Saturday, July 17, 2004

More Tasteless Comments...

I wrote up this bit on the train ride back home some time last week, but then forgot all about it. Rather than let it go to waste here it is.

It’s been raining steadily for the past two days. Not the wholesome and lusty sort of rain from my native sub-continent, but more of the intermittent firangi drizzle that comes down in spasms. It was an eventful walk back to the PATH Station this evening, upturned umbrellas, billowing skirts, and plastered shirts not the least of it. As the wind howls in from across the Hudson, I am often reminded of my walk from Express Towers near Nariman Point to Churchgate Station. I do miss Bombay so. It was still Bombay when I left and I persist in calling it that.

Something cold and clammy reminded me of something hot and piping – A vada pau.

It is that most Bombayish of foods. Something that quite does not belong anywhere but there. For the uninitiated this is a spicy deep-fried potato-patty burger. It is the fusion food from before the term; and it tastes best off the street cart.

At this point, I recall a nasty and tasteless joke about the one-armed vada-pau walla, but I shall spare you the agony. What I will focus on is the vada-pau-walla on Khau galli (alternatively called Jaundice galli by those who never ate there) just behind Express. I can recall stepping out onto the street a hour or so before lunch and into the crisp aroma of deep-fried chick-pea flour and the sizzle of the vadas bobbing about in the wholly unwholesome oil in a huge wok. The cooked vadas piled onto a large salver, from where, the vada-walla’s sidekick, ever at the ready, stuck it between two halves of a pao, sprinkled liberally with chilli-garlic powder and handed it to waiting customers. A rupee could get you a vada-pao then. I am sure inflation has caught up with the vada-pau-walla as well. If you wanted a drink, there was the sharbat-walla at the ready a few steps down the road, or the cool-drink stall not very far either.

The Khau galli vada pau walla by no means served up the definitive vada paus. Another venerable institution of a vada-pau walla was the one outside Dadar station, well on the way to Dadar station anways, just as you came off the bridge across from Plaza Theater. The crowd outside his shop, was reminiscent of those outside a bank going bust. If they had to form a queue, I am sure it would have stretched a couple of blocks, but your average Bombayite waiting for vada-pau was hardly likely to form a queue.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

What Was I Thinking?!

CMC was at it again, raiding the damn refrigerator. The half of my PB&J sandwich I left after my morning snack was AWOL by lunchtime. Damn! A 27-year old with a 130K job and you’d think he’d be able to afford his own food!

I still remember the time Maggie sent out that e-mail demanding to know who ate the rest of her fruit-flavored yogurt.

It went something like… “I missed my yogurt, whoever ate it is going to be sick, I have a sore throat… I hope you feel really sick and die.”

Pat came the missive from CMC’s terminal

“No fair, I am a growing boy and I need all the nutrition I can get…”

Only problem was that CMC was not at his terminal when the message was sent out. But, that is not to say he might not have done it.

His usual defense is, “… the damn thing was in there for two days… you snooze you loose”

Take heed, if in two days you don’t retrieve your food, CMC is liable to do a Sir-Mix-A-Lot on your eats.

The cookie monster spares neither the cookies left on the pantry counter, nor the donuts on the shelf, nor the sandwiches in the bag at the back of the refrigerator. He is not even beyond licking the cream off the cream cookies to inoculate them against anyone who might think likewise.

Things have toned down a bit since Maggie’s yogurt did the disappearing act. CMC has become very conscious about what he eats these days. No! That does not mean, he has stopped helping himself to others' food. He has stopped raiding the draws for chocolates; instead he prefers protein bars. He might not make a sally for your pack of potato chips, but that does not mean your trail mix packets are secure within the deep recesses of your bag.

Take last week for instance. AD was getting his feedbag on at his computer; and there was CMC standing over his shoulder espying his half-eaten sub.


CMC: Dude, whatchyougotthere?
AD: Just your reg’lar sub from subway
CMC: One of the 7 under 6 things?
AD: I don’t know what your mean
CMC: (Impatient now)… 7 sandwiches under 6grams of fat, shithead…
AD: I think so…
CMC: Do you mind if I have bite?
AD: Can I stop you?

Further dialogues are quite futile because by now CMC has his mitts around the sub and is taking a huge bite that leaves two thin slivers of bread and just a suggestion of what might have been between them.

AD quite overwhelmed by the turn of events surrenders the remains and the rest of the sub disappears down the hatch.

CMC: Are you going to finish your shake too?


From time to time we get reports from outside the office about CMC foodscapades. It is a little difficult to gauge what is fact and how much of what we hear is fiction – with CMC you can never be certain.

We hear he has taken up an evening job with Au Bon Pain.


"Dude, haven’t you heard? They let the staff help themselves to all the goodies not sold at the end of the day. That’s some serious shit!!"