I have been wanting to write this for weeks. Here it is, finally.
After the first week of classes in Rajajinagar (some 15 kilometers away from home) I’d found my routine and rhythm. I leave my house at 2:45 PM sharp (a few minutes early couldn’t hurt), walk to the Metro train station some half a kilometer from my home, take the 2:57 PM train, get off at Mahakavi Kuvempu Road at around 3:30 PM, walk out of the station, take a left, and the first right. Straight up that road, on the last right, in the corner was a normal chats center and a dosa camp. They didn’t look like anything special. You can see them all over the city. But something did catch my eye, otherwise, I wouldn’t have been writing.
By the end of that first week, I’d found side roads and less crowded roads with better footpaths to walk on. That’s when I’d found this place. The words “flavoured tea” caught my eye. I’d been experimenting tea for a while now. Sometimes I like black tea with a huge squeeze of half a lemon and honey. Sometimes, I like the tea that I make with cinnamon, sometimes elaichi. But I like tea, and most times, I don’t even drink it. I prefer coffee over it because there is something about filtered coffee that can never be replaced.
So, when I found this flavoured tea stall, I was, naturally, intrigued. They had a list of flavours, and that day, I decided to drink all of them. Because once you try one, you had to know how the others tasted, right?
I came back the next day. I took off my headphones while I was approaching the place, and was mentally deciding what to try. I wanted to try rose. That was decided.
Walking up to the man standing at the counter (which is really the Kwality Wall’s dabba), I smiled my small smile reserved for first encounters and asked for the flavoured tea. The man was about Pappa’s age, and he asked me what kind of tea I wanted. I said I wanted the rose one, and he asked the boy making tea at the stall. To my disappointment, it was over, and the man said he had ordered some, and they haven’t come yet. So, I had to pick another one. Which to choose?
Chocolate was, is, and will always be my first option, but I didn’t feel like it. I decided to go with mango flavour because honestly, that sounded a little revolting. The guy began preparing the tea, while the man at the counter and I began the small talk. I hate small talk, but we soon evolved from there because I was getting comfortable there. The mango tea was excellent, and after I was done, I was smiling really huge and I left for class. I had 15 minutes to walk, so I walked in my normal speed, and still got there before the teacher.
I didn’t have the class that entire week. So for the next two weeks after, I went there almost every day. And I am proud to say that I’ve tried almost all the flavours on that menu. Mango and chocolate flavours were really good, and my personal favourite was orange. I had it twice. Bourbon and peach and mixed fruit (not on the menu) were pretty okay. What I disliked most was strawberry. If I thought mango flavoured tea sounded revolting, strawberry flavoured tea was actually revolting. Never again.
That man had also told me about the famous “Dahi Puri” and “Pav Bhaji” that they serve there. I could never have it because I didn’t go back the same way I came. On the last day of class at Rajajinagar (class in Jayanagar was going to start soon), I went there after class that evening and ate the dahi puri. It filled my stomach so much that I could barely walk to the metro station. But it was indeed one of the finest dahi puri I’ve ever had. I have yet to eat the Pav Bhaji, but I will, one of these days.
The puris were filled to the maximum capacity with potatoes, and so much more, and there were two layers of the green, spicy chutney and the sweet tamarind-and-jaggery sauce. It was like an explosion of flavours in my mouth, even if I had to cut the puris in half just so I could fit them in my mouth. I also loved the fact that they julienned carrots and beetroots (which is personally don’t like) and they actually added flavour.
Will definitely go back to eat the pav bhaji. Here is the link for the whereabouts of the place.