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Masala for the Soul

I walked in to the hissing sound of dosas getting crisper and the aroma of madras coffee making me feel at home and hungry. Sangeeta, this is where my family frequented for tasty, cheap wholesome Indian vegetarian food. My family is particular when they ate out, my mom would be more than happy if she was offered a trip to the kitchen and check have a check on the cook.
Mummy was fasting the whole day (leaving no stone unturned for her darling daughter to find a husband); we walked in early evening- right in time to break her fast and start the feasting. As she settled in for mini tiffin (an appetizing combo which comes with a serving of masala dosa, mini idlis, vada, upma, rava halwa and a nice steaming filter madras coffee) and a poori bhaji; rava dosa for dad, and I settled in for a paratha and mango lassi.
Something about Sangeeta what I always liked were the people who came here. You could find young mothers relaxing with hot rich milky teas while their little ones have a difficult time deciding on which color chutney should they dip their idli next ; families with big shopping bags marveling on their latest bargains over long glasses of watermelon juices ; young lovers conscious of the open space and people watching them, and still enjoying the syrupy gulab jamoons; tired hungry laborers cooling themselves by the cold air blast by the air conditioners! The crowd fascinates me.
It is such a thrill to hear Indians speaking in Hindi, Tamil, Telgu, Malayalam, Bengali, Gujrati as they walk in. It is absolutely fine to speak loudly, laugh heartily and feel Indian here!
Like any other day today was no different. The same crowd, the familiar faces, the appetizing aromas; the Sangeeta feel which I was enjoying while sipping the cool mango lassi. As I was trying to get a piece of the fruit from the drink, my eyes spotted a difference in the crowd.
Everything around me got blurred as my focus shifted to this school of people who occupied 3 tables together and trying to decipher whats written on the yellow plastic menu card. The energetic waiter comes with his white notepad in hand to take the order from this special group, and was left feeling helpless as his guests struggled to pronounce utopia (oedipal? or was it odhapas?) to puliyagre (pooligaras something like that), doubts regarding the difference between paper dosa and neer dosa ; is mini idli a kids combo meal (comparisons to the Happy Meal from McDonalds in mind) and many questions which the waiter tried to answer with his broken English with lots of Tamil backing!
An unsuccessful two minute struggle between our far eastern guests and the periye waiter anna kept going, when a smart kid among them points to the plate at the next table and says “Get me that!”. “Masala Dosaaa!” exclaims the relieved the Tamil waiter as he happily scribbles in his notepad and begins to look around at plates around and they decided to point out what they wanted to eat.
As I walk out with my parents I enjoy the gleam in the eyes of the ‘Chinkis’ (as referred to people with oriental looks in India) as plates of dosas and vadas arrive accompanied with small steel bowls of sambar and an array of green-red-white coconut chutneys!


About sithararajesh

I am fascinated with this world!!!

3 responses »

  1. Manu papparambil

    good one well narratel i liked that water and the money exchange part

  2. Dear Sithu,
    please, promise me that if I ever get back to the UAE (inshallah), you will take me to this place!! I love masala dosa, and all the other above mentioned meals actually, and I love Indians and all their beautiful languages.. So far, my favourite restaurants in Abu Dhabi were Bhavna (Hamdan street) and Foodlands (Mussafah), but I’m ready to try more..of course with you! 🙂 Great writing, keep on giving us these thoughtful, tasteful, heartful etc. experiences! 🙂
    Orsi kutty 🙂


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