Just got my health report – cholesterol – bad, sugar – borderline, low blood pressure, the works.
Diagnosis – watch it.
She: “Let’s have lunch.”
Me: “No, no, Have to watch what I eat and exercise.”
She: “Then let’s do simple South Indian khana.”
Me: “Good – let’s go to Sneha.”
We missed the place, almost. But then my eyes fell on the typical ambience that small south Indian restaurants share – sad reception counter (manned by quirky manager), table-chairs cheek to cheek and steel cutlery. Sneha’s – the queen of small southie joints in Mahim.
We head in, corner a table. The waiter approaches, we take in each other somewhat hesitant. Till I talk to him in Malayalam. And how things change! Suddenly, he’s spilling out entire menus, meal and my meat options. Only to have his spirt curbed when I tell him can’t have fried, oily, or masala stuff. She takes charge – asks for veg options.
His face goes – Really?
He rattles off breakfast options – the regular ‘dosa-idli & sambhar’ combos. She stares at him.
I take charge – tell him to get sada dosa and kadala (chick pea) curry. She likes it, he nods a hmmn.
She interrupts again – obviously not happy. A short interrogative session later, we decide along with the earlier order we go for Kerala (fat brown) rice and thoran, a coconut-based veggie dish with cabbage and French beans. To me, instead of yum they all sound glum.
Seeing my weepy face she relents – lets me have one Surmai fried-fish piece.
The food arrives. We dig in. The kadala curry is the highlight. But there’s not enough. She gets a call, has to take it. That’s when my man sneaks in a free fish curry to me. Mallu-Mally bhai bhai! 😊
The curry is the awesome tangy tomato twister with bits of fish in it.! My brain goes – if the curry is such, then the fish will be!!!
She’s still busy. “Psst, Ek surmai curry”. I sneak the order to the older waiter passing by. One look in my eye, he gets the scene. Off he goes.
I eat slow – real S.L.O.W. And I watch. Other denizens, men seeking a meal, couples, local traders – ordering, discussing, sharing – the food bits and everything in between.
The fish curry arrives, she’s still on the phone – her eyes bulge. I ignore and help myself.
She puts away the phone. I smile in guilt – when the old waiter appears again.
“How was the curry?”
She smiles. Pure ice. I oblige – “Good, but spicy.”
“Why don’t you try the banana fritters?” the asks.
I looked at her. She sighed. “Alright – but that’s it”.
He brings it. We enjoy.
We walk out.
I go – “Should we get a taxi?”
Nope. We are walking.
She throws it back at my face. “Watch what you eat and exercise. Remember.”