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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chp 681. Mysore Adventures 1 + 2

So recently, I went to Mysore twice, both on the invitation of my niece and her new family. Some of you might have read my Goan wedding journals (part 1 and part 2) on my blog. After their grand wedding reception at Goa, my niece and her husband invited me again to their ancestral home at Mysore.

The first time was for their yet-another-wedding-reception. What can I say… Marwaris, you know :D

And so, representing my family, I flew down to Bangalore from Pune.

Landing at Bangalore brought back a lot of memories, even though it was not the airport I used to go to 10+ years ago. The new airport was like an hour away from the city, God I miss those days when we used to land and drove right into the heart of the city straight from the airport.

Nancy's close friend and my old friend back during my Bangalore days Mapuii along with Hlutea waited for my arrival. Hlutea was always the gentleman, offering to carry my luggage.

We had a quick South Indian breakfast because it was something I was looking forward - masala dosa, upma, pongal and dhai vada. Yummmm!

After that, we immediately left for Mysore. Mapuii and Hlutea wanted to travel by train, but I booked an Ola Outstation cab instead as I wanted to relax after a tiring flight from Pune, you know, jetlag and stuff :P

Though it was so much faster by train, the 4 hours journey by cab was indeed relaxing.

We reached our accommodation around 3 in the afternoon. Nancy had booked rooms for all her invited guests at Hotel Royal Orchid Metropole, which was right next to their wedding reception hall.

The hotel had this awesome Colonial period décor and furniture.

Mapuii and Hlutea's room was right next to mine with a shared balcony. We chilled for a while as we waited for the rest of Nancy's friends to arrive.

Soon everybody arrived and it was time to change for the wedding reception.

Being the uncle, my room was used as the rendezvous point as we waited for everybody to get ready.

Once we were all ready and the girls were satisfied with their Instagram updates, we left for the reception together…

The wedding reception was held at Hotel Southern Star, which was around 5 minutes walking distance from our hotel.

Initially I thought it was going to be like the Goan wedding reception, you know, with relatives and close family friends, but this one was apparently the big one. The invited guests this time was the public, including all their colleagues and employees. There were at least thrice the number of guests compared to Goa. Even while entering the hotel premises, we saw a long line of vehicles queued near the gate.

Our Mizo entourage took a photo with the beautiful bride and groom (click on all photos to enlarge to a new tab).

After that we wandered around the place taking more photos. As usual, my OnePlus 3 camera was in high demand because of the superior clarity. Everywhere I went, I was met with, "U Kim, hetah hian min lo lak… U Kimmmm, kei pawh ti hian min lo lak", which was immediately followed by, "U Kimmm, min lo thawn…" Ahhh, the bane of being a OnePlus phone owner :D

Like Goa, it was an open bar event, though I decided to drink slowly as it was my responsibility to make sure all the young Mizos reached their hotel rooms safely later in the night.

With the beautiful sister-in-law Tanushree Hazarika. I noticed immediately that she was wearing her traditional Assamese Makhela Chadar.

We took a few more pics with the bride…

Bride battery down :D

After the main crowd had dinner and left, it was just us again, the same old Goan crowd! :D And as always, we hit the dancefloor with our own playlist.

Tanu meanwhile was as usual making shots for everybody. She really makes the meanest baddest shots I know of!

Relaxing after a good dance session with desserts…

With the awesome Srinivas, who was as helpful to us as he was back in Goa. A truly amazing multi-tasking guy.

A view of the hotel from the lawn outside…

We hung around until the party came to an end around 3 in the morning…

Urmi aunty with her two lovely daughter-in-laws. I really love her spirit and demeanor that night!

And with that, we headed back to our hotel. I made sure everybody reached their rooms safely, and then went to sleep as well.

The next day, we had the complimentary breakfast at our hotel…

We left Mysore around 12 because we wanted to enter Bangalore before the evening rush-hour traffic started…

We stopped at Empire on the way for lunch. After all, who can come to this part of the country without eating at Empire?

We reached Bangalore around 4 in the evening, just before the traffic became heavy… Hlutea as usual was snoring away on his seat…

Once back at Bangalore, Mapuii and Hlutea pressured me again to create an Instagram account. And as always, I refused. They showed me the beauty of selfies and filters. Like this photo for instance which Hlutea made me pose and I had to listen to his every instruction, lolz.

Finally it was bonding time as I met up with my old friends Mimipi and Angie. It was so amazing catching up and talking about how much Bangalore had changed from the time I was there back in 2003.

Some "seh-hmeh" for the ju. :P

Hlutea dished out an amazing dinner, and my favorite was the beef cooked in Mizo style.

Bawngsa soup! Slurrrrrpppppppp!!!!

Before Angie went home, I paid my condolences to her sister Blessy, our Mizo traditional custom of "ral". I really miss Blessy, she was such a fun soul to hang out it. As I mentioned in my earlier Goa blog post, it was at Blessy's house that I first met Mapuii more than 10 years ago. She was hungry so I took her out for lunch, lolz.

Later that night, the two wonderful hosts Mapuii and Mimipi got ready for bed while I slept on the floor (don't worry, they both gave me permission to put this photo up on my blog, in the hope that they might find a boyfriend soon :D )

The next morning, they both experienced something they had never felt before - I woke them up at 7 AM! :D

Since my flight was in the afternoon, I pressured them both to take me to a local South Indian breakfast joint as most of the South Indian restaurants in Pune are Udupi style, which I don't really like. I'm more of a Tamil flavor guy.

Found one. This pic below was also the first photo Mimipi and Mapuii had been in before 8 in the morning  :D

After that, I was on my way to the airport. My heartfelt gratitude to Mapuii, Mimipi and Hlutea for hosting me for a night. You guys rock!

Airport beer time :D

It's kinda like a ritual for me to stop at Alta Vita every time I pass by this airport.

Amidst a slight turbulence, I was safely in the air again, heading back to Pune.

That was my first adventure at Mysore.

Last week, I went to Mysore again as Nancy's in-laws invited me to spend the Diwali weekend with them. As it was Nancy's first Diwali with the family and we had a long weekend break, I played the role of good ol uncle Kima once again and booked my ticket to Bangalore.

Around 2 hours before my flight that morning, both Nancy and Hlutea asked me if I was through security check-in yet.

I replied with this photo.

Yeah that's what I love about Pune. Unlike Bangalore where it takes more than an hour to reach the airport, Pune airport is just 10 minutes away from my apartment.

As I left my apartment, I saw this beautiful Diwali Rangoli my neighbors made.

Even at the airport, none of the airlines ground staff were in uniform, they were all wearing their traditional dress. I saw Vistara staff making a Rangoli near their counter as well. Must have been a fun day to work for a change.

For the first time in my life, I saw my own luggage being boarded onto the flight I was on :D

Diwali sweets were also distributed during the flight along with the meal.

This reminded me of our "beng ek kherna" :P :P

Soon, Bangalore appeared in the horizon…

Hlutea picked me up from the airport. He had already arranged the transportation.

The two of us headed straight to Mysore from the airport.

The traffic was bad! Once we were outside the city premises and the traffic was relatively better, we stopped at a roadside dhaba for lunch.

Hlutea told me about the Korean finger heart pose and made me pose as such. The gullible me obliged… 

Some beer to cool us down…

The food wasn't bad at all, except, the quantity was ridiculously small :D

We proceeded on our way to Mysore again and finally reached our accommodation around 5 in the evening. Mytea was already waiting for us at our destination. It's one of those fully furnished rented apartments. It was a 3BHK so the three of us got one bedroom each.

The loo was freaking high, lolzzzz. My legs couldn't reach the ground while sitting on it, hahaaa!

Warming up for the evening Diwali party, with my newly discovered Korean finger heart pose, lolzzz!

My two flatmates Mytea and Hlutea. I thought of changing my name to Kimtea as well :P

All decked up for the party…

Around 7 PM, Nancy sent a car to pick us up. Their house was absolutely stunning and grand.

The open bar was filled with all sorts of alcohol.

Me role-playing as a bartender for Tanushree :D

We moved outside the gate to burn some of the noiseless fountains and sparkles.

Back inside, there was abundant snacks and food everywhere…

With Utsav and Nancy :)

Hlutea captivated by naked sculptures :D

Meanwhile the ladies had a great time as Tanushree enthralled everyone once again with her specialized shots. This time she made a lychee based vodka shot, and it was super awesome.

Pragnya brought her own tequila which she kept sipping from the mini-bottle. I really love the packaging.

Utsav with Nancy and Tanu.

Dinner time. I was already so full from all the snacks…

Managed to finish this… :)

Speed-poker, this was so much fun! I even nearly won one round, I missed a flush by one card, aaarrggghhh.

Utsav's driver dropped the three of us back to our accommodation at around 3 in the morning.

The next morning, I woke up Hlutea and Mytea really early because I am an early riser. I really love waking up people :D They were both screaming, "U Kimmmmm!" :D

Soon Utsav came to pick us up.

He took us to "Pelican Pub & Grub House" which apparently is a landmark iconic pub in Mysore. Most of the adults today had grown up drinking at this watering hole.

Mysoreans love their afternoon beer it seems :)

We tried their famous Garlic Vinegar Aloo and it was dillu! It was spicy and surprisingly had a hint of fermented soybean (bekang) I swear! We loved it so much.

This is a very cute and polite way of telling the customer, "Yo, its late and I want to close down, time to get your drunken ass home". :D

And this signboard *hearts* (zoom in on image if you can't read it).

We headed back to their house after a few more mugs of beer.

The lawn and swimming pool were breathtaking. I wished they had a dog or two, this was the perfect place to bring up dogs, but unfortunately, their family wasn't into dogs, though they had a cute stuffed puppy doll :D

Private snooker room…

Private gym…

Exotic chess pieces…

At around 2 PM, Utsav took us next door to Uma aunty's house as she had invited all of us for a "post Diwali lunch" at her house. Apparently, that had been a tradition among the two neighboring families since decades ago – The Diwali dinner party would be held at Utsav's house, while lunch would be held at Uma aunty's house the next day.

All the men had Gin, and apparently, that was the drink to have on a sultry lazy afternoon, but I decided to stick with beer…

I took a sip now and then though, and the Angostura bitters worked magic on the Gin!

Soon, it was lunch time. The awesome feast that Uma aunty had prepared for us.

I gained at least 5 KGs during these two days :D

The desserts were really good as well. I tried them all out, the shameless me :D

In the evening as the sun was about to set, Utsav took us all up to Chamundi Hills. The ride reminded me of my way to Montfort School, Yercaud. Quite nostalgic. There were a lot of winding hair-pin bends as we ascended up the famous peak.

Unfortunately, the entire place was crowded since it was the Diwali holidays. I did catch a glimpse of the Palace below covered in lights though. It was beautiful.

After that Utsav took us to the iconic Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel.

The place was classic AF. I really love the ambience. We sat down to have a few drinks.

Very interesting decors.

There was a movie shooting going on right outside the bar! :D

I asked the people there and they said it was a Malayalam movie.

The restrooms were also interesting…

There was this antique lift that took us to the first floor above.

A view from the terrace upstairs.

Like I said earlier, this is an iconic hotel, with many famous movies shot on this location. One of them is Amitabh Bachchan's "Mard". You can see this hotel in the movie poster as well.

Me posing on the hallowed steps of the hotel where revered actors had walked up and down many times while I just stood there with my Bacardi glass :D

The ongoing movie shoot in progress below…

After a few more drinks, we left the iconic hotel.

Utsav took us to Olive Garden for dinner. It is apparently one of Mysore's most reputed dine-out places, serving great Italian cuisine.

The place was beautiful. We were surrounded by a small moat filled with water. Ducks roamed around freely right next to us, quacking here and there.

I immediately had a craving for Roast Duck, but unfortunately they only had chicken, mutton and seafood. :P

Great food indeed! 5/5 rating.

We headed back once we were done…

Utsav and Nancy dropped us back to our accommodation… A truly memorable day spent indeed.

The next morning, Utsav had a conference to attend and knowing I was an early riser, he messaged me to ask if I was up. I was.

And so he came to our place and took me out for breakfast at "SPR Vegetarian", a famous restaurant franchise in Mysore, where I immediately went for the Pongal and filter coffee.

Their pongal was quite watery and felt a bit more like dal khichdi, but it was delicious nonetheless. The two chutneys were really good. I had to eat light though, as Nancy had invited us all for breakfast before we headed back to Bangalore.

By the time Utsav dropped me back at our apartment, Mytea and Hlutea were still deep asleep, lolz. Woke them both up and they cursed me as usual. We packed and headed back to Nancy's place.

Refreshing second breakfast :D

Some jobless selfies :D

The three of us left Mysore after that. I felt sad leaving the place, there was something about the city that held us back.

We went back directly to Bangalore without stopping for food on the way. We reached Bangalore around 2 in the afternoon. Mytea got down at Majestic and Hlutea got down at Kamanahalli.

At Kamanahalli, I met my hosts Zorini and Teteii.

I had known the two very well since my Bangalore days, and they were more than happy to host me when they heard I was stopping briefly at Bangalore.

We went out to shop for food the moment I reached, as they knew I appreciated a good meal :D They took me to a pork shop.

After that, I wanted to see my old apartment opposite Empire, Kamanahalli, where I used to live with Amos aka blogger angeldustandbones. Zorini and Teteii followed me as I tried to retrace my steps, but everything had changed so much! There used to be nothing but an empty plot of land near Empire back then, now it was all completely urbanized with shopping malls and large apartments. I couldn’t even find the lane that took us to our old home, dayyymmm.

I felt quite sad, to be honest.

Anyway, we headed back to their duplex house and refreshed for the dinner party. Zorini and me taking an official photograph together :D

Teteii made us shake hands, a formal way of Mizos greeting each other :D

Zorini, Teteii and I looked so different back in 2004 :D Next to us is another friend Madiki.

Those were the days "The Club" and "Club X" were one of the most happening places within the city… Sadly now, all the places I knew back then had closed down…

Back at home, we started preparing for the dinner party. Zorini made this strange concoction (phuahchawp fry) and it wasn't great at all :D We told her it sucked and she laughed so much.

Our guests, my two lovely second-cousins Muani and Zuali arrived.

You would have seen them in my Goa wedding posts as well.

With aunty Chhanhimi, their mom.

Teteii making Pork Roast…

Teteii cooked really well…

Family bonding time, with Isa, Muani's husband, and Carlos, Zuali's husband, and all their kids :D

The kids didn't seem to enjoy that much though :D

Chow time!

After a great meal and singing through the entire 80's and 90's popular music hits, we bid goodbye to aunty Chhanhimi, Muani, Zuali, Carlos, Isa and the kids.

I think I was a bit harsh to my niece Omomi's boyfriend because I kept questioning him about his background and intention (Mizo custom of makpa interview), even though Muani kept holding me back. I guess I am a little bit overprotective when it comes to family :) Apologies to Omomi though if I crossed the line.

The next morning, somebody screwed up the tea :D

Ah my two hostesses the morning after :D :D :D

A little bit of Bira Mohawk to get the afternoon started :)

The three of us went out to have lunch at Nandhini. I longed so much to have their famous "meals", and luckily for me, Zorini and Teteii didn't mind having such type of food.

Nandhiniiiii! I so miss this joint so much!

Started off with Bloody Mary. And of course no salted rims :D We assumed that was the unique Nandhini way :D

Yesss the heavenly meals! Unlimited rice and curry with overload of ghee, and my favorite was the podi!

After the wonderful lunch - Teteii was harassed by a cow :D

I decided to treat my wonderful hosts to a group foot massage because of all the things they had done for me, and so we went to Aphrodite Spa and Salon.

Good stuff :)

Complimentary stoles from the Spa :D

That night, I finally got to meet Anurag Zomuana in person. We had known each other for a long time online and I really love his WhatsApp group - "Corporate Mizos" where I got to know so many other Mizos working in the corporate sector. Luckily for me, he's Zorini's close friend and so she called him over.

He and his wife Zodini were super charming in real life.

Anurag posting our photos to the "Corporate Mizos" WhatsApp group, while I took a photo of him doing that and posted it to the same group. Post-ception! :D

Soon it was dinner time once again…

I left the next day for the airport at around 10AM. Since Zorini and Teteii were warning me about the traffic jam and stuff, I left early, only to reach the airport with 3+ hours to spare.

I spent most of the time at my favorite Alta Vita restaurant :) I started off with an Ice Tea to detox…

…followed by "Zuppa Toscano", a classic soup from the Toscano region made with Italian chicken sausage, crushed red peppers, onion, garlic, heavy cream and potatoes. It was Heavenly!

And for the main course, I went for the "Risotto Di Gamberi", a creamy Arborio saffron rice with sautéed shrimp and argula.

Yummm indeed.

And as I was waiting for my flight to Pune, look who I just bumped into :D

Varasadhi, my classmate of 6 years in school and 4 years batchmate in college. We had just met a few days ago in Pune before this, and meeting again at Bangalore airport was super funny. He was returning to Pune from his home in Theni with his wife and kid.

Soon we landed in Pune…

Overall, my two trips to Mysore (including via Bangalore) were extremely memorable, and it felt very good to experience such a feeling.

And another factor that made it quite special - on my first Mysore trip, Utsav gifted me a bottle of Glenfiddich…

And on my second Mysore trip, he gifted me a Double Black :)

Thank you so much for everything. My sincerest gratitude goes to Nancy and Utsav, the entire Aggarwal family and close friends, my Bangalore hosts Hlutea, Mapuii, Mimipi, Zorini, Teteii, and my utmost apologies to my dear friends like Nikhil, Sawmteii, Mami Kholhring etc whom I didn't find the time to meet up because of scheduled plans. Hoping to catch up some other time.

So cheers everyone. Here's to Mysore, and Bangalore partially. Until next time. Cheers.

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