Every fortnight, I do a two hour cross-London trip to East Ham. Purpose of the trip: procure freshly made dosa batter [maavu]. I don't mind spending two hours closed up in the London tube to enjoy crispy dosas for breakfast (maybe lunch and dinner too!).
Last week, after a tiring day at work (stumbling all day can cause finger cramps!), I decided to set out to East Ham to replenish my dwindling dosa batter supplies. I was lost in thought (as usual) and lost my way as well. I decided to trust my instinct and ask the decent looking twenty-something Indian-looking guy on the road for directions.
Me: Hi there, I seem to be lost. I am looking for Chennai Dosa. Do you know where it is?
We walk in silence.He: Sure. You are walking in the wrong direction. I am going that way, so if you would walk with me, I can get you to Chennai Dosa.Me: Thanks a lot.
He: Why do so many people like Chennai Dosa so much? I have been there couple of times and to be honest, I didn't like that place. Don't you get tired of dosas?
Silence.Me: Aw that's sad. If you don't like dosas, they do have a lot of other stuff too. Try their biriyani or their paratta.He: [smiles].
Notice that I didn't mention that I was there with the sole purpose of getting the dosa batter. No use mentioning it to a dosa-hater.He: So you're not from East Ham, considering that you got lost trying to find Chennai Dosa?Me: Oh no, I live on the other side of
, just here to pick some groceries I don't get near my place. London
He: Oh, that's quite a journey. Food lover, eh?Silence.
Me: Yeah, sort of. [Sheepish grin that I get to use a lot these days]
After two minutes I decide that it's my turn to break the silence next.
Me: So where are you from?He had the typical north Indian look. So I decided to venture a safe guess.
He: [Smiles.] What do you think?
He: No, but close. [Smiles]
Me: I give up. I am from Kerala. Where are you from?
He: I am from
Oh my God did he say P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N?!
I was so taken aback that I stopped walking for a second. It was the first time I was face to face to with someone from
The first thought that flashed in my mind was: "Enemy alert. Get away from him ASAP!"
I am sure he caught a glimpse of the fear, anger and hatred in my eyes. He looked away and smiled.
He: I have a lot of friends here from Kerala.We were in front of Chennai Dosa.
Me: I see.
He: Oh here we are.
He: Let me take your leave lady. Enjoy your dosa. [smiles]
Me: [Sheepishly sorry grin]