April 23, 2007

A Trip Down Memory Lane V – The Food

One of my biggest regrets in Pilani was that NO ONE EVER baked a cake solely for me on my birthday. So what if it was during the compres? It’s true that people have atoned for their sins later and I have happily gorged on dinner and filter coffees and baked cakes from Pilani sent to me. But the grudge remained. The whispers from wingies were pretty audible. “Poor guy! He should have a girlfriend.” “Friends do not bake cakes during compres,” they would say over my treat at ANC, “get a girlfriend, dude.” Anyway, as one of my readers complained, my blog seems to be a happy blog, and I intend to keep it that way. So let’s talk about the good things. So here was this sweet lady who ACTUALLY baked me some of the best cookies I have ever had and we had not even met earlier. One of the most touching moments of my visit, I owe you one, lady.

The best part about going back is the treats, especially after your farewell treats at Bangalore, they never seem to be a pain in your pocket. I remember how carefully we used to fix up the menu, someone always keeping an eye on the budget while we were on campus. Anyway, when the talk about food comes, we have to talk first about the redis. My saviour during the really bad lunch days, the redis have not changed. As soon as I entered I went to have breakfast at Gandhi redi, the next day was Nagarjis. But nothing would be complete without mentioning Gulabji. The Vyas redi is not the best redi, neither is Gulabji a hot favourite amongst students but he will always hold a special place in my heart as my official gate call passer. In the lazy afternoons, Gulabji would bang on the doors of 132 Vyas and say, “Uth ja. Tujhe koi bula rahi hain.” In fact, after a few times, whenever he would see a known cycle, he would smile between his beard and moustache and quickly make a shikanji without even asking and while the rider rested he would have gone to call me. His kids are in school now and he is a happy man. I don’t know if we will ever sit down together and talk about Haryana Politics but I was really happy that he remembered Madhuban Banerjee. “Yaar tera name bahut tough hain. Aaj bhi nahin bata pata hoon.”

At C’not, Chimpu has a new offering in the form of Khas. People now do not know the birth story of PPW, Sharmaji’s is not the favourite of people anymore. All flesh eaters have deserted GD; everyone goes to Nobles. Annapurna is deserted most of the times. I still consider it one of the best Dosa Makers of India. When I went in to Annapurna’s and ordered Haldi Doodh, the guy gave me a huge smile. It seemed someone had ordered Haldi Doodh after a long long long time. Sharmaji loved Rahul more than anyone of us in DOPY but because we were Rahul’s friends and more importantly DOPYites, I always managed to get huge discounts on Moruchaya/EPC/personal/non-personal/impersonal treats too. So I was actually happy the DOPY decided to sit down for dinner at Sharmas. The food has not changed even after all these years and so has not the Sharmas. Everyone in the family is a Sharmaji, it’s just that, to each one of us, Sharmaji meant one of them.

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