Life is all about experiencing different flavours when you are a food explorer. But likewise, sometimes it can get sweet or savoury, other times it can be salty or bitter too. In my close knitted group there aren’t many who share this interest with me. So, I usually go on solo food exploration trips. Where sometimes I end up making friends and having rendezvous with fascinating people. Be it a high street food stall, a local vendor, a fine-dine restaurant or an indigenous eatery set up in the outskirts of the city, each has its own gratuity to offer.
For me, food is all about connection with oneself and others through ingredients which is like our emotions i.e. even a handful can result in different kinds of experiences and feelings. My last such trip was a kind of an eye opener and gave me a thorough understanding of humanity.
This time I decided to explore a 20-year-old local food joint, set up on Malabar hills, remotely in the outskirt of the Mumbai. The task was to reach there early morning to avoid the city traffic. Somehow, struggling through the hustle-bustle of the city and a crowd of labourers as well as merchants I managed to reach before 7 am. Adding to my disappointment, they were still setting up the joint. Though, situated on a cliff, it was a small cosy place with limited seating arrangement. The place had an earthen appeal to it, was clean and to my surprise
Waiting with me were two other people, a girl, dressed up in formals carrying a laptop bag, she seemed a bit distracted lost in her own thoughts. Next was a guy, may be in his mid-twenties curiously scrutinizing the teenage boy, who was helping his father (the owner) setting up the eatery.
All of us were told to take a seat, sitting next to each other we exchanged few smiles, placed our orders and thanked the owner. Breaking the ice, the guy started talking, “I have heard this place serves the best croquettes in the town, though the menu is limited.” To that I replied, “Exactly, the food tales from here compels the food enthusiasts across the city to come and visit.”
Meanwhile, the aroma of the delicious food filled the air. Interrupting our conversation, the girl exchanged pleasantries with us, she introduced herself as Ananya, working in Chicago. She was in India for an official trip and that when in India, she never fails to visit this place. She added, “having a sweet tooth, it is hard to find authentic Indian desserts in Chicago.” So, her favourite was the hot piping jalebis. We all were waiting for our food while joined by a couple, who were active food bloggers by profession & were also on a culinary exploration.
While waiting, we saw a group of small kids, in minimal, untidy clothes begging for food or work. The owner saw us looking at them, he told us, they are orphans and children of vagabonds who are no more. These children do odd jobs, chores or beg for leftovers.
Finally, our long wait was over, the hot plates of food were brought to us. In that very moment I felt privileged that I have the option to explore places and eat abundantly unlike those kids who are struggling for leftovers. Overcome with sorrow, I stepped forward and handed my plate to the youngest of the lot. Following me my companions too did the same. Breaking their long fast, soon, the children started eating with a smile. After that, all we did was, watch them with a deep feeling of contentment.
Never have I thought, I would meet food enthusiasts like myself there. Though we exchanged goodbyes on that day but next morning I reconnected with them on LYK. I added them on my LYK network. LYK app – a unique application that not only allows you to connect but also get closer to your friends. I am glad to have a group of friends with the same interests and passion. Soon we are planning our next food trip and hope to have some wonderful experiences.