Search for Idlis and Its Fairy Tale Ending
Food to many brings back nostalgic memories of the past, its aroma brings back thoughts of grandma cooking her specialties for the festival or a function, mother’s special recipe and more. Though I am not the kind who would go after food, I do have my preferences in eating food items, a person with focus on quality than quantity or being choosy. Three of us were posted on an implementation work to Vadodara way back in 90s and I just got confirmation of my pregnancy. Since the project relied much on my abilities, I decided to go along. We lived in an apartment and had essentials to cook for ourselves. Gujarati food is too good and balanced and I enjoyed eating all kind of food there. Added advantage was most of the restaurants in Vadodara were vegetarian.
Pregnancy has its own impacts and unbelievably I too got drawn into it. I love Idlis and the ones my grandmother makes with her signature chutneys is a big draw and anyone can gobble 10 to 12 Idlis without any pangs of guilt. I suddenly decided that I wanted to eat Idlis. My colleagues were shocked and explained in detail that this place is not right to experiment with it and asked me to wait till we get back to Chennai. It somehow got onto my being so vehemently and anything I see white and round reminded me of Idlis. I did not leave the lights in the elevator too. It was a white dome and I would spend the time in the elevator staring at it much to the discomfort of my colleagues.
As my Idli rant was getting more and more strong, one of my colleagues advised others that it is not a good idea to keep me wanting something since I was pregnant and so the adventure to find a restaurant selling idlis began. We searched a number of restaurants but they were authentic Gujarati restaurants. One of the restaurateurs asked us to check out a restaurant in the outskirts of the city known for the South Indian cuisine. We arranged a car and traveled all the way and I had my nausea and vomit sensations typical of a pregnant woman but yet we carried on the relentless search, thanks to my friends.
Maybe if we had mobile apps such as TinyOwl, we might have found the restaurants much easily and got it delivered too at home. Finally, we arrived at the restaurant and yes, they served Idlis. We waited eagerly and the idlis were served with sambar. My friends almost thrust the whole plate into my mouth in their enthusiasm. Just then I realized that the Idli was hard and could not be bitten. It was almost like a cricket ball and needed a knife to cut it through. I just could not consume a mouth of it and our repeated requests for softer Idlis fell on deaf ears. Totally disappointed we walked out and when I think of it now, I am all smiles but then I was almost in tears there. We travelled back home and everyone was silent. My colleague suggested we could prepare it at home but since we had only mixer, it was not possible to get the batter ready.
I was quite dehydrated and upset and my colleague was holding me as we walked inside the apartment. One of our apartment neighbors who stay at the ground floor was walking behind us and seeing me asked us to have some water, take rest at their home before proceeding up to our 3rd floor. I suddenly realized that the lady who spoke to me was a Tamilian. My friends (colleagues) explained our situation and believe it or not, this kind lady Mrs. Maithreyi, immediately went in and came out with soft idlis and chutney she had prepared for dinner. I do not remember how many I ate that day but after this episode, I had the privilege of having tasty Tamilian food now and then and Idlis whenever she prepared, at my doorstep with hot sambar and coconut chutney.