Friday, May 30, 2008

THE GRAVY TRAIN

We came back from Goa by train, on the Coromandel Express, also known as the Konkan Kanya (Daughter of the Konkan). It took about 12 hours to reach Mumbai, and, for the the better part of the day, we were gazing our fill at the lovely passing-landscape, or filling our tummies with food served on the train.

Our compartment was next-door to the pantry car, and we were relentlessly plied and supplied with food and drinks of various kinds, at various times.

There was tea, there was coffee, there were the usual Pepsi and not-so-usual piping hot too-red tomato soup. A man came and took orders for lunch, reeling off from an extensive menu: Chinese fried rice (veg and non-veg), biriyani (ditto)….We chose a chicken biriyani (chicken, rice and a boiled egg cooked together…though the rice seemed to have refused to be cooked with its non-veg mates!) and a fish-thali (dish of rice, pomfret fish curry and pickles, all cooked separately, accompanied with salad).

We also had sugar-sweetened dahi (yogurt) out of earthen pots, fried fish pieces served in unusual rectangular trays made of coconut leaves (I put one in my bag – minus the fish, and fishy-smell– for keepsake), and platters of freshly-cut watermelon. We drank kokum sharbat (a sour-spicy drink) to wash down the enormous quantity of grub, giving the sol-kadi (another sour-spicy drink) a miss.

Replete with lunch and landscape, we afternoon-dozed till the Alibaba’s pantry-door opened once again with vendors tempting us with idlis, dosas, and meduvadas (South Indian delicacies). Spoilt for choice, we had sabudana-vadas (fried tapioca cutlets) and upma-sheera (a spicy and a sweet preparation of semolina served side-by-side).

Then there were a flurry of orders for dinner (almost before the sun had set in the distant speedily-left-behind horizon). We had to take home the eclectic packets of chilli-chicken, chicken noodles and alu-paratha (greasy wheat-potato pancakes), because though we alighted at Dadar station, the food settled heavily in our tummies, as immobile as the traffic on Mumbai’s streets. A rude-food reminder of the end of our light-hearted holiday!

But the journey aboard the Curry-mandel Express was definitely one to cheer (and chew) about.

10 comments:

Nancy said...

Wow ... lots of chicken, lots of rice (two of my favorites). I hope this will not seem ignorant, but I've only recently discovered basmati rice and it has also become a family favorite. Is it typical of India?
And what was in the sour-spicy drinks?

sidhubaba said...

Food glorious food. For people like us paradise is better than Heaven because it offers food for the stomach, not only for the soul! But Konkan Railway may present a lot of beautiful sights, but if I remember correctly, it was constructed at the cost of many such natural beauties. Well, progress cannot stop. Unfortunately, it is beauty in its simplest forms that become the victims!

jyotsana said...

hi sucharita what a way with words...i enjoy your puns and the humor that has become a characteristic of sucharita.

life is good said...

hey really thats what i like trains over plane ...thats a way of gaining;P good weight

hey enjoyable post

Laurie said...

I love Indian food. I don't get any here in Honduras, but my other city New Orleans has a food good places. I also like mystery reads, especially Agatha Christie, and I sometimes re-read my favorites in Spanish just for the fun of it! Blessings! Laurie

Vartika said...

that's a really tempting post for a foodie such as i am!

SwAtI said...

Hey!!

Yup m busy with my exam prep.. hv to go to s'pore for that..
will b bak mid june.. then catch up with all ur posts..n share with you mine.. :)

Take care!!
Best wishes to you and your lovely daughters.. :)

Mina Jade said...

Food for the stomach and not only for the soul, sounds great :-)

(As for food, I think I have to be on a diet soon :-( )

Sayani said...

hey thats so good tune up!!!
i mean coramandel over currey mandal

i liked it sooo much
reminds me my hostel life and when i used to come back from hyd to kol at that same train ...

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