Mom came home this year around Diwali, and we decided to go over to her brother’s (my mama) house in Kanpur to celebrate the festival of lights. This was the first time after marriage that I wasn’t celebrating Diwali at home. I missed decorating the house, making rangoli and lighting the diyas on Diwali. BUT, I had an awesome time at Kanpur!
Since our plans were rather last minute, there was no way we were going to get train reservations. So, we did the next best thing — fly. Delhi to Lucknow (30 mins) and then by taxi to Kanpur (1 hr 15 mins approx).
I was going back to the city after about 15 years…and the area where mama stays is just the same. Those same narrow roads, which of course can’t change, a lot of the same shops, the halwais that I remember being there…it was a trip down memory lane. As we used to when we were kids, we were staying at mom’s cousin’s house (my masi), which is a 5 min walk from mama’s house.
Filkhana and Viranha Road to Kanpur are what Chandani Chowk is to Delhi. Opportunities for photography abound, but being Diwali time, and seeing as I was wearing salwar kurtas and chappals and having to manage duppatas and my purse (so, no chance that I could bolt at the first sign of an eve teaser or chain snatcher) and was constantly running between mama’s house and masi’s, I had no time to pause and capture even one single image. Crummy. Well, I guess we’ll have to keep it for next time.
My cousins were also there, and so every evening all of us youngsters would get together and go out on a gastronomic adventure. I had the most awesome bhelpuri this side of Pune at Bombay Bhel House, tried tikka rice, which was a HUGE disappointment, and had yummy butter chicken from Babas. And since winters had set in, we had malai makkhan every day for breakfast. For the uninitiated, this is the most heavenly, lightest, awesomest sweet dish that you can have — ever — and it is available ONLY during winters and ONLY in Kanpur. I’ve heard that it’s available in Old Delhi too, as Daulat Ki Chaat, but those who have had both say that nothing comes even close to the malai makhan you get in Kanpur — only at Filkhana.
We also managed to squeeze in a trip to Lucknow — a shopping trip for mom and masi and an overnight halt to visit relatives and friends for Abid and me. And of course, while in Lucknow, how could I not squeeze in a shopping trip too? Picked up some lovely chicken peieces — both kurtas and suit materials — from Hazratganj. All in all, a pretty action-packed, fun-filled Diwali!