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Make the most of the Mumbai winter

If you've always wanted to sign up for that heritage walk or a get-close-to-nature-camp but have been dissuaded by the usual heat and humidity, this year's extended winter is really something you ought to take advantage of. Anjana Vaswani draws up a list of things to do before the mercury rises

Model and Personal Trainer Rayomand Irani lives within a stone's throw of Dadar's famous Five Gardens. "It's such a pretty space," he shares. Irani, who spends most of the year training his clients at the city's gyms, recommends using the pleasant weather to one's advantage. "I do take clients out for jogs these days," he admits, explaining, "This is the best time for outdoor training because the weather really supports you. You don't get dehydrated and it's really great fun to be outside in the cold." 



Outdoor training poses a problem in the summer as people can't push themselves as much then. "In this season, you can go for morning walks, cycle or enjoy a nice jog or even try a combination of outdoor exercises, depending on your stamina." But he also highlights, "Concrete can be very hard on your knees, ankles and lower back, so jogging at Marine Drive routinely can be problematic." Irani therefore recommends a change of scenery. "Some days opt for a grass course, you could run uphill on other days or you can even jog on the beach for a change."

Call Rayomand Irani on 9820037470

Chill on the weekend
PR and marketing professional Nisha Khiani who moved to Mumbai from London some years ago, was thrilled to be able to take her kids, Tanvi and Saisha, camping in the winter. "It was a pampered experience," she laughs, telling us about the serenity of camping by a lake during a Khopoli trip she signed up for with Big Red Tent. Mansi Mhatre, coordinator, letscampout.com tells us that their company organises camps every weekend. For adults, the trip costs Rs 2,500 for a weekend (half price for kids up to 12 years of age), inclusive of food. Aside from adventure activities there's marshmallow roasting around a nightly bonfire and barbecues to enjoy.

Call Mansi Mhatre on 9819813493

Twenty-six year old Dadar-resident, Benita Fernando's love for photography was ignited when she signed up for a Mumbai Weekend Shoot outing over a year ago. "I just picked up the camera and started shooting," says the lecturer at SIES College. Fernandes loves outdoor photography, but realised quickly that taking these pictures would mean waking up very early in the morning, as adequate sunshine is essential for a good shot and Mumbai's summer afternoons get too hot. But at this time of year, Fernandes, who uses, "an entry-level Nikon D 5000 camera," says, "Even late in the afternoon, it's not impossibly hot. Besides, I find, the quality of light at that time of day is ideal in this season and the sky's colour comes out really well in photos. "Around 4 pm or half past 4, in this weather, I find that even the most ordinary spot lights up perfectly."
Contact: mumbaiweekendshoot.in

Have a picnic
It's a great time to pack a picnic basket and make a trip to Powai Lake, Sanjay Gandhi National Park or even to Chota Kashmir in Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon (E). Rani Baug (Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan) at Byculla makes for a decent spot too.

Alternately, the serenity of local gardens like the Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens (Hanging Gardens ) at Malabar Hill and Colaba Woods, also make them ideal for picnics. If none of these appeal to you and you're still stuck for picnic ideas, or simply don't have someone to picnic with, log onto Bandra Picnic's website to look for upcoming events (they even have a Facebook page). 

Contact: www.bandrapicnic.com/bandra

Family-time's at Steak
Everyday's a party in the Divecha household with sisters Yasmin and Naheed married to brothers Karl and Rushad, and six kids between the two families, both of whom reside in the same Malabar Hill building. A winter barbecue is a veritable ritual with them. "We have a lovely space downstairs and when the weather is as good as it is now, Karl likes to have our friends over," says Yasmin, mother of 15 year-old Ariza, 13 year-old Dinshaw and 11 year-old Armand. Armand, in fact, played a special role at the family's pre-Republic Day barbecue this year. With a neatly tied apron declaring his official post, we watched as the young man adeptly flipped meat patties and sausages on the grill. Take a cue from the Divechas, and get barbequing with small portable grill and a good cookbook.

See the city as a tourist
There's no better season to take that ferry to Elephanta Caves or to hop on the double-decker heritage tour buses. But before the BMC gets the Victorias off our streets, this is also a great time to enjoy one of those rides by the Marine Drive promenade, Dadar Chowpatty, Juhu Beach or the Gateway of India. With Valentine's Day around the corner, these may make for novel date ideas, and imagine how much you'd be saving on those restaurant bills!

MTDC's open-deck bus ride would usually be painful to sit through with sweat washing down the smog that no doubt would settle all over your face. But the idea of an hour-long evening ride on one of these buses, in this weather and at the reasonable charge of Rs 120 per person, isn't nearly as terrifying.
Contact: MTDC at 22024482, 22024522 and 22024584
smdmail@mid-day.com

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