MASAAL VADAI IN MADISON

Sitting in the thick glass lined cubicle in the 15th floor, I was browsing the internet web sites to see any interesting topics to enjoy. The evening time, 4 O’ clock to be accurate.  The peculiar aroma coming out from the kitchen of a very familiar dish was twitching my olfactory nerve ends. I could make it out what it is. My thoughts flew all over to my land,India,and  Mandaveli in Chennai.  I was right. The Bus stand tea shops. There were 3 of them and all were busy preparing Masaal Vadais and the crowd was enjoying the crisp vadais and parceling them. No competition among them, and equally no complaints from the customers unlike the tough fight in selling the different brand sedans, SUV’s and the like. No banks and well dressed insurance guys with their tents nearby to woo the needy and the greedy who will escape without paying their EMI’s. All are having brisk business. Thank god, our finance minister is not interfering with their income. My wife brought out few crisp Vadais neatly arranged in a plate after removing the excess oil with the tissue paper and seeing them I was wandering in the cloud like Wordsworth in his couch with his daffodils. The taste buds tickled and my nostrils got chocked. The struggle she would have had to remove them from the frying pan at the right moment of time to have a golden brown tinge and to have a photogenic look on the serving plate must have been done standing on her tip toe to show to her daughter-in-law that she is a culinary expert.

A knock at the door put us all in confusion. Yes, he was our next door man, John, with whom I am friendly and we used to go on an evening stroll everyday as part of keep fit campaign. He was suddenly pulled towards the plate. The aroma defies the direction and is even powerful than a magnet, the Physics scientist will even feel shy of.The Nobel Laureates of biological and chemistry  will not be able to analyze what DNA RNA Strains it contains and what chemicals makes it tasty.  Luckily the plate was adorned by 4 pieces only and he took two and started narrating his episode of his visit to Chennai and the Vadai he had tasted on the roadside. I just told jokingly those would have tasted better owing to the presence of street dust and “special oil”. He was praising the taste of it, thinking he may be served few more.  I looked at the face of my wife, who rotated her eyes and blinked. I could understand the full meaning of it. I was put to silence. We both walked out.

Returning back and while enjoying few more, few thoughts filled my brain and mind.  The Britishers came to India and settled in Calcutta and established the trading co. Had they settled in Chennai first , we could have traded with this street corner Masaal Vadais and serving this hallowed dish , Robert Clive  would have very much pleased and returned long back giving our poor roadside venders with a permanent order to supply on a regular basis or he even would have selected few to come to London.. Then there won’t have been Carnatic wars and battle of Plassey and our history books would have been running to few pages only and the drudgery of keeping the events in chronological order and facing the fierce history teacher and the punishment of writing the imposition 100 and more even according to what number comes out of his mouth could have been avoided.

Had Our Mahathmaji been reminded of the secret of this wonder dish by his close associates, we would not have waited for him to struggle for 50 years after his return from Africa to gain freedom.

Even George Bush, had he known the secret of this punctuating aroma, would have fished out Bin Laden from the unfathomable Afghan hideouts, alive just like the donkey following the carrot. He wasted his effort in dollars by using unwarranted chemical weapons!

Why going so far far international events. Our own local party meetings, in Kerala especially, the sustainable and equally non sustainable decisions are groomed by munching the masaal vadai and its almost equally pliable brother, as an alternative, the crispy paruppu vadai with a gulp of hot tea. These were treated as a panacea for not solving the problems, finally, anyway.

Whatever said or imagined, the Masaal Vadai in Madison was a great feast to my eyes and palate. I even praised her when her DIL was sitting near her that she is a better chef than Tarla Dalal which made her neck rise and obviously resulted in a cramp.

( Imagined as my brother writing this article sitting with his family at Madison US)

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