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Mumbai Diary page: Sunday shorts

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

When all roads led to Mani's
This Onam, we decided to head to Mani’s Lunch Home for sadya. The legendary Matunga restaurant, which opened in 1937, served 22 dishes as part of its Onam feast between 11 am and 3 pm.

We expected heading to a hall somewhere close to the restaurant Mani’s always hires one to serve sadya to the patrons who come here from all across Mumbai. What we didn’t expect was a serpentine queue, even at 2 pm, which would take two-and-a-half hours to clear (where were those hour-long queues?).

Meanwhile, people waited. They sat on the stone benches in the hall’s garden. They clicked selfies. We walked up to the counter, and asked the gentleman whether we would be sent away if we didn’t make it to the hall by 3 pm.

“I do not want to send you away,” he smiled hesitantly, “and we will continue serving food till evening if we don’t run out of the dishes.” So we waited, too, and had a mini-lunch at Ayyapa’s, the streetside stall near Mani’s which did roaring business that day as everyone in the queue took turns to eat there as they waited for sadya.

People gladly waited for hours for sadya on Onam at Mani’s Lunch Home in Matunga. Pics/Kareena Gianani
People gladly waited for hours for sadya on Onam at Mani’s Lunch Home in Matunga. Pics/Kareena Gianani

It was at 4.30 pm by the time we finally sat down at one of the four long tables inside the hall. We devoured the sadya and swore to never eat another morsel for the rest of our lives that’s how satisfying the meal was.

We exited the hall with another family in tow and the queue had just five people then. The woman beside us looked solemn (read too full to speak), but the man glanced at the queue, pointed at the hall, and told his wife, “Do you want another round of that? This queue is nothing!”

Local bon mot
If you’re standing because being seated is the kind of stuff dreams are made up of in a jam-packed local train, you never know what’s going to happen next.

In Mumbai, overcrowded local train compartments are amusement parks where you can’t take a walk. File pic
In Mumbai, overcrowded local train compartments are amusement parks where you can’t take a walk. File pic

There could be an annoying piece of music playing anytime soon on someone’s cellphone or better still, an argument breaking out between two fellow commuters who are primarily furious at the city but have targeted each other for the time being.

An overcrowded local compartment is an amusement park where you can’t take a walk. Some of the rudest, sharpest, kindest and funniest people are inside. Recently, when we were on a train on the Harbour line, the crowd that managed to board our train defied both logic and sense of safety. 

Commuters inside seemed glued to each other. As the said train was about to reach Chembur, somebody innocently asked "Ab kya aane wale hai?” Before anybody could provide him the correct information, a smart-alec promptly replied, “Hawaa.”

Not the BEST service
Despite several reports, BEST buses in the city continue not having numbers printed in decipherable, black ink. They are often written in chalk as the LED display is often dysfunctional.

Harried commuters peer desperately at the number as the bus approaches the stop. Some often ask the passengers inside the bus what number it is. We fail to understand why this transport arm cannot fix a simple problem. Pull up your socks, and live up to your acronym, BEST.

In Cyrus' good books
Amidst all the jokes and pranks that Cyrus Broacha indulges in, there is his serious and passionate love for cricket, a sport which figures in practically every episode of his highly watchable The Week that Wasn’t (TWTW).

Cyrus Broacha is seriously passionate about cricket
Cyrus Broacha is seriously passionate about cricket

Cyrus and his TWTW mate, Kunal Vijayakar were at Cricket Club of India’s CK Nayudu Banquet Hall on Friday evening to listen to former India captain, Rahul Dravid deliver the sixth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture.

While we waited for Dravid to make his timely, on-the-dot-at-5-pm entry, Cyrus got talking about his love for cricket books. With that came a story, a true story from Cyrus’ college days.

Turns out that the book, Brightly Fades the Don, is one of his favourites
Turns out that the book, Brightly Fades the Don, is one of his favourites

The English teacher asked the batch to write about their favourite book, so Cyrus chose to write about a cricket book called Brightly Fades the Don by Jack Fingleton.

It was about Don Bradman’s last tour of England where he was successful but Fingleton, his former teammate, didn’t believe he was at his best. Cyrus expected a pat on the back for his essay and probably expected the professor to be impressed by his reading taste.

She wasn’t and poor Cyrus was left wondering about ways to explain to her the significance of this book. Going by Cyrus’ expression, the disappointment is yet to die down.

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