However, the hype was growing over the days of all that was going to be opening at LuLu Mall. The indoor rollercoaster, the skating rink, a bowling alley, plenty of eateries, including McDonalds, and much much more. The day finally dawned and LuLu Mall was opened to the public amidst much fanfare...and record breaking traffic! Our neighbours, Benson and Anupa, pitched in their loyalty for the LuLu brand and went on the first day itself, braving two and a half hours traffic for a distance that would have been covered in fifteen minutes on a regular day. We were the luckier for it, for they came back with grand stories of the new mall in town and all the goodies within. My ears pricked up when I heard about the hypermarket which contained everything and anything that we would require, especially meats and cheeses!
That was enough to get my interest going. The next day was Monday and as soon as Rehan got back from school, we made our way to LuLu, with the expectation that there would be less traffic as it was a weekday and school exams were going on. We figured it was wise to go before the vacation season started at the end of the month as the place would undoubtedly be a zoo with out of town visitors. We were right and despite it just being the second day of opening, we were at LuLu in fifteen minutes and were soon driving into the copious parking lot made for 3500 cars.
The Hypermarket was beyond comparison, THE highlight of the place. A truly international level supermarket with stacks and stacks of goods. Even though most of the grocery brands on the shelves were those we could get outside, the very fact that they were displayed in stacks higher than us with many of each item staring out at us, just filled my heart with joy. Other than the self serve aisles, there were also special counters for all kinds of imported cheeses, olives, cold cuts, nuts, chocolates...ah the list goes on.
Needless to say, with such wonderful produce available, the hypermarket also had an entire ready to eat food section occupying an entire side of the store. There were sections for chaat, Chinese food, Kerala specialities, grilled chicken, an entire salad counter with arabian and regular condiments, bakery items and live jalebi and aish/qubus counters. Like in Arab countries, the Aish/Qubus were constantly rolled out on a conveyor belt and delivered oven hot in packets of five. It was interesting to see so many people carrying out dozens of packets of the hot Aish. Am thinking many were folks who had lived in the Gulf at some point, where this affordable staple bread was such an integral part of their lives there. As for the jalebis. So so so so sinful! Am so glad I only took 250gms, otherwise we would have polished off even a kilo of those treacly sweet monsters!
|The CROWD at McDs!|
The rest of the mall, other than the stores that have opened, is still coming up. Most of the entertainment consoles are not up and running yet. Some of the food court restaurants have opened, but nothing really caught my eye as being different to what is already available in other malls. There is a branch of the legendary Kozhikode based Paragon restaurant opening up in the mall, which is something to look forward to. They also have some fine dining options coming up as well, but somehow a fine dining place that doesn't serve alcohol just doesn't fit right. I actually would love to know what kind of restaurants they have planned for the Marriot Hotel that is coming up within the LuLu complex. I had a brief moment of excitement when I saw something called Aroma Thai in the list of outlets at the Mall. Yay! Finally a Thai restaurant in Kochi, I thought! That excitement was nicely doused when I realized that it was the name of an upcoming salon cum massage spa in the mall!
|The Sunlit Atrium|
All in all, the visit to LuLu was highly satisfying and if nothing else, it brought a semblance of a new world to Kochi. How that pans out in the future is something that we just have to watch and see. As parents and responsible citizens, it is important that we give due recognition to ventures like these that bring a sense of prosperity to the land, but at the same time we have to make sure we are not over consumed by it. Malls should not become the only arenas for our children to have outings, just because it easier and more convenient for us to buy them fun in cool environments. We are blessed with a lot of avenues of recreation in this city, and it is up to us to make full use of them.With the vacation season on, am racking my brains to figure out ways to keep the children entertained, in the outdoors, without falling prey to the heat!
realized we better make our trip over fast! Its a different thing that they decided to extend the Biennale till the weekend on that day!
|Bright As A Nano!|
|The different faces of Art|
|With the growing city as witness, a unique memorial|
|The cocoon of negativity, all set to be burnt away|
|Pepper House Courtyard|
|A porch full of stories...Pepper House|
|Artwork of children from various schools in Kochi|
Now I await Dec 2014 for the next Biennale, to show my kids how their hometown Kochi blooms internationally on the art scene. Well done to all those who put this together. It was one mindblowing effort!
|After the Biennale, the famous painted Nano was exhibited at the LuLu Mall...right next to McDonalds!! Could not end this blogpost of mine on a better note!!|