Today being the first day [well when I wrote it atleast] of Ganesh Chaturthi - Mahajan family tradition dictates us to pay Ram Nayaks our customary lunchtime visit and since my family is not one to tinker with such scrumptious traditions so lunch it is. Festivals are fun times in India and Ganesh Chaturthi is as big as they get in Maharashtra , what Kali Puja is to the Bengalis Ganesh Chaturthi is to the maharashtrians. My personal theory to this is the Maharashtrians like a good beginning and the Bengalis a good end.. The streets are filled with colour and the sound of resonating drums as covered idols make their way from the workshops to the puja floor. The children have their best smiles and cloths on and are always on the look out to where they can score their next modak.
Walking up to the first floor of what is Matunga's municipal market I was greeted by a chalk sign saying
" On account of it being Ganesh Chaturthi, dessert will be served no extra charge. Today's special Mysore Pudding." Akshay reaffirms in faith in God.
We find ourselves in the quaint enclave which looks more like doctor's office then a restaurant, the narrow corridor thats leads us in is flanked by a small line of chairs, thronging with people reading magazines and newspapers as they patiently as they wait their turn . The smell of mogras, disguise the faint smell of mouth watering rasam sneaking in from other room. The A man in a indigo white shirt and matching lungi gives us our coupons and after a small short wait we find ourselves in the very clean environs of the restaurant.
Then began the long, elegantly choreographed courting ritual of my palate.
A fresh sparkingly clean, slightly wet banana leaf is kept on the granite table infront of me. Also nice stainless steel glass of cold water is slide across the table.
Three varities of vegetables are lumped on to my smooth banana leaf. One of them is crunchy and green and has allot of coconut in it. The secand is avial and the third is dal-like pulsy taste to it. Some salt is added on the side and along with some green mango pickle.
A small glass of butter milk, two empty catoris [vessel], some curd are propped up against my now half full glass of water. A ghee lined roti and some papad are placed on the plateau of my banana leaf and in the mean time my glass is refilled.
Eat, and as you do so all your food magically re-appear with and watchful bearers replenishing your every move. By the time sambhar and some tangy rasam fills up those empty catoris.
P.S - I'm a messy eater
Once you've finished with the rotis, rice is served and eaten with the sambhar and rasam.
Steps 2 to 5 are repeated till I'm full.
Time for an afternoon nap.