Seems to me that the standards have dropped a bit.
The chou in Bengali market, I mean.
But that is like saying that the South Pole is not as cold as it used to be. Bengali market chou remains a benchmark.
Ravi and I landed up there and managed to find a table – the place was pretty full. And then without further ado, we ordered a Choley-Baturey each. Non-oily baturey, that special-taste-choley, pyaaz (onions) separate, and a dash of panchranga pickles, water, yes pls, mineral water, cold…
The table next to us was occupied by two young-achiever women. IBM laptop kept on the chair alongside. Snatches of conversations showed that the IBMer was from out of town too – from Mumbai…looks as if this Bengali market tuck-shop is a pilgrimage spot for many out of town Delhi folks.
After polishing off the C-B, we ordered a Tikki each. They serve that with a few choice sauces, one green and another red, and some, yes, choley, again. Ravi didn’t want the Tikki’s to come bathed in sauces, and so he told the waiter several times, and louder each time, that he wanted Tikki without the chutneys. I told Ravi to lay off the poor waiter.
Meanwhile, the next-table folks had moved on to their third course…Sweets…A select list of combo-sweets was being tossed about in the choice-conversation…”Come on…think about it…it is a weekend…” said the IBMer, cajoling the Delhi local…And after much silent negotiation, they settled for Kulfi….
Our Tikkis arrived. Fully bathed in chutneys. Ravi looked daggers at the waiter, and then gutters at me. Soon, we were digging into the Tikkis though. And, tell you what, they just weren’t up to the mark. Reheated stuff.
All-in-all, it was a nice Delhi-of-old experience. A gaggle of regular middle-class Delhi-wallahs digging into chaat, gole-gappey, samosas, tikkis, kulchey and such…A nice fat man at the counter (That’s the entry criteria for being certified as a good Halwa shop…The owner must look the part…Shubh Labh!)
Meanwhile, Australia had won the toss, elected to bat, and had already smashed the ball all over park at Chinnaswami stadium, Bangalore. The TV at the tuck-shop was on mute – and no one complained. They just ordered more tuck.
Some nice meetha-paan rounded off our meal.
Stomach full. Palate pampered. Time to go.
Next Stop, Purana Qila….