If all you want is rolling mist , the trill of birds , green pastures with cattle grazing and if you have a high tolerance for volatile weather , then Malshej is perfect . Most websites suggest a trip to Malshej after the initial monsoon spell has washed the rugged Sahyadris clean and the benevolent mountains ( that is what Sahyadris are called ) wear their prettiest greens .
July is when tourists throng to Malshej to take a dip in one of the innumerable waterfalls that bring this place to life . Since we were travelling with our 16 month old , we thought it better to travel before the peak monsoon season and landed there in the second week of June .
Thankfully , when most places have long lists of things to do and things to see , Malshej is an exception. Do what you want , see what is there to see – the broken ranges , the dark clouds looming over them , trees dancing in the breeze ( it can get extremely windy ) , drive down to the dam at Pimpalgaon ( about 5 km away from MTDC , Malshej ) , sit and feel at peace . These are things that I did , am sure you will find your own sights to see and experiences to have once you get there .
The white particles you see , strewn over the rocky shore, are mollusc shells .
The place behind MTDC , the view from my room.
On the last evening there , I saw one of my favourite images – an old couple walking hand in hand to enjoy a few quiet moments with the mountains. It made me feel happy and hopeful 🙂
For me , Malshej was not about the magic of monsoon , but about my little girl watching the majesty of the mountains in awe , her clapping when she saw a bird fly by and her giggling when the breeze made her curls tickle her cheeks !
“ Not again” , mum said as she looked at the damage . This was the second time in three weeks . This time it happened as her daughter was crossing a flooded street in the torrential downpour.Strong gusts of wind had upturned her umbrella , broken its ribs and left it in tatters .
Born and bred in Mumbai , vada pav has always been my snack of preference over misal Pav . Vada pav , or the Indian burger , is an ‘ on the go’ snack , whereas misal Pav needs you to sit , soak in the spicy lentil curry and then proceed. It has been my dad’s favourite and the ones I have seen being served in Mumbai are less elaborate than the one in the picture above .
Misal in Marathi means ‘ mixture’ and the dish is just that. A mixture of lentils ( sprouted mothbeans mostly ) curry , spices( Goda masala is used for the curry , a local blend of spices) , topped with farsan ( fried salted snack ) or sev and chopped onions . It’s best to squeeze in a little lime juice to bring out all the favours .
What you see in the picture is what I ordered recently at a dhaba on my way to Malshej Ghat. The man at the counter suggested I try it and I didn’t want to disappoint him , so I agreed . What was suppposed to be breakfast , looked more like lunch !
What you see is the bread ( Pav) , the misal ( spicy curry with lentils ) , some curd ( in this case it plays the fire extinguisher ) , chopped onion and lime , curd , a small bowl of extra curry ( incase you need to dunk your bread in ) and sev ( yellow salty noodle like snack ) .
It was hot but delicious . Nothing like the milder versions I have tasted here in the city ( I haven’t tasted a lot ) . I managed to finish it all and skipped lunch as a result !
I wonder why misal is under rated . It’s healthier than deep fried vadas and packs a punch in terms of proteins . Anyway , am glad I had my first whole meal of misal finally and I know this is the first of many 🙂
They look at each other completely exhausted from all that’s happened in the last few days . This is what they’ve been waiting for . The end . Their bags packed , he turns off the lights , she runs through her list . Not a word said . He leaves with his bag , she with hers . They walk silently to the car park . As he enters the car , he looks at her . She looks happy and why shouldn’t she ? This is the end . The end of another hectic week . Their weekend getaway awaits 🙂