Jun 21 2012

Mantralaya Fire, June ’12


A wild fire engulfed Mumbai’s very own Mantralaya on 21st June 2012 from 2:45 pm, after employees in the building probably must’ve just finished lunch. Some say it was a ‘saazish’ to destroy all the ‘Adarsh scam’ files and some say it was a short circuit that struck the 4th floor and then went upto the 7th floor.

I’ve never witnessed  such a huge fire and since I stay close by, I left my place and reached there by 4 30 pm and decided to do a photo story. The Mantralaya, for those who don’t know houses offices of the chief minister, key ministers and top officials. So this was a very important event and I went to capture it. Roads were blocked and there was a huge traffic jam starting from Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade. When I had reached at 4 30 pm, one side of the fire was almost under control whereas the other side was still growing. I could hear so many blasts from where I was standing- computers, acs, etc.  bursting, window glasses breaking and falling down and what not. Tons of fire engines, ambulances and police personnel, NGOs and NSS students from KC college were there.  I didn’t see the point in so many fire engines being there though because barely 4 to 5 of them had hose pipes that could reach so far and extinguish the fire. The others were just standing there and occupying space, going back and forth and making the cops shift us more and more behind. Luckily I had carried my DSLR which is why noone stopped me and I could continue shooting as a part of the press.

It was crazy ‘cause when the front side’s fire was almost doused, the right side was up in flames. Now, there’s a petrol pump just next door and I was only hoping that the fire wouldn’t spread and touch the petrol pump. Luckily it didn’t. Mad fire went on for more than 5 hours! All in all, it was something that shouldn’t have happened.

After standing for more than 3 hours, my feet were aching and I thought its best to go back home with the photos I got.

While going home, I stopped by next to Bandstand garden, had sugarcane juice, Maaza, bought Perk and Fatatat and went home. So yeah, quite an adventure it was! (Note: This line has been purposely added to highlight how lightly the incident was taken by the fire department of Mumbai and the government of India that it felt like an adventure being there and witnessing it. No offense.)


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Nov 21 2011

Nawabs, Colaba- Review


I was waiting eagerly to try this new restaurant that’s opened very close to my place and we finally tried the food last night.

Food– Nawabs, The Taste of Awadh is meant for non-vegetarians because there are barely 5-6 dishes for vegetarians out of which one is Biryani! Here’s what we called for: Mix veg (a mix of onions and a few other vegetables without any gravy, very ok), Zafrani Paneer (creamish gravy with so much coconut I felt like throwing up after the first bite!), Veg Biryani (spicy and decent tasting), Roomali Rotis (roomal-less, only plain chapati which wasn’t even soft), Ulta tawa ka parathas (the man on the phone said ‘it’s our speciality’, but it was hard and had nothing to boast about!) I had also tried their Firni before and that too, was disappointing. So yeah, almost everything we had from Nawabs sucked!

Service– We decided to call for the food at home rather than go to the restaurant as it’s a small place and it was a Sunday and guess what? There too, we were extremely disappointed. Considering we stay barely 10 steps away from the place, we should have got the food in half n hour max? OK theek hai, Sunday, lots of deliveries, etc. so throw in 15 minutes more… But no, they took one and a half hours to get the food! Absolutely ridiculous isn’t it?! Agar time lagne wala hai toh pehle se bolo na? Obviously then, I’d give the place a zero for their service!

Prices– The prices are fine. Rs. 100 for the biryani, Rs. 120 for the Zafrani Paneer, Rs. 70 for the mix veg, Rs. 30 for a Roomali Roti (Chapati), Rs. 60 for a crappy ulta tawa ka paratha. Non-veg would be a little more obviously but I think you’d spend a maximum of Rs. 200 per person if you ate non-veg. Our bill total was only Rs. 400.

Verdict– Sorry but this place will shut down very soon. There aren’t too many positive things to say about this new restaurant and when the main thing- the food is so bad, there’s not much to keep the place alive. So, save yourself the trouble!

Rating– 1/5

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