Saturday, June 21, 2008


Fermented/ Steamed food made with rice and lentil (black lentil) . They are soft and spongy and absorb the sambar when dunked into it.
It is served with sambar, coconut chutney and mixture of crushed dry spices.

"...French chef Anatole, god's gift to the gastric juices. I have often regretted that I have but one stomach to put at his disposal..."
-Bertie Wooster (PGW)

Its 5:30pm
ITS 5:30 PM... u heard that!!
rumbling in the stomach and i raised up my hands.
ok, OHKE.. we are moving.

few hundred meters down the road. And voila! here we are, have to struggle a bit in the crowd, and than 'Anatole' looks up. sir idli?
With a smile that could be captured and put up on the desk of every customer care center personnel.

Running down the road, devouring on those idlis, and running back to office. Thats the routine for weeks now.
I usually return from office with a lazy stroll, and one day i saw a table put up on the roadside, with a 'person' struggling to put some stuff on the table.

Next day, at the same spot, the table was surrounded by junta and the person was still struggling with his table.

After a week, the crowd was jostling around the table, the person has adapted well, efficiently filling up the paper plates with idlis.. the table was filled with hotcases and bigger dabbas and various chutneys. It made me think how the IT industry has created a secondary industry in itself. Indirectly linked with the companies and software parks, providing critical services to the employees, the roadside is now filled with a half a dozen make-shift shops, juice wallas, mirchi bhaji waalas, cigarette and tea shops.

And one day, the instincts got over me, and i ended up holding a paper plate, idli. He looked at me, and put 4 idilis on the plate, with 2 types of chutneys and one spicey powder over the idlis.
I loved them. It was awesome.

I was there the next day, and subsequently every day...
Wait for the idlis kept on increasing with more and more junta attacking the idlis. The number of hotcases on his table kept on increasing. He added dosa, tamarind rice, lemon rice and bonda on his table.

The rain:
Monsoons arrived, and i was more than eager to move out of office for a break at 5:30pm. Rain walk and idlis... hmmmm... but still apprehensive, after all its not a regular shop. Doesnt have a shed, and may be our Anatole had to come from a long distance, would he be able to come today?
I reached the spot, no crowd, empty table, and someone, with a raincoat hood, standing at a distance under the tree. I stopped for a moment near the table, and the hooded cover came near to table, took away the cover.. sir idli?
By the time i was over, the table was under attack by another group, and Anatole was in the zone again.

Day by day, the same smile welcomed all the customers, remembers their regular order, knows the favorites of the regular customers (why he never asks me about dosas? or bondas? ) and identifies the new customers.
I was eager to know how he will tackle the growing demand. After all, hot cases have a capacity, the big container he used to bring also has a capacity.

and today?
So the family is here.!
The whole kitchen has been setup. To keep up with the demand.

and by the time i was over with those steaming hot idlis straight from the steam cooker.
The inventory was over, and crowd was restlessly waiting for the next shift of dosa's and idlis coming right from the kitchen

It was a lovely sight,
Anatole is still worried, the "waiting time" for the customers.
and competition increasing day by day, as more and more tables are being put up on the roadside.

I don't know, if he could scale up? i don't know if the authorities could come up and move away all the tables, if he could muster up the ambitions to setup a full fledged shop.
But his endeavors from first day till now, has been awe inspiring.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Sound: Tick tock tick tock (wall clock)2:47 am

Smell: black coffee (near keypad)

Song: bittersweet symphony (paused)

Spinning the stress ball
Watching the cursor blinking on the screen