In life, there are always things that you set out to make a success out of it. There are others that become a success without you even knowing it. Blogging Marathon
is an event, a group that's been so successful because of the enthusiasm each and every member who joins the group, has shown till date.
With a blog that was going on full swing, with cramped events and other things I always end up doing, wanting to start new blog just because my son wanted his picture, sounded very silly. Yet I ventured into it, hoping this will be a forum, a medium, through which I could share my vegetarian recipes, Kid friendly dishes and Diabetic Diet. But as they say too many things happen and you don't know what hit you, same happened and I wasn't even updating the space after a while. That's when I decided to do a marathon.
Blogging Marathon started in Jan 2011
and we reached 25 Editions this February 2013. About 70 bloggers have been part of this group till date and some 25 bloggers who have been doing the Marathon more frequently. When we realised we would be reaching a Silver Jubilee soon, somebody suggested we all meet. And that caught on!
This was nearly some months back. I wasn't even sure if we would actually do it. Then Vaishali
suggested we all visit her place, with reasons as to how we would actually get away from our home, spend time with friends and have a different experience. When I mentioned this to Hubby dear, he was all for it and soon made me book tickets! Of course there were hundreds of emails in between, and nothing actually looked feasible.
Vaishali with her unflinching sweet nature, persuaded many of them to take up the trip. When we booked out tickets two months back, we still felt a bit unsure if we will actually do it. Then this 8th February, when five of us met at the airport, with families in toe, it felt so real and the very trilling. This was my second trip on my own. The first time I had gone all the way to SF, at least this time I had friends along the journey.
Along with me, I had Padma
. We were enjoying out journey, peeping out every now and then and capturing the pictures. At one point, we saw a long rope like object that was so dry and we didn't know what it was until it struck us that it could be a dried up river and within minutes we saw Sabramati river in view. The first sight was so captivating.
We landed in Ahmedabad at quarter past ten. Vaishali along with Archana Potdar
was there to receive us. As we made our way towards the hotel owned by Vaishali, I fell in love with city. For a person who never thinks another place other than Madras is beautiful, this surely was a great feeling. The roads were so wide and clean and the weather was so cool.
Did I mention that Vaishali and Pradnya were insisting on a dress code for all three days of our trip? Well dress code when we landed in Ahmedabad was supposed to be in shades of Red, Pink and Orange. So you can imagine all of us in that shade and we took a while to get out of the Airport. You can check out the below picture to see that.
Another funny incident that happened before we all could get out of the airport was the incident Vaishali and Archana had. They saw a group of ladies in red and they were wondering if it was us. Since they hadn't met any of us, they had their doubts, when all of a sudden a male joined them! They were flabbergasted at the near escape they had in not approaching them! Looks like the Friday was a day for Red and pink. They were laughing away when they saw us and shared it with us.
We reached The Nest soon and were welcomed by Vaishali's Husband and staff. She had even had a big lamp ready to be lit. When I was singled out to do the task I was so shy and called out everybody to join me. It was really such a wonderful feeling to be honoured like this. Thus started our three day sojourn of great friendship and extraordinary feeling.
We literally had to rush through as we had to get ready for the BM Chef select and we had a contest to do. Though I wasn't really keen on participating, I just did, knowing sure well the expertise of my fellow BM'ers. Vaishali's hospitality is out of the world! Just as she does everything so well, this was no different.
She asked us if we would want to visit their hotel Kitchen, all of us looked if it was a question to be asked even!. So bang we went in, about six of us, and saw different things happening at the same time. The kitchen was a busy place and I don't think the staff really liked us in, however they were such a sport and tolerated us for three days. Imagine being disturbed with crazy people who were busy clicking away food and not bothered about people. Vaishali introduced me to the Chief Chef, he was too fast in his language for me to understand clearly. However I tried my best to follow.
Nandini got her 10 month's old Son, whom we started calling Baby Choo, he looks exactly like Baby Bink of Baby's Day out. He got Kichidi made and it looked so appetising for us.
He showed me how they start their day and the things they prepare ahead, the three basic gravies that's made, bhuna masala etc.
The lunch had Lollipops with Garic sauce, Paneer chilly, Tandoori Salad, Papad
Followed by Fried rice, Paneer schzewan, Paalak Corn Gravy, Capsicum and Tomato Stuffed Garvy with Assorted rotis, ending with Chas.
We didn't have any dessert, can you imagine why?
This is why!
These were the dishes that everybody got in for the BM Chef contest. The Chef Judge was Vaishali's Son, including her family including, her husband, daughter and her MIL and of course her cute grandchildren.
We were supposed to be judged on Taste, Presentation, Innovative.
The judges complained that it was pretty tough competition. And we were happy hearing the appreciation each of us were getting. Whether the judges were indulging us or not, the test lies in the eating right. And the kids were coming back for second and third helping of some of the dishes!
Vaishali outdid her self with her Pani puris, including 6 different panis, the dal was channa dal. Obviously we were blown off! Hers occupies the centre stage!
who joined us for after lunch came with her cute little 3 yr old son. She was the master brain behind all the planning and helped Vaishali with the Itinerary planning. She got in a delicious plater with tarts, and different fillings along with Paneer cigars. The one arranged as a triangle is her dish!
Rajani made some 7 different cookies, and she claimed she didn't want to participate for the contest. Yet everybody were so taken in with her cookies.
Padma got Sunnundalu, the authentic Andhra Sweet. Know what, this was one of the dishes that kids kept coming back and she even made a batch for them on the final day! She decorated in a muffin liners.
Nandini presented a very innovative Chocolate Bruschetta,
Archana got some authentic Goan Dish Churma, and Danish Dream Cake.
Kamalika got Palkova.
While I had taken Kajas
The above were some of the misc pictures I captured.
Vaishali arranged for a photography session with her friend. It surely was a good learning session. I am sure you can find the difference in my pictures and the others too.
After the Photography session, we exchanged gifts. It was a feeling that felt like you were back in school, exchanging gifts happily without a care in world. It felt like Alice in wonderland, looking and opening each gift. Only difference here being, almost all the gifts were food related, be it actual food or props!
The paper bags were the goodies that Vaishali gifted us. The picture in the left centre one were all the gifts all of us got for each other. All the gifts were so thoughtfully made and got, and I am sure my friends will agree that we couldn't meet Vaishali's goody bag. We were shocked, thrilled and felt out of the world checking out her bag, everything was handmade, so thoughtfully done.
Tinkers that we were browsed through in the early evening!
After the shopping was done, Vaishali took us to another heaven! The street food Joints. It was a gastronomical experience at the best. Imagine a bunch of Food bloggers let loose on a road that hosted so many chats, fast foods. It boasted of Ragda Pattice on Pani Puri, Dal Vadas, Masala Puri Sev, Tawa pulao, Gujarathi Pizza, Pav Bhaji.
We literally didn't know which one to attack first! The tawa pulao was too delicious. Kamalika was so taken in that she said she would pack some for her folks back home.
While we were busy attacking the food, one of us actually told the cook that we would want to watch the Tawa pulao being made. All of a sudden there was a commotion and I didn't know what hit us! All of a sudden I saw Kamalika, Archana and Nandini running with their Cameras. I almost thought it either started raining or something else happened. It was amusing to see them getting ready to click pictures of the pulao being made.
The Gujju Pizza was amazing, the base was a thin crusty with Pav masala topped with 2 inch grated cheese. It was simply divine to dig in!
We thought we didn't have space for anything, but guess what. Vaishali ordered Kulfis, Kesar, Chocolate and Regular. Gosh being spoiled for choice was a hard thing.
It was nearly 11 pm when we finally decided to get back. PJ
flight was at midnight and I was going to pick her up along with Rajani. Though I had spoken to PJ so many times, I hadn't actually seen her. So it was fun finally putting a face behind the voice and the blog!
When we came back to the hotel it was almost nearing 1 am and we just crashed out, as we had an early morning thing planned!
This is end of Day 1, come back to read what we did on Day 2!
I know it's really a long post, I tried hard to short it as much as I could. The memories that we got are still fresh, the friendship that formed and got sealed with this trip, were much more than what I can say!
Special thanks to Kamalika, Vaishali, PJ and Padma, for the sharing the pictures used in this post.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 25