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15 October 2007

Home coming......

Though I was born and bought up in Kerala, and did my engineering there, I have so far not considered myself to be a malayali. Having been outside Kerala post my graduation and having worked in different parts of India, I proudly display my 'cosmopolitanism' on my sleeve..(Aren't my engineering collage friends going to hate me for this?...)

I am a foodie and am equally at home in the tamilian taste of Saravana Bhawans as well as the Kannada taste of the omnipresent 'Sagar's in Bangalore. I relish the tandoor's of Punjab with the same intensity and enthusiasm as the Indian made chinese noodles. While I dig the spice of Andhra, I crave for the sweet of Rajastan. The doklas of Gujarat are my passion and rasagollas of Kolkata are my devotion.

You see, I am a Cosmopolitan foodie and am proud of that fact...

Over the last few days, I am in Dubai, staying in a place called Bur Dubai. This place is littered with Indian food of all tastes, be it the Vasantha Bhawan of Chennai or the 'Chappan Bhog' of wherever or the ubiquitous Udupi Restaurants. Being the true cosmopolitan that I am, I never bothered to choose between them and used to frequent these establishments at random.

Today morning while going for a walk, I came across a very small restaurant called 'Taste of the Town'. For those of you who know Dubai, this place is in Bur Dubai, behind Burjuman Center, on Bank Street, opposite to Apsara Supermarket. I saw a few malayali waiters roaming around and assumed that it is just another Indian Restaurant. Out of curiosity, I went inside and asked for the menu.

Much like the commentary of a US Soccer game, the waiter started reeling out the items. Out came the menu in torrents, Porota with egg masala, alu baji, 'kadala curry', sada dosa, masala dosa, poori baji, Appam with stew, alu baji, egg masala, dal curry......

It was a Kerala restaurant and I ordered an appam and alu sabji.....

Maybe I was hungry, may be I was longing for it in my subconcious, whatever may be the reason, I was soon relishing the food. It was excellent and was significantly different and tastier than the appams and alu baji ('Urula Kezhangu Masala') I had eaten in many of the restaurants in the last few days. The chutney had the unmistakable smell of coconut oil, onion and red chilly (which is typical of Kerala) and the baji was made with home made masala of Kerala. The food was delicous.

Soon it dawned on me. I was eating 'my' food. The food that I had grown up with. The taste which was flowing in my vains despite my years of cosmopolitanism. There were memories associated with this smell and taste. The memories of growing up pangs, the happy memories of eating out on my own or with my friends, the memories of eating out after going to temple in the morning, just getting into a restaurant and ordering something on the fly and feeling contented and relaxed after the stress of exams........

I was back home in Kerala.

The food reminded me that, wherever I go, whatever I do, I am still a keralite and will remain one no matter where I go.

2 comments:

Ramya said...

Hi, nicely written..
You think more of where you belong when you're in a place where you dont belong much ;)

Ram said...

Wow!!. At least in Dubai, you are more of an Indian than when you are in India. There are many more vegetarian restaurants here than you can see in Bangalore, I think.