The other day, my (new) roomies and I got into a long discussion about Chennai and the amazing plethora of restaurants it offered. Each one had a favourite, from the all time 14 pcs Mini Idlis costing 21 rupees and some paisa (they knew exactly) in any Saravana Bhavan to the tangy Pani Puris at Gangotree or the lovely Pongals (both sweet and salty) in donnais in Murugan Idlis. Gosh! It was only then we realized how badly we missed those Bhagyas (a small shop near West Mambalam station) selling extremely greasy, unhygenic but out-of-the-world Gobi Manchurians or the early morning scenes of various coffee and tea kadais making hot coffee and idlis or walking into any of the million Vasantha / Saravanaa bhavans or Komalas or Udipis or Sangeethas and enjoying a hot delicious meal.
I am sure only a Chennai-ite knows what I am talking about here. To others it might seem like a list of restaurants in Chennai. The feeling is even more intense when all you get nearby is creamy, greasy pasta or cold breakfasts like waffles or bagels and dark non-milky weird coffee (which I guess I can never like!). I really think American cuisine is second worst in the world, the top being Scandinavian. The only way they know to get anything tasty is to either fry it or coat it with a layer of grease and grill it. I have never even dared to walk into any of the McDonalds/ Papa Johns here because I finally do realize how junky junk food can get. Seminars are followed up by boxes upon boxes of cookies or chips (both cold) and the mixers offer you trays upon trays of raw vegetables. I am not the complaining or choosy variety so I do not usually complain but in a year you start longing for something you can just dig into, and nothing here is remotely as healthy or tasty as Asian esp. South Asian Cuisine.
Chennai spells f-o-o-d to any true South Indian, worse if he/she has returned from the USA. All of us recounted how our relatives just ate and ate and ate when they came home almost as if they starved here. The food here is unhealthy and very fatty, no wonder everyone has the standard 15-pound weight gain during the first year. Cheese, cream cheese, butter, margraine, cookies, lard, dips..ARGH! I so want some nice green chilly or tomato chutney. (Salsa comes close..but CLOSE thats it)
So, Im going home and I cant wait. I need Whisky. Gosh, I cant believe its almost been a year without my dear doggy. I only saw his boring stares at the computer screen during our Skype Chats this past year and that kept me going. I’m sure he’z abandoned me by now, hopping on to more reliable people like my mom and dad who dont just leave him for a year and run off, but he wont forget. I cant wait to get welcomed by him in the usual style and he prances around frantically licking my face and jumping all over. Gosh, I can almost smell him now. My biggest shopping bag is from Petco filled with all the stuff he’d need. I am so excited. Finally! Whisky! Yaaay. I cant wait to have him follow me all over the house and put up with all his antics. WHISKYYYY Im coming!
And yeah..Chennai 😀 I’m coming for you. I’m coming for the innumerable hot idlis and dosas that my mom’s gonna make and the lovely wafting smell of sambhar. I m coming for the heat and the dirt and the Grand Sweets adai-avials and the pastes and the Ambika applams and podis. I’m coming for the pickles and the nellu ennai oil baths with freshly ground shikakai and of course fresh filter coffeee.
Damn this week. Fly away! 😀