Top story of the day:
“Masala Dosa has made it to the list of “10 foods to try before you die”, compiled by a US based media house”.
I humbly and respectfully say that’s no big surprise, at least to me. For the benefit of those who came in late, I reproduce an earlier piece of mine…
Pizzas or Dosas?
In my early years in Mumbai I used to be very religions – what made me turn an agnostic later I know not- and would visit the Siddhivinayak temple at Prabhadevi every Sunday; it is said to be more auspicious to have this Ganeshji’s darshan on Tuesdays but I could never make it, it being a working day – of course I could have gone there in the evenings but the serpentine queues deterred me.
I lived in Vile Parle in a makeshift lodge, large room with a balcony, on a rickety building that went by the name Borker House. The fellow who owned the place (not exactly owned it but he had lien on it being the legal licensee, the pagri system was very much in vogue even in Bombay proper) and rented it out to us was a stern-looking, squint-eyed, elderly fellow-Kerala Iyer who also owned a Madrasi restaurant named Radhakrishna Hotel located at the junction of Nehru Road and station road. Eight of us holed up in the lodge and each paid a princely sum of Rs.13, no, not daily (as is the practice everywhere now), but a month! One of the strings attached for letting us use the lodge was we must take at least one meal in his restaurant and that we buy a monthly meal-coupon booklet worth Rs.40, the sound reasoning being even if worst came to worst he would have at least eight diners every day, even though he did have a large regular clientele.
On most of the days my breakfast consisted of a plate each of Uthappa and Idli Sambar and I wolfed it down with a cup of tea and the bill would be no more than 80 Paise, the individual items costing 35 P, 25 P and 20 P respectively. It may look dirt-cheap now but it was at a time when my paycheck weighed no more than 350 bucks but I must stress it wasn’t too bad. On Sundays I would get up around 7.30 in the morning, finished my daily chores and boarded a local for Dadar and, en route to the Prabhadevi Ganesh temple, had my breakfast at Vishawa eatery at the corner of D’Silva Road and NC Kelkar Road, bang opposite the Kabutarkhana. The Vishawa snacks were much more delectable, only slightly costlier at Rs.1.10. I had my darshan and then either returned to Parle or went straight to my usual Sunday haunt at Matunga where one could get authentic Kerala or Madras fare; the Kerala eatery went by the name “Society” and the Madras one was “Concerns”; why “concerns”, it still beats me.
Things that used to my routine and the passage of over 37 years have not dimmed the freshness in my memory.
One now sees the pizza craze everywhere: there are outlets of Smokin Joe, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Domino living cheek by jowl and teen brigade wolfing it all down with unalloyed relish. Dial a number and it is delivered in half an hour flat (or else you pay nothing, the outlets brag). All these come at a cost: a minimum of a 350 bucks. Are the calorie-laden (rich cream & butter) pizzas, otherwise utterly bland, worth it? Can they ever hold a candle to the earthy Masala Dosas that cost just a fraction?
When the first McDonalds opened their shops, our usual troublemakers were up in arms and damaged their glass panes, furniture and fixture costing lakhs, all based on the ill-conceived perception that their non-veg menu contains beef.
However, the American fast-food chain kept its cool and their franchisees seem to be laughing all the way to their banks selling pure junk food that cost a fraction to make, at astronomical prices. Hats off to their perseverance, persistence and marketing techniques. Salelog ko man na tho padega, they make an ulloo out of everyone!
Moderator: Potato Chips and Masala Dosas are evergreen favorites of all!