Sneha: Watch what I eat

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. 

Really?

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.”

 Damn!

Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

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