This past week I ended up wandering around my neighbourhood a fair bit. A rare evening walk on the only day the rain let up. That emergency run to the wine store two streets away. Stopping by the florist on return to buy just two stalks of lilies. Going personally to buy veggies at the hole in the wall store we’ve been going to for years, but that I’ve forgotten about since bigbasket took over. But this past week I felt the urge of going out myself, picking veggies with my hands, pressing them to assess tenderness, sniffing them to check for freshness, and the like. The guy remembered me of course — it hasn’t been that long. But to me, it definitely felt like a return after aeons. A return from blindly clicking on unimaginatively flattened images of all the things I need, and really stepping in to a store that tickles more than a couple senses at one go. Maybe it’s all the increased motivation for all things domestic.
This is not to be mistaken as virtue signalling. I still will continue to use bigbasket and the like, but when my routine allows it and I have the urge, I do like to get out myself.
I stopped by the local “hot chips” store on my way back. And it was again a moment of rushing back in time. The “technology” has gotten mildly sophisticated to facilitate faster churning out of bigger crisper batches — a semi-mechanised mandolin-like thingamjig to slice potatoes paper thin and directly send them flying into a scalding wok, so all the dude has to do is gently splosh them about in the hot oil till ready — but the smells of boiling oil and all the familiar spices threatening to set off a sneeze fit, the sights the shelves stacked high with an assortment of fried goodies and the block-like cases sporting brightly coloured differently spiced deep-fried goodness — from potatoes to tapioca to jackfruit to karela and bananas and so much more. The heating contraption to melt and seal bags of chips, that old school weighing scale with the hexagonal iron weights. The open bowls of samplers on the counter top. And the lady with a big smile welcoming you to her haven of fried everything.
There are some things that just spell Bangalore. Fried eye-timms are definitely on top of that list for me. Hot Chips stores are a close second.
I came home with two kilos of chips that day. A kilo and a half to take to Niyu’s birthday party along with the massive batch of hung curd dip I made. And half a kilo just for me. To eat with everything. It’s true love, this.
One year ago: Say, say, say, hey, hey now baby (Amsterdam. Day 3.)
Three years ago: I had to talk about Coke Studio, just a little bit