About ten years back, my dad, a cop with the Mumbai police department, was in-charge of Dharavi police station. Every night, or every morning (if it was a night duty), he would come home distressed and in a generally foul mood. Dharavi does that to you. Back in those days, when the Hindu-Muslim communal tension was very high in that area, he would be constantly on the edge, on or off duty. He recalls an incident when two “warring” communities, killed a guy in a gang war like situation, and they told the police that they would sort it out themselves. The police need not intervene! These so-called ‘bhais’ or hooligans were always ready to take law in their own hands.
Fast forward ten years, and on last Sunday he went to Dharavi with his daughter. In his entire police career of 25 odd years, I had not seen any of his police stations. When at home, he is a milder and warmer person. But in essence, he is quite a strict fellow. His voice turns hoarse, brisk and commanding when talking to his fellow comrades. I love to see that part of him. Love to see the power which he commands, even now after retiring from the department. So when I said that I want to visit Dharavi with Akshay’s aunt Sonali (a terrific writer), he was taken aback. Or may be not. He forever knew that I have this keeda in me, and that someday his little daughter is going to do such ‘outrageous’ things like visiting places he kept us far away from. Nevertheless, he agreed to come with us. (There was no way he was going to let us go alone.)
Dharavi, is entirely different now than the glorified slumdog kind of place. It is so much better than what we have seen in the movies. I can go on and on about Dharavi, but in the next post.
For now, I was seeing my dad in a different light. A Dharavi fixer (Dharavi resident who takes you on a tour for a fee), Mr. Peter accompanied us on the three-hour walk. We shopped insanely at the Kumbhar wada (potters corner), walked down the narrow alleys, watched Lijjat papad making women, and chatted along all the way. He was telling us anecdotes and incidents which had happened when he was there and was marveled at the changes that had occurred in the last ten years. It was Dussehra, and everyone was dressed pretty and doing pooja of their tools of work. We would stop and talk to the residents, click photos, and be a part of their lives for a few moments. Some of them even invited us in their home to be a part of their pooja and to take blessings. It was a very heart-warming experience.
Now if you know my dad, you know he is quite a no-nonsense person. For the entire time I kept thinking, now he is going to ask me to stop talking to random people, or stop taking their pictures. He is going to get disturbed with the fact that his daughter is in such an infamous part of the city and, would ask us to turn around and head back home. Strangely, none of that happened. He enjoyed every minute of it. And once or twice I even saw him looking proudly at me. (Yay!)
It was a beautiful day, and a walk that I will cherish for a long time to come. Do you have some favourite days with your dad? Do write in, I would love to read.
In the meanwhile, I made this Oreo Cheesecake for my best friend’s brother. It looked beautiful. Black and White. With just one 8oz pack of cream cheese, it is frugal and still very delicious. I used Philadelphia cream cheese which I stock up on my monthly trip to Crawford market.
What you will need :
- 28 Oreo cookies, ground to a powder in a mixer
- 3 tbsp regular butter
- 1 pack / 225 gms / 8 oz. cream cheese
- 70 gms powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 egg
- 70 gms fresh cream
- 2-3 Oreo cookies, chopped up
What to do :
- Line an 8 inch pan with parchment paper, both base and the sides. This step is very crucial as the cheesecake cannot be inverted and has to be pulled out of the pan and parchment removed. If you have a springform pan, feel free to use it.
- Mix together the ground oreo cookies and melted butter and press it into the pan. Smoothen it out with your fingers and press it tightly in.
- Whisk together the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl until smooth.
- Then add the egg, followed by fresh cream until it forms a smooth mixture.Add the vanilla extract/ essence.
- Pour this mixture over the crust in the cake pan. Top with a few more Oreo cookies.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 160°C in a water bath for 35-45 minutes. The centre should still be a little jiggly. The water keeps the heat in the oven gentle.
- Once cooled, refrigerate the cake for at least 3-4 hours before slicing up. It tastes much better when cool.
Look out for:
- It is somewhat tricky to unmold the cheesecake from the springform pan or from the parchment paper. Be careful while doing so, and do it only after chilling it for an hour.
- For the waterbath, fill a bigger vessel (which fits in your oven) with hot water and place the cheesecake filled pan in the water filled vessel. The water should come upto about half inch of cheesecake pan. This prevents the cheesecake from crumbling and getting dry.
p.s : The cheesecake slipped from my hand while unmolding, and this is what happened : Smudged.I remolded it and gave it to my friend. Got reports that it tasted awesome. Now don’t fret, sometimes such accidents happen. 🙂