Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Good Lenj

So there we were, nine hungry folks in the middle of the working week. What to do? Someone came up with the idea of gorging on a good authentic Mallu meal. After all, what is life without a good lenj? (Lenj is also known as Lunch in some circles.)
Eureka! Plans were made, instanter. Only one member of this posse happened to be not from Mallu-land. But who cared? The place in question that served up the delicacies in question turned out to be located in one of those sub-lanes in a by-lane that would defy my navigational skills on any given day. It was someone’s house that was converted into a “mess” for hungry folks like us.
The aroma hit us as soon as we set foot in the dark and crowded interiors, milling with cooks and eaters. The yummy, almost tangible lure of freshly fried fish and hot sambar drew us in like magic. Seating was to be grabbed whenever sighted, on plastic stools under long formica tables.
The service was quick and a tad impatient, if indulgent. The Malayalam was sing-song and rapid. We had no time to dither as in other eating joints. Here, if you don’t order in time, you’re jolly well going to go back hungry.
But the food! The first mouthful of brown rice and fresh fried aila hot from the pan! (This aila is known in English by the somewhat unexciting moniker of “mackerel,” which somehow makes it seem like the nerd in the class.) I normally eat the usual refined white rice eaten in North India, but here I enjoyed the taste of the brown, fat rice with the husk on. Which just goes to show what nostalgia for Mallu-land will do to you, even if you cannot claim to have ever lived there.
For the fish non-lovers among us (such people do indeed exist), I realize this piece must have left them cold. But for other aila-eaters and naimeen maniacs, yes. Don’t we all know just such a place that serves up just the most heavenly version of fish on earth? Or, actually, whatever your favorite food, sometimes all you need is the right place. To hell with ambience, menu cards, bedside manners for the wait-staff! Just eat and get out, and go back with that slightly silly grin on your face that can come only from a truly satisfying meal.


Anonymous said...

where is this place? do tell
Fish eater GGB

Rupa said...

Devika, you are so downright hilarious - I feel like I have been to this place too - the food smells delicious the way you describe it. Please PLEASE compile your stories together and send it for publication - I am sure you will be an instant best seller - get yourself a good agent. I read all these stories by all these Indian authors and some of them are pathetic - the world is hungry for Indian authors and are ready to read even average authors - you are brilliant - you need to be out there !!

Col said...

Rupa,I couldnt have put it any better than that!!!
I graciously agree with Rupa.
Knowing you I sure hope its soon Devika.

devikamenon said...

My Gorsh, I am gratified by your comments, Rups and Col. I am definitely working on my book. Any takers for desinging the front cover and taking fabulous pictures of me to splash on the back cover alongside the blurb?
GGB. good to see you after a long absence! The place I shall find out for u soon, it's on Bannerghatta Rd is all I know for now.

Rupa said...

You need to get an agent - he will have someone get you a fantastic cover.

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