Kolkata Highlights

Dadu with his four great-grandchildren

First off, Happy New Year!  I hope your holidays were filled with great food and good cheer.  We got back from Kolkata last week and are finally back in the groove.  As far as India trips go this was a pretty tough one.  But I took two kids under 5 halfway around the world – did I really think it was going to be easy?!?  The flights alone completely drained all of us.  The kids were uncomfortable and none of us got any good sleep.  And after the tough journey was the jet lag.  There is a thirteen and a half hour time difference so basically our day was totally flipped.  It was a full week before the kids were on sort of the right schedule.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

After all those hurdles, we still had to contend with India.  Even after traveling there so many times through my life, I still forget all the hard stuff that is completely unavoidable in any Indian city like the pollution and filth.  The kid’s socks would be black on the bottom by day’s end.  And generally, it takes three times as long to get anything done.  There is a huge unskilled labor force in India so it seems like there are tons of people to help you but of course, they are much less effective than you would think which is why the simplest things (like getting a high chair) seem to take an eternity.  Before I had kids this was a minor annoyance, but now it is a major hindrance.

The feast from Arsalan

Before I had kids I would travel to India to eat, shop, travel to see amazing sites like the Lake Palace in Udaipur, and watch my heart’s fill of Bollywood films.  With Shiv and Ishani in the picture, the only thing I am still really able to do somewhat is eat.  So I definitely walked away with foodie highlights.  The best meal we had was from Arsalan.  And we also got to try the legendary Flury’s which was a big treat.  I will cover both in more detail in a future post.

But perhaps, most importantly, we made a trip to Arjun’s ancestral home in Howrah and I got the fish chop recipe that I was hoping to acquire.  I’m hoping to give it a whirl in my

kitchen in the next couple of weeks and will dish about the results here!

Ishani trying her first fish chop

The top of the list for non-food related highlights was the time we got to spend with Arjun’s grandfather.  He got a big kick out of meeting Ishani and she was appropriately charming.  Arjun had the great idea to film me interviewing Dadu about his life which was pretty fabulous.  It got Dadu out of his shell and honestly, really excited him.  He was fussing over his outfit that he would wear for camera which was pretty sweet to see.  It is not everyday an 87 year old man is that concerned with his outfit.

We also discovered two pretty great kiddie activities for anyone who is thinking of braving the trip to Kolkata with young fry.  We spent a great morning at Science City.  They have an entire exhibit devoted to dinosaurs which Shiv just ate up.  Even Ishani got in the spirit and started roaring like a dino.  We also rode the tram which was a big kid pleaser.

The outdoor play area at Science City

And lastly we went to Victoria Memorial and had a horse carriage ride which made me nervous (because we were right in the middle of Kolkata traffic) but of course, the kids loved it.  Afterwards Pompy, Arjun’s sister, bought the kids these ridiculous devil’s horns which frankly made for an awesome photo op.

My nephew, Shaan (5), Shiv (4), and Ishani (1). Victoria Memorial in the background.

All said and done, it was a successful trip.  No one got sick and we made it back safe and sound.  And the foodie inspiration I acquired there will be with me for months to come as I tinker in my California kitchen.  I can’t wait to share the results of my cooking experimentation with you!  Stay tuned….


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