Can't Keep Up With My Pune Photos! [en]

[fr] Des nouvelles de Pune. Les photos viendront, mais j'ai de la peine à suivre!

Help, I can’t keep up! I’ve settled down nicely now and been taking lots of photographs — in the University campus while walking the dogs with the Shindes, and in Laxmi Road yesterday with Mithun and family (got to meet his lovely wife, and his mother is an absolutely fabulous shopping partner).

Pune 218 Laxmi Road Shopping.jpg

So, I’ve been busier, with less time to sort photos and write, and I’m falling behind. And now my dad has arrived, so it’s going to get even worse!

After a couple of days here, I started to feel an urge (a) to come here more often and (b) to come and live here again. Of course, it goes back and forth, and I’m regularly very happy to be living in tame Switzerland — like when a rickshawallah agrees to take me to IUCAA, leaves the meter running at the petrol station, refuses to stop it when I tell him, and then dumps me at the university gate because he won’t go into the campus. Or when I’m trying on something that is clearly too small for me and I’m told repeatedly that it fits me perfectly (no it doesn’t: if I reach forward I’ll rip the fabric, and I’ll have to get into really uncomfortable positions to get out of it). Or when I ask for size 9 sandals, am told the size 6 I have in hand is a hand 9 (upside down, see?), and that my own size 9 sandals are bigger in size than their “size 9” because they’re Kohlapuri chappals. Gah.

But aside from these little frustrations, I’m thoroughly enjoying my time here. My Hindi (er Hinglish… my Hindi teachers would be appalled) is slowly coming back, I’m remembering the roads and generally how to deal with the world around me.

I tested the Pune Twitter connexion, with great success! Thanks in particular to MrShri, SahilK, and ZoebAsif for helping me out with my laptop repair (not my laptop, don’t worry!) — and all the others I’ve been in contact with upto now.

Right, I’ll try and make a little progress with these photos, before heading out to MG Road again in a bit!

A Few Days in Pune, and Dress Material [en]

[fr] Quelques premiers jours à Pune!

I’ve been in Pune for a few days now. So, what have I been up to? Well, mainly, hanging out at the Shindes.

I remember that during my last visit here I spent days on end just reading and chilling, and feeling a little guilty that I wasn’t “making the most” of my stay. But I realized that India for me is also simply about slowing down my pace of life, which includes reading (and writing) and chilling — and watching Nisha cook so I can steal her recipes.

I’ve been out a few times now: twice to MG Road, once to Ambedkar Chowk, to Pimpri and to Parvati to pay a visit to Pradnya, who was Bagha and Cali‘s vet when we lived here, and is now the Shindes.

Pune has changed a lot, but it also hasn’t. There are flyovers and big glass buildings and malls and huge petrol stations that weren’t there last time I came, but other things seem almost just like I left them: my choli-maker is still in service, as is my jeweler, the Pune Coffee House in Camp still exists as do many of the shops I went to, and most of the people I knew are still around.

The trip to Pimpri was epic: three different rickshaws to get there, none of them by the meter, of course. Good thing there were “six-seaters” somewhere along the way (I use brackets because they’re not really six-seaters, they’re just normal rickshaws in which people pile up).

Dress material in Pimpri, my favourites from shop #1 Dress material in Pimpri, my favourites from shop #2 Dress material in Pimpri, my favourites from shop #3

My ambition was to find a pink and silver salwaar kameez in today’s fashion. My dresses are clearly a little out of fashion, and I spotted a few cute pink ones on the street with silver embroidery. Ready-made would have been ideal given I’m not going to be in Pune for long, but after trying on one or two I quickly gave up: even the biggest of their biggest XL was too small for me. I moved on to dress material, but without finding something what I was looking for. Some nice things, of course, but not what I had in my head. If only I could draw clothes! I did see something approaching what I wanted, but… in green. Oh well.

What I'm actually looking for, but in pink

Maybe I’ll just end up buying fabric and having a shot at drawing (gasp!) something.

Pune de tous les jours en photos [fr]

Cet article a été initialement publié sur le blog de voyage (voir l’original).

Quand je suis arrivée en Inde pour la première fois, j’ai été frappée par le fait que l’Inde quotidienne en ville n’avait pas grand chose à voir avec les photos que l’on peut voir dans le National Geographic. Alors bien sûr, les photographes du National Geographic sont excellents, et leurs photos aussi, et une belle photo, c’est aussi un peu par définition une photo qui fait rêver.


Ce choc initial m’a donné envie de photographier les choses qu’on ne photographie pas. Les choses banales, les rues banales, les choses auxquelles on s’habitue parce qu’elles font partie de la normalité. Les prises électriques et interrupteurs, par exemple.

La plupart des photos de mes trois premiers voyages en Inde ne sont pas en ligne. Mille dias et quelques films pour mon année passée ici, et une bonne dizaine de films pour les visites subséquentes. J’ai trié un bon bout, j’ai fait un album ou deux, mais scanner, c’est cher ou ça prend du temps. Ça viendra. Lors de mon dernier voyage, j’avais un appareil vidéo numérique avec moi. Beaucoup de séquences vidéo dont je n’ai encore rien fait, et une bonne pile de photos quand même (de qualité douteuse selon les critères d’aujourd’hui).

En 2011 (bonne année!), munie d’un appareil numérique et d’un iPhone 4 avec instagram, j’avoue que la tâche m’est grandement facilitée. Je sors rapidement et discrètement mon téléphone, je prends la photo, j’envoie, et hop, c’est sur Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook et tout le reste. Je ne me limite pas à mon iPhone, bien sûr, mais c’est un outil précieux.

Allez, je vous fais visiter un peu.

Un immeuble en construction:


Stand de fleurs à Laxmi Road (si seulement je pouvais vous faire sentir!):

Pune Laxmi Road at Night (India 2004) 2

Des amis étudiants qui jouent au tennis:


Stand de légumes et de rickshaws:


La lessive des voisins du dessous:

Pune 47 Rickshaw Ride Back to IUCAA.jpg

La maison où je loge en ce moment, mon ami Shinde et un de ses chiens:

Pune 45 Rickshaw Ride Back to IUCAA.jpg

Vue typique lorsque l’on voyage en rickshaw, ici dans le campus de l’université (magnifiquement vert et calme):

Pune 44 Rickshaw Ride Back to IUCAA.jpg

Loto de nouvel-an:

Pune 14 IUCAA New Year.jpg

Nisha qui rajuste une de mes kameez (en sept ans, disons pudiquement que j’ai pris un peu d’épaisseur ;-)):

Pune at the Shindes 8.jpg

En train d’attendre un rickshaw (avec effet de filtre instagram):

Waiting for a rickshaw

Et pour terminer, vous sauterez bien dans le rickshaw durant deux minutes? Petite séquence vidéo 🙂 — on entend d’abord le conducteur demander si on va jusqu’à l’intérieur du campus (c’est le cas), et Shinde dire au chien de rester tranquille derrière nous (on rentrait de chez le vétérinaire). L’Inde, c’est aussi ça!

Nisha's Prawn Bhaji [en]

[fr] Crevettes!

Another recipe! Yes, we eat more than once a day here 🙂

Week-end delicacy: we had fish and prawns for lunch today. I’ll post the fish recipe separately. The prawn recipe is pretty easy if you get the prawns already prepared — otherwise it’s quite a lot of work taking the shells off, as I got to see.

  • remove heads, tails, and everything you’re not going to eat from the prawns
  • mix the prawns with lemon, salt, haldi, ginger-garlic paste; leave to sit for a few hours
  • in a flat pan (Nisha says to use a tava, not a non-stick pan!) fry curry leaves, onion (quite a lot) and a little salt (the prawns are already salted so not too much salt)

Getting ready for the prawns

  • add a chopped tomato (not too much because there is already lemon in the prawns) — let the onions brown a bit
  • add a teaspoon of tandoori chicken masala and one spoon of red chilli powder (Nisha tells me she’d put two in if it were just for her and Shinde, they like it spicy)
  • stir the prawns in and cook slowly (no water!) — stir once in a while but mostly leave it alone until the prawns are cooked.

Pune - Prawn Bhaji in Tawa

Eat with chapatis!

Giving Yesterday's Daal a Second Life [en]

[fr] Un petit truc pour ressusciter la daal de la veille en y ajoutant d'autres épices.

Here’s what Nisha did the other day to give a second life to leftover toor and mung daal. Take a small pan and fry the following in oil, then add to the daal:

  • cumin and mustard seeds
  • garlic (crushed cloves)
  • red chilli powder
  • coriander leaves
  • goda masala

Add the coriander leaves and goda masala near the end, you want to roast the rest for longer.

Nisha's Toor and Mung Daal [fr]

[en] Une des deux recettes de daal que je fais régulièrement.

So far, when I’ve been making daal in Switzerland, I’ve been doing either Aleika’s masoor daal recipe, or this one — which I’ve had for some time but never written up. Time to do it!

  • boil toor daal and a little mung (roughly a quarter) to a paste
  • add chopped tomatoes, mix and cook a bit
  • in a separate pan, heat oil, half a spoon of black mustard seeds, half a spoon of cumin seeds, curry leaves, 2 green chillies (chopped if I remember correctly)
  • add turmeric (a quarter spoon)
  • add to the daal (or add the daal to it, but be careful, it will spit! the daal is water and the oil is hot!)
  • add a teaspoon of salt or to taste, and lots of chopped coriander leaves

I usually make a lot and freeze it in handy portions — comfort food!

Nisha’s Famous Sweet Sheera [en]

[fr] Une autre recette de Nisha à base de rawa, sucrée cette fois.

Here’s another rawa dish of Nisha’s — a sweet one (see upma for the salty one). I really think I need to get myself a karahi, because pans with flat bottoms just don’t seem to cut it when it comes to making spices and stuff swim in oil or ghee. I’m just wondering if a karahi is compatible with an electric stove like the ones we have in Switzerland. Anybody know?

Nisha's famous sweet sheera for breakfast

  • heat quite a lot of ghee
  • add half a cup of rawa and mix them together — the rawa absorbs all the ghee
  • mix in half a small banana cut into little pieces, and mash everything up
  • add in cashew nuts (broken up), raisins, and pine nuts (I think they’re pine nuts)
  • heat half a cup of water and half a cup of milk separately, then add them in
  • heat for five minutes, add lots of sugar, and some green cardamom powder


Love the Chaos [en]

Shinde and I took a rickshaw across town today, and as soon as I was in the streets of Pune, I was gripped by this now-familiar feeling of elation I get when being on the road in India. I get it on the ride from Mumbai to Pune — despite the stink of the slums we drive through, I can’t stop smiling and want to jump up and down in my seat.

What I love here is the chaos, and nowhere is it more present than in the streets and traffic. Vehicles, roadside shops, painted signs all over the place. It’s ugly, but it has some kind of rickety beauty in my eyes.

Hard to say if it’s just because it represents a lot of what India is to me, and I have a bond to this place because I lived here, or if there is also a more personal dimension in play: being a pretty controlled (controlling, ouch!) and organized person, maybe I find some fundamental excitement in this seemingly disorderly sprawling mass of life.

Pune at the Shindes 1.jpgPart of this chaos: Flickr is acting up, so I can’t upload the photos and video sequence I took for you from the rickshaw. They’ll be online later, when I manage.

In the meantime, keep an eye on my “India snapshots” album (photos I’m taking on the road with my iPhone and instagram) and on the growing collection of Pune photos taken with my proper camera (which I’m still learning to use, so forgive some technical clumsiness).

Lunchtime: Nisha’s Sweet Aloo [en]

[fr] Encore une recette indienne de Nisha.

Another recipe! I already have one of Nisha’s aloo recipes from my last or previous visit (aloo = potato) — I have it in my notes but haven’t published it here yet — here’s another, more saucy one, and somewhat sweet (not that sweet, though).

So, here we go:

  • in enough oil, add mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves, and salt (the mustard seeds start popping when you put them in if the oil is hot enough, and the curry leaves will fizz — give them a few seconds before continuing)
  • chopped onion: add and let it soften
  • then, add red chili powder (quite a bit — Nisha added a teaspoon and a half for two smallish potatoes… a good handful when chopped up), garlic/ginger paste (Nisha liked my idea of freezing it in an ice-cube tray), coriander powder, and goda masala
  • add in the potatoes, a tomato, enough water, and cook
  • after a while add in some jaggery or sugar

Goda masala, which I’m discovering for good today, is a typically Maharashtrian spice mixture. There are of course multiple variations if you want to make your own (see one, two, three for starters). I’m going to buy some to bring back (hear that, Raph?)

Here’s the dish, somewhere in the middle of the cooking process:


And jaggery, if you’d never seen it.

Weird sweet thing Nisha doesn't know the name of

Bon appétit!

Breakfast of the Day: Nisha’s Upma [en]

[fr] Recette de l'upma de Nisha (petit-déjeûner indien).

I promised myself I would steal all of Nisha’s recipes during this trip. Here’s the first one: her upma. This is what it looks like:

Nisha's upma for breakfast

And here’s how she made it:

  • heat enough oil in a karahi (maybe I should get one? I wonder if it would play nice with my electric stove)
  • throw in mustard seeds, cumin seeds (half a spoon or a spoon each), curry leaves (give those 15 seconds before continuing), a spoonful of urad (urid) daal (you can replace the daal with whole peanuts) — let the daal go brown
  • add a green chili broken in half, onion, salt, and let the onion soften for a bit
  • add two small cups of water, chopped coriander leaves, a little sugar, and bring to a boil
  • add rava (roast it when you buy it before storing it in an air-tight container), turn the heat off, stir well, and let it sit for a few minutes
  • remove chili and fluff it up before serving

You’ll have to figure out the exact quantities through trial and error 🙂