Chinese Prime Minister (PM) Li Keqiang currently in the country, has left the Capital’s hot, sticky and tricky terrain. Tricky because there was plainspeaking with Indian PM Manmohan Singh, a small protest by Tibetans, Ladakh incursion and more things of why India don’t play love thy neighbour with China.
Li Keqiang has been in Mumbai to attend a business summit, amidst other appointments. While ensconced at his suite in the Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba is a good place to be, here’s an off-the-beaten-path zara hatke itinerary for the Chinese Premier.
Eat Chinese Bhel at Juhu Chowpatty
India takes the China route with this fiery desi-Chini concoction of fried noodles doused in sauce. Li Keqiang can stop at any roadside nukkad (corner) and have Chinese bhel but Juhu Chowpatty is our recommendation. The spice will remind Li Keqiang that in aamchi Mumbai too, we can unleash our inner dragon.
Get on to a local train, Keqiang
Keqiang ji if you know kung fu, you might need to use it to board a Mumbai local at rush hour. Take one from Churchgate station and go up to Borivali. Buy the Chinese head massager that you get in the trains for just Rs 100. It works on battery or with an adaptor. If there’s a short circuit in your brain, Keqiangji, you only have your country to blame. Sar joh tera chakraye ya dil dooba jaaye aaja pyaare paas hamare kaahe ghabraye, tu kahe ghabraaye...
Watch Chandni Chowk to China
Li Keqiang might need the head massager right after this one. We suggest he trot off to a DVD store and pick up a DVD of a movie called Chandni Chowk to China. It stars Deepika Padukone as a Chinese martial arts expert and Akshay Kumar as chef! Asinine dialogues and an inane plot — we hope talks with our PM, the reticent Manmohan remember he earned the name ‘Maun’mohan Singh? were better than the dialogues.
I say a li'l prayer
It might be a bit of a detour, considering the city’s lone Chinese temple is tucked away in distant Dockyard Road. Housed in the See Yun Kon building, this over 80-year-old temple is the abode of mighty warrior Kwai Tai Kon that houses the main deity — General Kwan Tai Kon. At the gold-painted altar, the General stands supreme, two menacing lieutenants behind him. We’re sure the stop would be worth the trek and the time.
The Grateful Dead
Since on a detour already, it might be a good idea for the Premier to drop by another chapter from the city’s illustrious multi-cultural fabric with a visit to the two Chinese cemeteries at Antop Hill that are believed to have been around for over two centuries. Now in decrepit shape, there was a time when the area constituted as one of the settlements for Cantonese sailors and their families, who worked for the East India Company in the 1700 and 1800s.
With inputs by Fiona Fernandez