Sunday, August 30, 2015

1 Food Fix & 3 Lessons to Cherish

Food is an integral part of my life. Yes, I’m a foodie. No, it’s no confession, it’s a fact. A fact that I’ve accepted gracefully as a part of my life. More so, there have been instances where I’ve planned my day around food. So eating for me can be emotional, celebratory and sometimes irrational. I love hosting people for food as it builds wonderful memories. And of course I can share a story from some memorable experiences that have been closely associated with food.

I can recall a time when I was away from home. This was in the year 2010 in Bangalore, where I was visiting the garden city to appear for GD/PIs for higher studies. I was there for about a week, and a college friend had invited me over to her flat for the three day stay. I was overwhelmed with the hospitality that she showed me for the week that I stayed with her. She being a foodie like me, served me with yummy local cuisines as and when I was studying and preparing for the GD/PIs. Right from Gobi Manchurian, Kurma, Puliogare to Paneer Butter Masala with Parotta, Filter Coffee and Buns, I had the food and the effervescent company of my dear friend. After the GD/PI, I was spared with another day before I returned to Mumbai. Moved by her warm reception and hospitality, I promised to treat her and her roommates to dinner; I insisted despite her trepidation and her sincere "it-is-ok-you-don’t-have-to".

Lesson 1: Don’t make promises when you’re happy and don’t make decisions when you’re angry’. 

I had decided, I’ll order the food in from the same restaurant where I had sampled Gobi Manchurian and Paneer Butter Masala, at 8.30PM since the girls returned from work at 9PM. And so at around 8.00 PM I ventured out into the streets of Malleshwaram, searching for Ice cream. It was pouring in early of June – very unlike Mumbai I had thought – and I saw that the nearby shops slowing closing their shutters. I reached the Havmor ice cream shop and saw that it too was about to shut for the day. I asked him why they were shutting shop so early, to which he said in broken english-kannada – “Illa Closing time in Bangalore ees 8.30” And only some ice cream and chemists were open till 9.00 PM or so.


Lesson Two: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

And I shrieked! This was not Mumbai! Bangalore restaurants shut waaaaaaay early! No '10 PM parcel jaldi bhejna'- order here. There goes my dinner treat, I thought. When I asked where I can get a hot dinner to eat, he scratched his head and told me to run, literally run down the temple road street and look for a restaurant called Sairam’s who might be open right now. Sensing every minute ticking I rushed to the street with the help of his directions and made it to Sairam's. And it was no restaurant, it was a chaat corner!


I was wondering whether Mumbai-kar was tattooed to my forehead which is perhaps why the shopkeeper made the suggestion. Anyways, with no choice left, I had to make the best of the situation and ordered a variety of chaat to take away. I also packed a few piping hot Mangalore bhajjis that a nearby tea packed tea stall was churning. As I reached back and dumped the ice cream in the freezer, I smacked my head in the lack of planning I had. 

Having gotten drenched in the rains, I dried myself up and then headed to assemble the dining table, crockery and the “dinner”. I readied myself to withstand the disappointment and crestfallen face that my otherwise cheerful friend will have and the snide backhanded comments that she might get from her roomies after I leave. Sigh!
And in no time, it was 9 and the girls were back. Though there was no wafting aroma of the paneer butter masala welcoming them in, I made sure I at least had the presentation top notch. After they had freshened up I welcomed them with some lime coolers followed by the bhajjis. Oohs and Aahs commenced. I smiled wryly. I could sense their hunger and anticipation. Silently I brought out the food and placed it in front.

I remember to this day, all I could manage to say is 'Tuck in’. A long pause followed.

Because after that the three of them smiled broadly and loaded their plates with the chaats.
I was flabbergasted. They’re animatedly eating and enjoying the chaat platter. No. They’re stuffing their faces full. 

My friend managed a ‘so yum’ and a ‘I miss Mumbai’between bites of sevi puri and mouthfuls of pani puri. I had a broad grin on my face as I was basking in their moment of food bliss. Three rounds of ice cream followed with ‘thank you for the yummy treat’ in chorus.

Too tired to explain the chain of events that preceded the evening, I called it a night. The next day I explained to them over filter kaapi and buns of how I had goofed up.

Lesson 3: Always try and make the most of the situation.

Post the round of giggles and nodding that followed, my friend said to me “Arre yaar, honestly I was going to tell you not to order from the same place as we’re kinda bored of eating Bangalore food. In fact it was a welcome change. And you know how I crave sev puri!


I was really relieved to hear this that I had not disappointed her and not embarrassed her in front of her friends. And her roomies had asked me for the nook’s place that I had found thanks to the shopkeeper and the law of serendipity. To this day, this wonderful food memory remains a talking point between my friend and me. We may be in different parts of the world, but whenever we have chaat in a foreign city, we’re bound to recall this incident.


So that was my tale. Me in a different city, with different social timelines and languages and of course different food. This situation could’ve perhaps turned out differently, had I know when the restaurants shut and open for business, what was best to order from those restaurants and save me the trouble of the commute.

Only a Tiny Owl could’ve perhaps been my knight in shining armour in this food fix. The Tiny Owl app. is what I'm referring to. How? The app tracks my location to check the restaurants in my area. Where I could’ve seen where I could order Paneer Butter Masala and Gobi Manchurian from and when cravings overcame me – Sairam’s chaat. Moreover, it could’ve given me a heads up as to when the restaurants would shut and save me the effort of running around in deserted Bangalore streets searching for sustenance.

TinyOwl is a mobile first food delivery app available on Android and iOS. They don’t have a web version. Don’t be deceived by the name – this tiny delivery app delivery to 400+ people with 2000+ daily orders in association with 4000 restaurants. They also have an app for home-made food delivery called Tiny Owl Homemade. What’s more, Tiny Owl is going to launch a platform for internet-first food start-ups. As they expand their footprint across 50 cities in India, I hope they help foodies like me to find food faster devoid of any food fixes and goof ups.


  1. What an experience, Gauri! Yes, though - most places close too soon here in Bangalore! I've been a resident of Mumbai as well and the difference between the two cities is so striking in terms of food!

    All the best for the contest!

    1. Though Bangalore is like my second home, I'm glad I stay in Mumbai.

  2. And someone just the other day said Bangalore is much more peppier than Mumbai. Not that I believed those words. But now I am like wtf!! with Maggi gone off the shelves and late night no snacking!!! Bangalore you ought to suck big time. God Bless you girl. I still get 2 am Burji pav and 4 am sheera and mendu vada on the streets of Mumbai.

    1. Indeed, thankfully I am in Mumbai. :)
      Thank you for taking out time to comment Adarsh!


So, Is your glass half empty or half full? ;)

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