Saturday, November 19, 2005

One man's dhaaba is another man's adventure

There’s a quaint little dhaaba on the Bangalore-Hosur highway. Closer to Hosur than Bangalore. Very close. So very close to Hosur that if you tie a 100-wala cracker to a dog’s tail and light the pataki, the dog will reach Hosur much before next Diwali. It’s a trucker joint-turned-open house. It’s where we go to celebrate the sobriety of a weekend. It’s more than a dhaaba. It’s a culinary adventure. Egg chilly? You got it! Ever heard of egg kheema? Well, now you have, and it’s available here. If we’re lucky, we might get bitter gourd manchuri next time. This dhaaba. Where the waiters don’t like it when you ask for egg burji, because they have to cut the onions themselves. But the, they’ll still take the repeat order, stoic patience maybe. The only tears they shed are over the onion-requiring dishes. This is where patrons order beer in 300ml cans, and then drink it from a glass. Where people go to forget the drudgery of life and wife. Over a slice of seer fish. This is a melting pot. From silver cup and super jack to white mischief and vat69, it has them all. Step right up. Credit cards not accepted. Here is where the roof garden has been tiled over, and you’re not allowed inside. Here real charpoys mingle with plastic tables and broken glasses to the beat of multi-lingual curses, drunken revelry and malayali/ kannada/ telugu/ tamil/ hindi drinking songs. With the occasional music blaring from whichever guest has a car stereo. Ah! This quaint dhaaba. Where the old and wise Nepali gurkha guides trucks, cars and tempos in and out 364 days a year. The one day he takes leave is during Diwali. And he always recognises you, and always asks where your other friends are, whether you have them or not is not his concern. Safely hidden behind a tree, this dhaaba goes about its business. Come hell, high water or excise officials. Whenever you are ready, it is there, ready for you. To embrace you with its ambience. It has everything you need, including its own open air urination area and a paan ki dukaan. And, a dog that’s waiting for crackers to be tied to its tail. A little speck on the Bangalore-Hosur highway. But a big landmark on my memory lane.

No comments: