June 12, 2011

Day 36: A gastronomic Journey

First things first- Have not had the mood or inspiration to blog for close to a month. Back on my feet now. Amazing how quickly 20 odd days passed since the last post and I did not even realize it!
The weather being nice, i ditched AC and traveled in the non AC reserved compartment yesterday from Bangalore to Mysore. Soon as i found my seat, I sat down with The Hindu. It was not the window seat, I was sandwiched between two ladies who both dozed off soon as the train chugged out of the station. A combination of them sleeping and the newspaper put yours truly also to sleep.
I was woken in Kengeri by the smell of caramelised onions. Both the ladies next to me were happily munching Maddur vade and having coffee along with it. I normally refrain from eating anything oily outside, but the heady smell of the vade and the weather were too good for me to not try it. The guy selling it had already moved on to the next compartment, leaving me craving for vade. As i waited for another round to arrive, there were vendors who came selling another round of tea, coffee, lays and biscuits. An hour into the journey, at Ramnagara, the knight savior in IRCTC uniform arrived carrying a bucketful of maddur vade with a promise that he won't take money if the vade was not hot. True to the promise, the vade was piping hot, crisp and fried to perfection. A perfect snack for a rainy evening. Of course, it is a perfect no-no for the health conscious, leaving your fingers greasy and oily.
If you thought that a vade would suffice until one reached Mysore for dinner, well, you are wrong. Something about journeys that keep you perpetually hungry.
Next to arrive was the mango seller. She was selling totapuri mangoes for rupees two a mango. Am i out of my mind to not buy one? Certainly not. So out came the two rupees for a mango that had hints of pink and yellow on the green, indicating that it was tending towards becoming ripe. Crunchy, not too raw, not too ripe, tangy and sweet to equal measure. To it add a dash of salt and chilli powder and there you have extra value for two rupees. During other seasons, there are ladies lugging baskets of chikoo, guavas, blue berries.
One more round of vade arrives now. By now, everyone has eaten at least one or two of them. So nobody is actually buying them apart the ones who want to carry some back home. It is funny how Maddur vade sells like hot cakes at all stations other than Maddur!
As the journey draws to a close, near Srirangapatna, there is the churmuri guy mixing up puffed rice with green chutney, chopped veggies, spices and fresh dhania. You can customize it to suit your palate. All the people around me are buying it. This is the difference in travelling by the second sitting compartment. People of all ages travel. And they buy most of the things that are sold in the train. And when they eat, you also feel like eating. I could not resist it. The churmuri guy makes one packet for me with a newspaper. I finish it with difficulty cause it is too spicy. Have you noticed how everything seems wonderful and tempting until you try it? But the Bangalore-Mysore journey by Chamundi Express doesn't disappoint one's appetite. And it is not just eating, but watching people buying stuff together and sharing it and having a happy time is more heart warming. Am almost full as the train pulls into Mysore. Amma calls me to say she has made akki rotti for dinner. The mouth waters. But I suddenly remember all that i had eaten and that I had decided to eat only thayir sadam after going home. :)


  1. Splendid, smooth & easy flow of words..Train journeys are always a pleasure and a mini vacation in themselves. Btw, love the Maddur Vadas which they dole out in the trains..Hav also somehow come to make myself fall in love with the churmurs here down south as opposed to what they have in Bombay. Plus with the funny names like Congress Masala and likes which they coat with a banana cut leaf before wrappin em up in the paper cones, it kinda accentuates the taste i think..