Write Here, Write Now: Mehaa Seth Marwah

AmericanDesi – Mehaa Seth Marwah

Reaching out to blogger Mehaa Seth Marwah (owner of American Desi by MSM) was a no brainer for me. As a Californian who had chosen to move and settled in India, Mehaa set up her blog, American Desi by MSM as a way to document her transition as well as explore things that she loves. Looking to debunk the views that moving back to the East is often considered as ‘Reverse Migration’ and a disadvantage, she is shining a light on what India has offered her and why so many more people are choosing to settle there.

As a North American citizen, Mehaa was born and raised in California by an immigrant Punjabi Family. Having to flit between her Eastern and Western side, Mehaa had to adapt to her life in America and work with both sides of her culture. Being a studious young student, she was able to skip a school grade which meant that she was able to enrol into University at the age of 16.

Being drawn to Psychology and human behaviour, Mehaa pursued this in her study and gained two Bachelors Degrees in Marketing and Psychology. During this time is when Mehaa met her husband. They were introduced to each other through family and he was based in Delhi, she revealed that their first “international phone call that was 4 hours”- how romantic! From the get go they got on and since January 2013 took it in turns to visit each other.  Following her graduation with her Master’s, came the wedding in August 2014 and she had moved to Delhi to live with her husband in September 2014.

This blogger’s initial apprehensions abut moving to another country were eased by the knowledge that she knew her husband was right for her.

“He was the one thing I was sure about”

 Being used to an independent life in the USA, Mehaa was now getting accustomed to her new life in India. She found that “everyone underestimates me because I’m from the US”, and found ways to get around this. From tackling the roads in India, to indulging her hobbies, to working for her husband’s in laws. Bringing her marketing skills to the family business she began handling the business social media pages and found her love for writing.

After a few years, Mehaa decided to take a sabbatical to re group herself and get away from the hustle and bustle of the move for some time. During this time Mehaa began her blog and began documenting her experiences and transition time in India.

Living in Gurgaon, just outside of Delhi” Mehaa noted that there are a lot of international companies there so felt a sense of belonging here because of the diversity of people from different places. Speaking a mix of Hindi and English, comes a blend of “Hinglish” which was an apparency where Mehaa and her husband live.

“It’s a pretty young place and there’s lots going on”

Recognising her growth as a person whilst being in India, Mehaa has now taken her love for fashion and beauty and woven it into her blog -American Desi, by MSM. Using the surroundings around her, Delhi became a hub for beauty and fashion events which she attended. Still learning and adjusting to India, it is clear that she is very happy there. I loved hearing about her evolution and making the most of her environment, she made me consider a trip to India myself!

Travel Diary: Rajasthan, India

Travel Diary: Jaipur

With quarantine blanketing our daily lives, it seems a lifetime away since any holidays or trips. In the midst of Covid-19, a reflection of my trip to India is what seems to be taking over my mind and what better way to document that journey than to share it with you lovely lot.

Having not been to the motherland in over 10 years, my recent trip was my first visit back as an adult. Having travelled to Punjab and Rajasthan, I will be particularly reflecting on my time in Rajasthan, Jaipur. This was a trip with my parents and two aunties…

As we drove into Jaipur, I was under the impression that the ‘Pink City’ would not be so literally pink. It was magnificent! In the late 19th century, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur had the whole city painted pink in order to celebrate the arrival of Prince Albert. Every building and wall are still to this day maintained and thrives as a pink hub.

Our hotel was called the Golden Tulip. On arrival the entrance seemed grimy and I’m not going to lie I was a bit worried, however, once our driver passed through the car tunnel the actual hotel entrance was a calming contrast to the street on the other side (phew!). We were greeted by the politest staff and throughout the stay they were fantastic. The hospitality industry in India never fails to impress and the staff in Jaipur were no different- not many people would put up with the number of pictures I made these guys take of me!

CITY PALACE: hoping the Prince will stumble upon me being candid as hell

Our 4 days in Jaipur were overflowing in history and food and we were lucky enough to have a driver who bought the honesty of a true Punjabi to Jaipur. Following the 8-hour drive from Punjab to Jaipur, we went straight to the hotel restaurant which filled our bellies, ready for the epic sleep that would prepare us for the next day.

The overall feel of Jaipur magnified with each and every sight, from the historic buildings to the traditional jewellers that made you feel like you were in Jodha Akbar (which I actually visited the palace of- *squeals). We found a Hindi speaking tour guide – literally came up to us in the middle of the road – who showed us the beauts of Jaipur and thank god that one of my auntie’s had exceptional Hindi speaking skills – because I butcher that ish.

I did have the pleasure of going to an elephant sanctuary, however, on reflection I’m not sure how much of a sanctuary it was. I still let the tourist in me take over and went on a short elephant ride, but next time I would definitely ask more questions about the care of the animals.

The Top 5 sites that I would recommend in Jaipur, signed sealed and delivered by myself would be:

  1. Amber Palace – This old school architecture will seriously blow your socks off.  This palace was a military marvel as well as a representation of old Rajasthan.
  2. Hawa Mahal – Literally translates to Palace of Winds.  I would come here at night to see the many windows light up. Back in the day, princesses could sit in here and look at parades down below without people being able to look in (major stalker set up I reckon).
  3. City Palace – This is home to the royal family, even today, and is a chance for you to learn more about Rajasthani monarchy and India’s interactions with Britain at the time.
  4. Rajmahal Palace – this gorgeous palace was one of my favourites, and not just because Bollywood movies were filmed here… The intricate designs and grandeur of this foundation made me feel separated from the built up word outside. Like I was inside a story, cringe I know, but it’s true.
  5. Jal Mahal – This palace floats in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake and because of the rising water level is not yet open to the public. It is rumoured that renovation means that the public may soon be able to visit inside in the next few years. For our trip, we gazed at the structure from the river side. I saw Jal Mahal at sunset and it was amazing, next time I would go at night when the Mahal is lit up.

Jaipur is definitely a must if you’re visiting India, and was a great first trip for to the state of Rajasthan. Can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of the state and, indeed, even more of India.

If you dare to dream of a post Covid-19 holiday:

Golden Tulip Hotel: https://jaipur.goldentulip.com/en-us?arrival=2020-03-29T00:00:00&departure=2020-03-30T00:00:00&rooms[0][adult]=1&rooms[0][child]=0&location=

Wannabe Foodie #7: Dishoom, Carnaby

Having never seen this spot without a waiting list, I had to give Dishoom’s delights a try. I decided to opt for the Carnaby branch and it was not a disappointment!

As there was a lunchtime waiting list, we headed to the bar to try some of the infamous bottomless House Chai (until 5pm). The flavours of spice blend and warmth of was a perfect way to save us from the rain outside. We were seated fairly quickly and were seated under the skylight, on the lounge sofas. This spot is great for a lunchtime catch up and if you don’t mind a relaxed eating area, this is perfect!

We decided to order a selection of things so we could share and try different things. We went for:

Far Far is a crispy snack, that has the texture of a prawn cracker and salty too. This a a great way to start off the meal if you’re starving because they come out so quick, but if I was to skip something off the menu it would definitely be this. Compared to the rest of the menu this is not the most exciting.

Chilli Cheese Toast is exactly what is says on the tin. Delicious, melted cheddar cheese on a thick slice of white bloomer with the kick of chilli. This was a delight and a no brainer for veggies!

Paneer Tikka, is, straight up, the way to show that you cannot have enough cheese. Paneer is a milk curd used a lot in Indian cooking. It bears resemblance to the texture of tofu, but with subtle flavour. At Dishoom it is marinated and charred and served with green peppers. Delight!

Okra Fries in the house!! Taking lady’s fingers and turning them into a deep fried delight. Truly a display of finger food and how Dishoom make vegetables amazing. Try these dipped in the selection of sauces and chutneys that they give you.

Gunpowder Potatoes, I think were my favourite in this veggie feast. Taking the humble potato and grilling them with seeds, spices and fresh herbs, this is a gem. I could eat a whole plate of this on it’s own, and the heat of the aloo (potato) goes well with cooling raita.

Pau Bhaji continues to showcase the versatility of the aloo and is true that carbs are the one! Pau Bhaji is a bowl of mashed, spiced veg served with a hot, buttery roll, homemade of course. Great accompaniment with tea and if you want to nip in for a quick snack.

Although, you might be questioning the absence of meat, this vegetarian feast was fabulous and, being a meat eater myself, I did not feel its absence. Indian food is renowned for it’s flavour and flair with simple ingredients and Dishoom elevates that!

The service here was fabulous! Not only were we constantly topped up on out bottomless chai, but we were always checked on. The waiter was great at explaining what each dish was and recommended complimentary dishes.

Price: ££

Check it out: http://www.dishoom.com/