Sunday, February 27, 2005

Omanakutty Chaikadapatti

4 vegetable biryanis, 10 atta parathas (or parottas/barottas), 5 vegetable curries, 3 chicken curries, 1 egg curry, 4 dosas, 11 lime juices, 1 chickoo milk shake and something else I don't remember now. A complete dinner for ten people, a very very satisfying meal. And all for just Rs 234. That's Rs 23.40 per person. Bloody good value for money.

This post is the long overdue one on my recent adventures in God's Own Country. Kerala, not my room.

NIT (formerly REC) Calicut (now Kozhikode) conducted (that's still the same) their cultural extravaganza Ragam '05 about 10 days back. And our college, in a sudden fit of highly fishy generosity, decided to sponsor a team of participants. And particishirts. Oh whatever.

So there we were, ten of us off on a four day release from the humdrum existence we lead in (at home) and around (in college) Chennai. The group included Krishnamurti who, because he is a god-level guitarist, is nicknamed Ishwar. And don't you forget it. (Those who are not in on the politics and machinations of the group would not get it. Tough.)

Seven of the ten were musical chaps, representing us in, as would be obvious to anyone with an IQ greater than 11.3, the musical events. (By the way, I have noticed that I, in the course of typing this post, astonishingly frequently (and sometimes quite irritatingly) use nested commas (and brackets) to construct a sentence. Why, I wonder, why...)

Just for the record, I am as far from being musical as Lalu Prasad Yadav is from being the dean of Oxford University. The non-musical guys - Nandan, Mario and me - were basically entrusted with winning as much as possible of everything else. Which the other two did with great success, but all I have to show, personally, for four days there, is 200 bucks and a name tag that proudly proclaims that I was the team captain. Yahoo, bring out the champagne.

But what I cherish about the trip is not the event itself which fell just a little short of my expectations. It was the experience, the fun and the FOOD! The food consistently rocked throughout. If you're ever there, you must try the pineapple juice at the canteen - it's like an alien. Out of this world. OK, that was sad. But I was happy. There I was, stuffing myself with all this great food and having the college pay for it! The food was not only incredibly delicious, it was also dirt cheap. One could have a really really filling breakfast - multiple dishes - for just 10 bucks.

The canteen, where we were served by our good friend seguppu sattai (which translates to red shirt) - a warm and friendly chap from north-eastern India - is just one of the options available for a sublime culinary experience. The second place we tried was called Hotel Darbar. Nice place, very tasty food, and very cheap. But for some strange reason, the experience of finding a big black bug (which I suspect was of the genus Blattellidae) in my omelette turned me off. So don't go there.

The best place we found there for grub is popularly called Mamachans. OK, it's actually SomethingElse Canteen and Mamachan's Ice Creams, but everyone calls it Mamachans. It's a tiny restaurant hidden near the back of the campus. Quite easy to miss it, as we did at first. The first night we went there, they had a power cut. From afar, it looked like a haunted cottage, eerily (spell check, please) lit by candlelight. The sort of place hot young things in close-to-no clothes simply have to spend a night at in cheesy Hindi horror flicks. Anyways, when we finally found it, it was worth the short tramp. We attacked the poor chap (who was actually done for the night) and cleaned him out completely. From the baleful looks his dog kept giving us, I'm guessing we had the dog's dinner too. Super delicious food, super low pricing. The first paragraph of this helps illustrate my point.

There's more to our trip than just food. The roommate forced on us ("Can I schmock in the room?"), our conversations in Hindi (a sanskrit scholar among us ordered "ekaha plate-aha vadaha"!), butter naan vs butter chicken... but that's food again. The girls hitting on Mario, the indepth knowledge of all things carnal required for JAM, the #$%^@ daily quiz with no prize money, the late night music practice sessions, antakshari in the train, deciding how much we could flick from the college without appearing to be indecently greedy, the lush greenery, the friendly people and the repeated references to Omanakutty Chaikadapatti... so much to say, so little energy.

Gonna go watch Jurassic Park dubbed into Malayalam on Asianet. Ciao.


sagaro said...

Even a two hundred bucks is good enuf, when the college is sponcering your trip. I never thought SVCE would ever do that. The worst part being in SVCE it is easier to get OD for cults. than for TECH. SYMP.

AC said...

That's very true. But given the sort of guy I am, I'd choose culturals over tech stuff any day!

sagaro said...

I expected this, just after I had commented...but only sooner.

AC said...

Ah well... better late than never!