In search of Masala Dosa
Its a sunday morning. The breakfast is cereals. My mind rebels. It craves for something spicy and exotic. Like fish and chips or the humble pao bhaji. Anything but the healthy cereals that are on offer. I try to find co-conspirators in this rebellion but my family members are lazily celebrating the Sunday morning and are loath for any revolutionary activity. I google and find the nearest Kamat's, a mere 1.5 km away. But the parking is scarce. No worries - its a 19 minute walk or so says Google. I trudge on the dusty pavement encumbered by litter, homeless and dog poop. I dodge the multiple double parked cars, monstrous (and empty) BEST buses and the gargantuan construction sites of the Mumbai Metro. They seem to have dug up every available square inch of this city's footpath and precious roads. It really takes away the joy of walking. I reach the Kamat's three minutes faster than what Google has predicted. It is closed. There is a Cafe Coffee Day but now I am fixated on the Masala Dosa. For a few minutes I stand perplexed. I decide to go to Churchgate. Afterall, whenever in doubt, go to the railway station. All the answers lie there. I flag down a cab. It is a 10 minute ride before I disembark in front of Eros. I enter the concourse of Churchgate looking for inspiration. Tibbs Frankies? Vada Pao? Wheeler's Bookstall? The trains are running about 5 minutes late I notice discordantly. I exit the station and move to Shiv Sagar. Its a really tiny place which can barely seat 10 people. And all the seats are occupied. Somehow I derive a vicious pleasure from this apparent discomfort. Soon, the waiter beckons me and points me to a freshly vacated seat. I share the seat with three others who are sipping on their respective Mosambi Juices. I order a Masala Dosa and it arrives without fuss. It is steaming hot and rolled neatly into a triangle. I dig into it greedily, almost singeing my tongue. Soon I am done with the all but the masala part. I order a plain dosa. Like a domesticated elephant is used to tame a wild one, I consume the masala part with the new and crisp plain dosa. The filter coffee arrives just as I am taming the last bits of the masala. In my hunger, I have gobbled up the dosas too fast. And now I want to leisurely sip on my coffee. The Mosambi Juice drinkers have long left and the seats are empty. The waiter is looking at me impatiently. There is a family of four waiting. They are looking menacingly at me. Their hungry eyes imploring me to finish my coffee fast. I finsih my coffee, pay and leave with an uncomfortable feeling of distended stomach. A good brisk walk should help me and my recently stuffed tummy. So I walk to the Flora Fountain and look up the booksellers on the footpath. 'The lives of Indian Princes' catches my eye. I am in no mood to haggle and the shopkeeper is quoting ₹350. I move away and catch a cab back home, the quest for Masala Dosa accomplished.