Restaurant hopping in Chembur

Chembur in Mumbai is not really well known. It’s just a normal suburb with colleges and schools and markets and a railway station and banks and a couple of small malls with basic multiplexes and a lot of basic needs shopping opportunities and lots of small places to eat and not much else. It has always been my goal in life to discover places to eat around wherever I live because what better way to explore a city through it’s food, good or bad?

If I had lived in a shared flat, I suppose I would’ve began this project way sooner but because I live on campus in the hostel, there are many days I couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed to get some food from the dining hall right next door. Sometimes I wonder if I would really cook if I was living in a flat. Someday, I hope I get to answer that question.

My friends and I finally got the chance to explore a lot of places and cover so much more ground in the two weeks for field work that we had than in the four months of classes that we had. There were funds allocated for each of us, and since we travelled to the site by train mostly (even when we did go by cabs, the price was pretty much the same) we decided to indulge the rest of it on lunches. We did not go to really fancy places, we went to normal family restaurants and ate chicken almost every single time. We’ve loved all the places and we visited a few of them more than once.

I plan to write a series of posts twice every week, each post focusing on a restaurant that my friends and I have been to. It’s not going to be review style. I don’t even know what I’ll be focusing on. I just want to write about them because I cannot resist talking about good food and good company for lunch. I don’t even know if it’ll have pictures because knowing me, I was just too busy eating than taking pictures. Not that that’s a bad thing, but pictures liven up the posts a bit.

I feel so out of it. I had grand plans when I came home and I couldn’t wait to get started on this project but I’m leaving next week, and in the two weeks I’ve been here, I cannot remember what I did besides eat and sleep and stan my favourite K-pop groups and keep myself updated with the only K-drama that I’m following at the moment and work on my brand new bullet journal. I’ve met my friends twice and I haven’t gone out much at all. I don’t know if I like it or not, but I’m glad I chilled. I will get my ass back to work from tonight, starting with this post.

 

 

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The desk that I bought

I just bought myself my first piece of furniture. It wasn’t for my solo-life like I’d always imagined but for my first time living outside of home. I bought a desk.

I have a table in my room. It’s a small table with a drawer just like I’d requested for in the beginning but it is at the foot of my bed and using it to write/type means I have no back support. That table is just an accessory now where I keep handy stuff and cram the drawer with all my daily things.

At first, I considered buying a desk online. I was using my pillow up until now, and would’ve used it for a longer time if it weren’t for my friend Arohi’s desk/breakfast table. It was just so comfortable. My semi-padmasana-ed legs fit perfectly under the desk and within its legs and it was the right enough height for my right arm to not feel sore even after a long time of typing. This was on Independence Day.

After that, things got busy. I went home for a week and it made no sense for me to buy a desk in Bengaluru and carry it all the way back to Bombay when I can buy the same thing here. So, I figured I’ll just buy one here. And the time finally came for me to buy one.

I had just one class that day (through most of which I was rereading Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian on the desk, showing my emotions on my face, daringly) after which, I thought of going and buying the desk. I somehow couldn’t. I was sitting with a few people and sharing my home food with them so I didn’t go then. I came back to my room and aimlessly played on my laptop for a while before deciding to go out after lunch. I took some money, packed my small sling bag and headed out to catch an auto to Chembur railway station.

I’d seen a lot of different types of markets around the Chembur station but furniture stores had never caught my eye. There had to be some around, especially in an area like that. So, as I was getting off the auto, I asked the dada where I could buy a small desk. He told me the name of the store (Mahavir) and gave me directions in half-Hindi half-Marathi so I could understand only half of it. But I got the gist. I headed in that direction, stopping by at a medical store for some almond oil and cotton for my dry and flaky skin.

After walking for a bit and looking around, I did not see any sort of furniture store around so I asked another auto dada for directions for Mahavir. He clearly told me the directions and once he mentioned Shell Colony Road, my ears perked up. Shell Colony road has a good memory that I got to revisit only a long while after.

Shell Colony Road in Chembur houses two famous Kerala-style restaurants: Hotel Sunny and Maxim’s. These two are known for their authentic, typical, affordable and extremely tasty Kerala-style food, for which I can wholeheartedly vouch, at least for Maxim’s (and as of now, Sunny’s with even more experience (More on that definitely later. I will not fly crows). That night was an adventure.

It was Friday the 13th, July, and I, Chai, Mishel and one of her flatmates went to Maxim’s because DH food was boring us. Our seniors had told us how good the food was in Maxim’s and it was an opportunity not to be missed. We hailed two autos and headed to Shell Colony road. It was a little exciting for me because we were going past my usual area where I just aimlessly roam around and stopping at a decent South Indian restaurant for my weekly dose of filter coffee.

Chai and I shared an auto, and we spotted Maxim’s right at its door. It’s a tiny place. One might drive by it or walk past it without a second glance. The ground floor seemed occupied by the few people it could hold, so we climbed on the stairs to the first floor.

Those were not stairs. They were wooden death traps designed to give people like me a heart attack. They were just slabs of wood against an inclined wall, railing on one side, not enough foot space and it was like climbing a ladder. I almost wished we could leave. But I’m glad we didn’t.

The kaka (Marathi for really older men, like calling them Uncle) came to take our order and my mouth watered at the sound of all the food (there was no menu system) and after much dilemma, and the kaka leaving us and giving us time to deliberate, we finally ordering a bunch of  parathas and some chicken gravy and a fried whole-fish for me and what not.  That food filled me. It was some of the best Kerala-style food I’ve ever had (not that I’ve had a lot) but all the Kerala people who’ve ever gone to Maxim’s swear that it has authentic food, including my friend Mishel. So, I swear by it.

After eating, I wanted to drink filter coffee, so we decided to walk to the place where I usually have it. It was less than half a kilometer away but it took us such a long time to get there because it was pouring like the sky had holes (an old Kannada saying). Even with huge umbrellas, we were drenched in places we most definitely shouldn’t have been. The rain didn’t fall straight or even slightly obliquely, like it ought to, no. This weird rain fell almost horizontally, almost parallel to the ground and Chai, being the experienced one, held the umbrella in such a way that the rain did not drench our backs or fronts, just the bottom half of our legs (which was no surprise). Walking in that kind of rain was as deadly as it was fun. Mishel and her friend had no such luck, unfortunately. By the time we reached the place for coffee, they were half drenched, bag, hair, clothes and all. Filter coffee that night had never tasted warmer or more needed in my life.

My head went on a little trip down the memory lane but eventually, I found the furniture shop a little after the first bridge/flyover. I went in and the second desk I saw was the one I bought. I walked out of the shop, my pouch of money slightly less heavier and my heart more full of triumph and pride.

Semester 1: Done and dusted

My first semester was done 4 days ago and since then I’ve been contemplating writing a small overview of how my entire semester was because why not? I took an unintended month-long hiatus and now I’m itching to come back, my head bursting with things to write but lacking the heavy motivation I require to finish a single post. So this might just be the post that will bring me back, and with iKON and BTS playing in my ears, how could I not?

I did not expect to do well in my first semester because, well, it’s the first semester, right? I’m in a new city, studying things that I’ve never studied before with people I’ve never met before, living so far away from my family and friends and with people I just met and constantly sweating and trying to figure out a regime and routine and adjusting to the food and managing finances and all that comes in between being a dependent adult. I’m proud of the fact that I managed to survive and actually enjoy living away from home.

I did unexpected things. I liked unexpected people and realized unexpected things. I embraced my alone time and found a balance between my alone time and non-alone time because too much of either one is sure to push me down a spiral that I know I will not be able to get back up. My mood swings were worse than ever and there were times that I worked out and actually saw the difference in how my body responded to the internal stimuli. But then things suddenly got so hectic that I woke up early and slept late just so I could send in my assignments on time and be able to study well enough, at least to pass.

June and July were pretty chill. It was my first time ever at a pub for my fresher’s party which I actually enjoyed. And then a house party that I enjoyed even more. I exercised a bit and was in shape, but only briefly. And then I read some and painted a lot and my bullet journal looked really pretty!

Then came August and September. From the second half of August, after I came back from visiting home, things were hectic. There were assignments that were handed out and things to do and suddenly, I had lesser time than usual. I barely read and painted but somehow, I managed to pretty up my bullet journal because if I didn’t at least do that, I’d don’t think i would’ve managed to survive the chaos that was the end of September. I had a few breakdowns in September, but I mostly think that was because of my raging hormones that I had no time to control. But I did have them.

Then there was October. We had field work the first two weeks of the month and I thought I’ll have time to do stuff but absolutely not. If the field work itself did not drain us, the trains made sure they did. It was the first time that I frequented the locals so often. I though I’d gotten sort of got used to the crowd, but I don’t think you ever do. If one does get used to it, it means they have traveled so much that they know this is the inevitable. I was under the impression that I would eventually get used to it but I had severely underestimated how bad the crowd was and could get. It has scarred me.

But on the bright side, October was brilliant for a lot of other things. Restaurant hopping was my favourite part and I’m contemplating a new feature where I talk about all the restaurants that I’ve been to. It’s still under thought and the work hasn’t started yet, but I really want to do it. It’s just something that I can really connect to .

Now that I’ve had a huge bite of how a semester at TISS is, I know it’s best not to expect anything. Just going with the flow is the best bit and to do that one has to be in their top form. I’ve promised to myself that I will play badminton (which has become my preferred way of exercise) every morning and get in some more reading time. Diet is not a concern because I eat from the dining hall and food there usually healthy. I have to watch out on my vegetarian eating days more strictly from now on because I don’t think I’ve observed any of them all through October. Not that I’m complaining, though. I also plan to be more productive and reduce my procrastination, but that’s always on my agenda. I end up never achieving it but this time I don’t want to do that. I want to move my lazy bum faster and do work on time. Blogging will also take some more preference because I feel so empty not blogging for nearly a month.

This has been my first semester back in college and I’m waiting for the second so that I can study a lot more things that I know that I will enjoy. I had also intended this post to be different but it took on a completely different tangent. Oh, well.

A perfect do-nothing day

There’s a Phineas and Ferb episode where the two boys just wanted to enjoy the day under the apple tree in their backyard and do nothing. My Sunday was kind of like that but I didn’t do nothing. That would drive me crazy.

No, instead, I took this day off from doing college work. That means I did not study, I did not work on my assignments, I did not even think what was needed to be done because I was gloriously, happily bingeing on a K-drama that, thankfully, only very recently ended. I shall hope to write about it soon!

I should feel guilty for not having worked today but I don’t. I needed today. After watching the show, I got into reading some of Cassandra Clare’s writing of Magnus and Alec. Those two just kill me. I love them so much, and Magnus so so much more that my heart hurts. It’s not very often that I have this intense love for fictional characters. I fangirled and made inhuman noises and by the time I regained composure, tears were streaming out of my eyes. Cassandra Clare just writes so well. I cried over sentences that made me laugh. I missed my fangirling sessions with my friend Indu so much. Thankfully, my roommates were both out of town so I had the complete freedom to be the person I needed to be at that moment.

Even going out to the DH, which is right next door, for lunch seemed like such a chore. I wished there was food in my room so I didn’t have to leave it. Very rarely I have these feelings when it comes to food.

Now Monday is here and I’ve been faced with the reality. I have four exams, two assignment submissions this week alone. Bye bye, sanity. I shall see you in October.

Pretty skies: which season do you belong to?

The weather here in Bombay for the past few days have been excellent. Sometimes it rains, but even the rains cannot damp Arohi’s and my excitement for how wonderful the sky looks after.

The afternoons sees blue, blue sky. The kind of blue that you want to never stop looking at. The kind of blue that shows you that there is good in the world. The kind of blue that assures you everything is right in the world, even when it is falling apart before your eyes. The kind of blue that feels right. The kind of blue that has your dead brain working overtime trying to come up with shapes from your imagination for all the clouds that just float by without a care in the world. The kind of blue that makes me want to sit outside on the wide stone steps of the amphitheatre or my secret phone space and just read a good, good book. It’s the kind of blue that stirs up memories of childhood and the corners of your mouth pulls and you realize what happiness is in this soul-sucking time of submissions and exams and sleepless nights.

Then there are nights.

Today evening I experienced one of the most clear and beautiful nights that I’ve ever seen in Bombay. I’ve always liked the night skies in Bombay better because it was always too cloudy during the days (not that that isn’t pretty) and we are too preoccupied to appreciate it well. The nights are different. The sky that I’ve always seen back home during the night was a dark, dark navy, that is easy to get lost in. Add the moon and get ready to take your sleeping bags or mattresses and blankets and pillows and plenty of Odomos to sleep on the roof. It’s different here. I think it’s because it’s more polluted here, but the night sky is never that shade of blue. In fact, it’s not blue at all. It’s purple and violet with that barely-there brown. It’s the colour of my favourite t-shirt that says “Cats are magical. The longer you feed them, the longer you both stay alive.” It’s the colour of the blankets that smells warmth and winter, which Akka and I have back at home. It’s the colour that no one thinks is purple. The clouds perfectly complement them. They are the palest shade of violet and they morph into shapes that activates the wild side of my brain. The wisps that break apart from the big clouds look like some major wand activity is going on. No way that can be real. It’s too beautiful and magical to be real.

Today, the Moon showed her face. There were fewer clouds than usual and the stars were there as usual. But it was an almost clear night and the air was crisp and just a tiny bit chilly. This is totally not the kind of weather that I expected to see in a city like Bombay. It almost feels like home.

Almost.

But it is a new home for me right now.

Picture credits to Mishel!

Good Masala Dosa and filter coffee cures me

Woke up sweating from a dream, with a different kind of feeling…

~It was always you, Maroon 5.

I did not wake up sweating from a dream but I did wake up feeling very unsettled and homesick. The dream that I had was the reason for it.

Today is Gauri habba, the day before Ganesha habba for us (Ganesha Chaturthi for the non-Kannada folks reading this) and every year on this day, we bring our little clay Ganesha idol home. It was something Pappa and I did every year and it hit me that I wasn’t a part of it this year.

All through the first class today, I was sleepy and irritable, which wasn’t new these days, and snapping at people, which was a rare occasion for me. My chest was tied in loose knots. I had no idea why until I took that first sip of filter coffee.

The lunch in the DH was very unappetizing today. None of us felt like eating there so we went outside, to the regular restaurant where I find the filter coffee to be quite decent. I’m skeptical about eating south Indian food outside of Bengaluru, but here, it’s really nice. So, the four of us bought three different types of dosas (one plain ghee roast, two ghee masala dosas and one Mysore masala dosa, which was for me) and two coffees and two slice kulfis. We were laughing and generally chatting about when I took my first sip of coffee between bites of my dosa. All the tied knots instantly came unraveling and it just hit me what day it was.

Tomorrow is Ganesha habba and the pooja at home is at 4:30 AM. It’s way too early for anyone but it doesn’t matter. I’m not home. I didn’t get to go choose the idol this time. I didn’t get to see all the festivities in the market, nor go shopping for them, nor eat the chakli or sweets that Amma made. I don’t get to complain about getting up so early or sit with my family for the pooja.

And each time I think about it, each word I’m typing, it’s making the ache in my heart just that much more painful.

Four years.

It’s a bright and sunny day here in Bombay. It’s rarely ever sunny here, and even though the world is crashing upon me and my classmates today, it is a really good day. I wish I could sit outdoors and do my work.

The only way I wanted to celebrate the 4th anniversary of this blog was with a nice cup of hot and strong filter coffee. And I’m delighted to say that I had two cups today, along with a so many types of South Indian food, so hello, productivity!

I’m so proud to share this day with the day that the Indian Supreme Court decriminalized consensual gay sex. It is a huge step in the country and I am so happy that it happened.

Last year, I had hoped that I would be in a different city next year. Things never go the way I planned but this is the one thing that has been right so far. I am in a different city, and life away from home is not how I always thought it would be. It’s not scary at all. It’s peaceful and liberating and yes, sometimes it can get lonely but it’s an experience that I will always cherish and never, ever regret taking.

From September 6, 2017 to September 6, 2018, I feel like I’m a different person altogether. I can’t seem to remember who I was when I wrote that post last year because this girl has grown. I can’t even begin to think about how I’ve changed from last year, much less, how much. I’m learning things everyday, so much that I cannot even make a list of them all. I’m learning a new language; I’m learning to live in different new cultures; I’m learning to cope with a new level of stress and I’ve been more myself here than anywhere else. I think the city of Bombay does that to you.

And, unlike how I kept saying last year that I had second doubts about blogging in general, I’ve never felt that way this year. Of course, I’ve been blogging scarcely these days, and for me, it’s okay to be rare. A few weeks ago, Naveen told me how one of his friends, who is an avid reader of this blog, was wondering why I haven’t been writing more often these days. And I was speechless. People do care, even if I don’t know about them. I’m really happy that people can remember such tiny, trivial things and go about asking about me even if I was a total stranger. I felt strangely honoured.

I’ve watched more than 15 K-drama since then (excluding a few which I had rewatched with Akka) and I don’t even have a count of how many films I’ve watched. I love my weekly outings that I take on Sunday late afternoons for light shopping and a cup of filter coffee. I’ve loved every day living in this city, even though I miss home with every fibre of my being. The people around me are the least judgmental, most open-minded that I’ve ever seen. I feel like I’ve become one of them fully now. I no longer feel awkward sitting alone because that kind of solitary is rare when you know so many people so I cherish the times I eat alone. I’ve become physically active since the past week, and my body has been so attuned to getting up early that I can pretty much wake up a minute before my alarm goes off at 6:13 in the morning. I’ve also began eating breakfast, which is a feat for me because I cannot remember a single day when I ate breakfast when I went to college in Bengaluru.

There are days when I feel uncontrollably sad. There are other days where I am giddy to the point of annoying myself. And on sleep deprived days, I cannot remember or control what I am doing or saying. But all this is just a part of this phase in my life and whatever happens, I know I can always turn towards my blog and just write and not worry about it because it feels like an extension of my soul now. It feels like it’s one part of myself that I can rely on no matter what. I don’t have to worry about getting period cramps or less sleep or laziness because it’s always there. No matter what.

I’ll still be here when it’s five and I hope I can make this world feel better, even if it’s an infinitesimally small part of it.

And I made the header all by myself!

Home

I’m pretty sure a lot of people are sick of reading this because it was all over my Instagram stories for the past two days. I’m home for a week! I came on Sunday afternoon and apart from that afternoon, I feel like nothing has changed. It reminds of my time last year when I was on a gap year and when I did absolutely nothing and got up to the sound of my mother shouting in the other room saying I was messing up her schedule and what not, which was exactly how it was today. Only, Amma still made coffee for me.

The entire week before I left for home, I was in a terrible predicament (oh wow, look at me, using fancy words). I badly wanted to go home but at the same time, I hesitated. My friend Chai had once advised that I go home once the semester ends and not in between (only, in less kinder words at that moment). He though that once I’m back, I’ll be more homesick than ever. But for some reason, I did not sway then. I am hardly ever stubborn but that time I was and I decided I had to show him that I was not weak. True, I miss home and that’s not what defines weakness but I wanted to show him that I was strong enough to face it and punch it in the face if necessary. I told Pappa to go ahead and book a ticket for me. And he did.

But that entire week, as busy as I was with an exam and a “test”, I was full of nerves. How was it going to feel going back home? I was afraid of a lot of things. Was the city going to love me the same? Will it push me out thinking I betrayed it? Will I love the city same way I did when I left it? Will I feel the same way after going back to Bombay? Did I actually betray Bengaluru? Or did I find myself a new home? Am I even allowed to have two homes?

Well, some of those have been answered. I will love my city the same way despite its many, many flaws on the outside that I’m not used to in Bombay just yet. The people are pretty much the same everywhere so I shouldn’t have expected anything different when I was hauling my duffel bag in a thousand different angles from where the bus dropped me off all the way to the Metro station. The rest are still a mystery to me.

After coming back, I’ve realized how much colder Bengaluru is! I always thought it would be the pleasant sort of cold. But I’ve gotten used to a certain type of weather for two-and-a-half-months and I did not expect my body to forget the type of weather that it lived in for 21 years. I’m so disappointed in you, body. The Monday after I came, I was on the verge of falling sick. Even then, I ate chats and ice cream and went out roaming with my school friends. Some things never change.

I’ve been MIA a lot these days and today, as I was speaking with Naveen on the phone, he told me something that struck me. More than struck me, more like, shocked me. And I think that also sort of inspired me. I’m going to promise myself that I will blog/write three times a week and publish at least once a week. There’s just so much happening around me that I end up keeping it all in my head or voice notes or heart. Sometimes a letter or in my brand new art journal but not here. I want to write about that conversation that I had with the old man who was begging next to me as I waited for the bus on Saturday afternoon; I want to write about my train rides; I want to write about my discovery of people; I want to write about new discoveries of myself; I want to do so many things and the only thing standing in the way is me. I shall force myself out of the way and write it all out.

What’s wrong with Secretary Kim?

AKA “What’s wrong with Vice-Chairman Lee?”; “Why would Vice-Chairman Lee do that?!” Also, “Your arrogance is annoying and off-putting, Mr. Lee”. But then it defeats the whole purpose of the show.

I’d seen snippets of this show on Instagram and Facebook and I was so intrigued because I had not expected to see dear old Park Seo Joon in a character like this. Arrogant? Rich and snobby? Yes, I can picture him all that, but there was something about the character that I did not expect. I think it was his past that jarred me and left me a little unhinged because his character in She Was Pretty was quite similar to this but their childhoods couldn’t have been more different. I loved him in this.

I really enjoyed this drama. It was hilarious, cute and sexy, little dark in places, and had a good plot. There was not a single place I thought that could’ve been different. The transition from one scene to another emotionally was really good. The darkness in all the dark scenes did not overpower the rest of the scenes, even if it did make one feel hollow on the inside. The rest of the scenes were cute enough to make it all up.

Kim Mi So, or Secretary Kim, was such an amazing character. She was strong and firm and independent and just lovely. She  wasn’t able to study much because she ended up taking care of her older sisters after their father went bankrupt, but she learnt a lot in the nine years she worked with —no, tolerated — Lee Young Joon, seeing him transition from a lower position to the position of the Vice Chairman. She stumbled a lot in the beginning and he had every right and opportunity to fire her almost everyday, but he let her be and made sure she never repeated the same mistakes again. He made her learn English and Chinese and Spanish and French and she learnt them all so diligently. She learns to enjoy her job but then after nine years, she gets tired. She decides to quit. Lee Young Joon is mad.

Lee Young Joon didn’t even think twice when she came for the job. There were professional secretaries who applied and he picked a high school graduate. We later find out why and that reason has us clutching our hearts and little short of swooning (not really).  Lee Young Joon is a very peculiar character. He was generally very serious as a kid and generally grown up but as an adult, he radiates power. He’s the sort of person who wants to be in charge of everything, and sometimes, it annoyed me. He’s charming when he wants to be and does everything in his power to make that one person he cares about really happy. And then she decides to quit.

I really loved them both. Their chemistry and the dynamics between them was on spot. She was gorgeous and he was flawless (and he knew it) and they made such a great pair. Their history is a whole other thing. Young little Young Joon was just absolutely adorable and his acting is even more flawless than the older Young Joon. He was perfect and I even took drishti for him to keep bad and envying eyes away from him.

Then there was Morpheus, played by Lee Tae Hwan. Morpheus is a mystery writer who writes some of the best romance novels there is and he is none other than Young Joon’s older brother, Lee Sung Yeon. When I saw him, I thought he was made for me. He is my definition of perfect. He’s tall and cute with a shy smile that is just so damn bright that it just pierced my heart. I’m not even kidding. His character may be a little off in this drama but dang it, I want him. His sense of style and his charisma and the way he observes people and notices people is just so mesmerising. I love that guy.

This drama was just the perfect blend of romance and comedy, with that extra necessary bit of dark past connection. I had great fun watching it.

9/10.

Highly recommend it if you like hilarious romance stories!

 

The steel tumbler

‘Aaina’ is a Human Library event that happens in TISS every year or so. When I found out about it, I signed up for it immediately. The theme was “Stuffs we brought” which essentially revolves around the theme of the materials we brought from home. I decided I’d do a slam poem and wrote my poem and performed it. It wasn’t all that great and my poem could’ve been so much better, but with three days (filled with classes and meetings and whatnot) I could only write so much.

The Steel Tumbler

There are a lot of things I brought from home.

My bag, my books, my sister’s clothes, my art materials.

But perhaps the oddest and the strangest object that I brought from home is my steel tumbler, which has given me a sweet reputation from all the nights that I’ve carried it to dinner in the DH.

This is not a cylindrical tumbler; it is a more slender version of a pot (you know, the kind where we carry and store water in). Imagine if a steel pot went to the gym and lost all its curves.

Appa thought it added to my luggage, and maybe I shouldn’t take it?

Nope. I needed it. I put my foot down and did not budge. Appa did not ask again.

True, it wasn’t exactly on the top of my requirement list but I needed it anyway. Drinking water from it was secondary.

Even though it holds about half a litre of water it feels satisfying to pour water to your mouth from half a foot above and even if it did quench any kind of thirst and makes me feel all sorts sated, the first reason I brought it with me is because it is eternally overflowing with feelings and memories of home.

Every time I look at it, I am reminded of the times I’ve juggled two or three of those between the living room and the kitchen, sometimes filled, sometimes empty.

It’s the first thing that Amma expects us to do when she calls out for dinner. Some nights, when she very shadily answers me “I’ll cook something” when I ask her what dinner was that night, I peek open the covering of the pan or the vessel to see what I was going to eat.

Most nights, I can smell it before I see it. When I take off the lid, my already watering mouth is on a roll when I see the golden brown of the yennegai gojju, a thin reddish layer of oil floating on top. or sometimes its the capsicum palya that is as crunchy as it looks; on some mellow days, the warm smell of rasam, with just that extra little hint of crushed pepper and garlic and lemon juice, with a side of khara and salt chips; sometimes it’s khara pongal with that lip-smacking tamarind gojju and then I swivel my eyes to see sweet pongal in the next kadai, and then I sigh in relief to see my dabba of ghee intact; other days, it’s an unpleasant surprise: uppittu.

Then I shut it quickly and fill up my tumblers for the tepoy in the living room.

My body is on auto pilot now, especially in the DH. I fill water, sign, take my plate, fill it with food, go find a table to sit at. Not very different from what I did at home except for the fact that I couldn’t pack the three of them in my suitcase.

I brought my tumbler instead.

Now that I think about it, there’s so much more that I wanted to write. This will be a poem in working.

After this, Mishel, Arohi and I decided we wanted to eat out so we went to this place where I usually go to drink good filter coffee. That restaurant has a waiter who’s a Kannadiga (like me) and it felt great to talk to him in Kannada after so long. We ate three different types of dosas and they were good! I am usually skeptical about eating dosas anywhere apart from Bengaluru and Mysore (and anywhere in between) so I was pleasantly surprised by how good this one was. The sambar was sweet and spicy and just right. We had ordered three malai kulfi slices and one coffee and he did not charge us for one of the kulfis. He was so sweet.

I needed this after a long day of classes and work and dozing off in class.