A delayed flight. (What else can you expect of Deccan?)
A missing colleague.
And I find myself telling the driver to take me to the Tunde ke Kabab ka dukaan...
I had eaten the famous kababs but they had been a rather hurried affair at office lunches. They were good - but I had had better!
So, after getting suitably chastised at a gathering where I dared to say that Al Kakori Al Kauser is better than Tunde, I decided to try it out right in the horse's (goat's?) mouth.
Anaemic constable pointing out a No Parking sign.
Nonchalant driver pretending to be deaf.
"Kahan hain dukaan?"
Points out a nook. Lit well enough. Not exactly Taj Residency. But what the hell?
The exact name seems to be Grandson of Tunday Kababi: M U Eating Point.
The grandson is posing in a picture on the wall. With Dilip Kumar. Yusuf saab looks well-fed enough and is smiling in an avuncular sort of manner.
The menu board (on the wall) is sponsored by India Gate Basmati Rice (Badhaye aapki parivaar ka shaan).
Thirteen items on the menu. Including Cold Drink (Rs 10.00) and Mineral Water (Rs 15.00).
Beef Kabab - Rs 12.00. Mutton kabab - Rs 24.00. Mutton Biriyani - Rs 30.00.
What's for the veggies? Roomali Roti, Paratha, Sheermal and the aforementioned drinks.
About a decade ago, a group of classmates used to devour beef kababs by the dozen from a shack outside the Statesman House of Calcutta. But decide to stick to mutton this time. (Ah... the courage of youth!)
Placed order for a biriyani and kabab. Hardly had I taken out the phone to compose a message, the friendly waiter was back. A steel quarter plate of the kabab and one more of the biriyani.
Gingerly spooned in a bit of biriyani. Not bad. But as I said, I have had better...
Now a spoonful of kabab... and the world stopped for a moment. As the granules of mutton elegantly melted along the palate of my entire mouth, I could not help but draw a gasp of breath...
Unbelievable. Cannot think of any adjective.
The waiter hovered around the table. As I poked out the second piece of mutton from under the rice, it turned out to be more of a bone with very little meat on it. Did not notice it all that much since it was so very common. The waiter scooted off – and came back with a chunky piece of mutton on a plate. Dropped it off on my plate, murmuring something under his breath.
4 packs of biriyani and 4 packs of mutton kabab are now safely loaded on to my overnighter. Because the moment I stop feeling stuffed, I will start getting withdrawal symptoms. Planning ahead is the secret of a happy and successful life!
Total bill came to Rs 280 (including a Pepsi).
Felt almost guilty to have taken away so much good stuff for so little.
Left a fifty-rupee tip.
Remember me, pardner – I will be back!