My Incredible Food Walk In Delhi
Being on board for Enable Travel’s Food Walk, travel never took a backseat for Preeti Monga, our blind travel expert. Preeti uses her heightened senses to make the most of her tour in Delhi, her own city. Here’s a glimpse of Preeti’s exciting excursion and how she loves exploring destinations in her own way.
Delhi…winter…food…mouth watering! It’s something you just can’t resist! Just as I couldn’t resist the offer of going on the Enable Travel Food Walk; that too, on a bright sunny winter morning. To get a chance to actually walk the ancient streets of one of the oldest parts of Delhi, where we get to taste all that food being dished out there, by the well-known eateries stationed at Chandni Chowk, serving food that is still prepared according to recipes handed down through generations! Chandni Chowk, which has been around for more than 3 centuries; was visited by merchants from Turkey, China and even Holland in the olden days.
Our Food Walk began with expert guides tracing the layout of Chandni Chowk upon our palms, while sharing a fascinating narration of its history. This was the first time I actually got to know, in such clear detail, about the proper design of this ancient part of the city. I could never have imagined, that only due to my blindness, I had missed so much! And, let me tell you, it has made a world of difference in my outlook towards this part of Delhi; and it also makes me feel that much more empowered!
So, off we trotted, hand in hand, happily dodging crowds on foot or riding upon all forms of vehicles, chatting and laughing as we bumped along the uneven roads and footpaths. All the time just trying to imagine what the buildings must seem like, as our expert guides constantly described them to us all what they could see, along with the history, colours and shapes and sizes of the buildings. Temples of all kinds, mosques, churches and gurudwaras, they were all there; amazingly existing side by side in all their glory.
And then, the tantalising aroma of hot jalebies and samosas drove us right into the tiny, but famous shop, to get our hands on these unusually huge and delicious offerings. The gobbling of these treats only came to a halt once people reminded us that there were many other such yummy things waiting to be sampled. So, with our attention focused upon the next treat, we resumed our walk through the narrow streets and alleyways, till we were drawn towards the beckoning smell of Paranthe Wali Gali, (this is another famous narrow lane, where one only gets exotic paranthas). Once again we had a tough time choosing between the vegetable, cottage cheese and dry fruit-stuffed paranthas, which seemed to be disappearing faster than they were being dished out! The thought of the sweet and sour chutney and the steaming hot chilly potato curry served along with paranthas still makes my mouth water. And, oh, how could I forget the creamy sweet butter milk that was being guzzled down non-stop!
We only managed to get ourselves out of this wonder lane, when someone from our midst tried to tempt us with a shout of: “Who wants to have Dolat Ki Chat”? As usual, I was the first one to bounce off towards the enticing offer, anticipating some sort of savory and sweet dish. Lo and behold…it turned out to be something completely strange! I was handed a plate, which felt empty, and which made me a bit angry, for I thought that someone was playing a prank on me by handing me a plate with nothing on it! But, when I actually dipped the spoon into whatever it was on my plate, all I could get into my mouth was sweetened froth! A bit disappointed with the weird-tasting sweet dish, I simply got rid of the same as soon as I could, handed my plate to someone who was around and followed the gang into an ancient courtyard; which again was an amazing experience!
Well, this so called courtyard, was a narrow open space leading off one of the market streets, where nine old houses stood on each sides, with gates on both end, which when closed, turned the entire structure into a little private fortress! We promptly perched upon the small open verandahs of these houses and were instantly transported back into time. It was so easy to picture how in those good old days, its inhabitants must have happily spent time chattering together here. And the best part was that the families living here, still did the same!
Intrigued by this already incredible experience, we gleefully went off for a proper Mughalai lunch, that too by riding in one of those interesting Old Delhi rickshaws! I had already had so much food for one day; I had my doubts if I could eat anything more at all! But the moment I entered the nicely warmed-up restaurant, the aroma of tandoori chicken and kebabs was simply too tempting to turn down! Greed got me to eat the kebabs at the restaurant and I even got the butter chicken curry packed for dinner!
So with my doggy bag tucked away, exhausted but completely satiated, I dropped onto the seat of our car and drove home! I wondered why we visually impaired folks so easily give up on the chance to explore even our own cities. So, I promised myself that here begins my travel life…never again will I ever put travelling onto my ‘not to bother with list’.
Looking out for my next trip already!
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