking. So these are nice postcards that you want to quickly rummage through, over an evening snack. Yes, just meant over tea and biscuits.

A) Where are you from and what do you do for a living?

I am from the beloved, crowded, beautiful, bustling ‘Aamchi’ Mumbai. However, its been 7 years since I haven’t lived more than a week there; as I have moved around Chennai, Bangalore and now – London. I earn my livelihood working with an IT firm, managing large IT/Infrastructure projects for oil and gas giants

Mandar Malshe

B) What’s the most cliched thing that outsiders say or feel about your city/country?

All of my ‘phoren’ friends and colleagues feel that Indian food means spice! They think we have a template which we apply to all dishes that we prepare, and this is – Onion, Ginger-Garlic paste, Coriander powder, Cumin powder, Turmeric, Curry leaves and of course – Red Chili powder and Green chillies; and voila! – an Indian dish is ready. I have tried many times to steer folks towards a coconut rice or a ‘Puran poli’, but guess the votes have been already cast.

C) What’s that one dish travellers should try out at your city and where?

Since I have lived across multiple cities, I would say :

  • Pav Bhaji @ Sardar, Tardeo, Mumbai
  • Prawns @ Mahesh Lunch home, Juhu, Mumbai
  • A variety of seafood and meat platters @ Bon South, Bangalore
  • And of course – Vada pav and Misal – Anywhere in Mumbai !

D) Reg exploring places outside your city, which is your favourite place (and why)

I love to visit Kerala, whether it is Waynad, Munnar or any other place. It’s always a treat to enjoy the local cuisine and the lazy afternoon rains. This time, on my visit to Munnar, I enjoyed some cultural shows such as Kathakali and the oldest Martial arts form – Kalaripayattu

E) Of all your travels on work, which city charmed you the most and why?

I loved the small, but neat and elegant setting of Singapore. Its hard to fathom that the entire country is just around 700 sq kms! Due to unavailability of land, they have come up with ingenious ways to save space. Despite this constraint, it’s a paradise for tourists who wish to experience the grandeur of Universal studios, Underwater aquarium and Tussad’s museum, without spending the big bucks to travel to the US or the UK. Crime is very low – in fact I didn’t see a single policeman on my travel (except at the airport of course!); and barring 1-2 sections of the city, its spotless clean!

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F) What is the craziest thing you have ever done while travelling?

This is actually with a fellow college-mate– We had decided on a roadtrip over a weekend; but hadn’t decided where we would want to go. We just packed an overnight bag, got in the car and put in the GPS – ‘Places 200 kms from Bangalore’. We zeroed in on Sakleshpur, a nice hilly region near Hassan. We enjoyed the local cuisine and the next day decided – We want to go to a beach! On we drove towards Mangalore and directly landed on Ullal beach; but not before we emptied the Arabian sea of all the seafood it can produce

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