Friday, October 01, 2010

continuity - on the move

We have been touring North India currently  and I have been fascinated by the land, the people and the culture.  More fascinated by the smaller unknown places, people and their little stories.  Presenting one such here:
On the national highway between Chandigarh and Amritsar lies this dhaba which is quite famous in its own way ... the owner proudly told us that cricketer Harbhajan Singh came in the just the other night as he had heard about the place.
We stopped to have so have some tea and breakfast on our way to Amritsar ... the dhaba is teaming with people - all men except two elderly ladies who are sitting there with their family.  As one enters the dhaba, the men unashamedly stare ... not lewdly, just plain simple staring .. no big city like codes of conduct here.  They check you out especially you happen to be a female, not attired in the traditional dress codes of the land and also don't look like them.  No other mal intention here, one just has to get used to being stared at.

The dhaba owner is in his thirties, busy receiving payments and ordering his stuff.  His 8 year old son plays around nearby. We just asked for the boy's name, and out came the story of his family, history of the dhaba, his desire for sending his sons to Australia for higher study because "wohan pe padne wala course bhi acchhe hai ji aur banda ka life bhi settle ho jata hain".  Solid and simple logic.  I wondered whether he has been reading the newspaper about all the "beat up the Indian guy" syndrome there but he seemed so happy at the prospect of sending his sons there, that I decided against it.

On one corner were these two big cauldrons which were on slow fire and were revolving making khoy or rabri (thick milk) while another chap was busy mixing up besan or ground lentils with water and other herbs.

The road in front is busy but had a soothing feel about it, tall trees with shades lined up the road like an avenue, the dhaba had a scene of happy and un hurried chattering, being together kind of feel about it. In front was the green green fields of punjab, spreading into the yonder.

The dhaba has been there for 25 years - started by the owner's father.  He seems quite content with his life and yet have dreams in his eyes for his sons.  I wondered, if I ever came back after ten years or so, who would I see at the counter? would it be one of his sons or would it change hands?

I wished his all the best and walked out .. to another city, to meet some other new people.


  1. Hi!

    Travelling to places exposes to such typical features about the place. It was interesting to read! Next time I travel, I know I am inspired enough to write!


  2. hEY, BTW, i mentioned about you in one of my posts... about hair styles! you would like to read it!


  3. @restless: thank you. would look up and write to you.

  4. That sound so familiar. Four four years (when I stayed with the younger one in Chandigarh for his schooling) between 1998 and 2002 I must have travelled that route hundreds of times by car and bus and eaten at some of the best dhabhas. the food is simple and wholesome and they don't stint on the ghee and butter either and if you are not watching your diet, you can simply gorge on the food. Made me nostalgic for the times the kids were still home.

  5. @zephyr: :-) ... and the food is yummy too, dollops of butter/ghee notwithstanding.

  6. Most of these Dhabaa Places are heaven, though not hygienically, but the food tastes so authentic.
    Though I would love to have more cleaner wash-rooms and a better ambiance i would not like them to change the food or the hospitality.

  7. Loved this piece of writing....:)

  8. I guess, each one's perception of life is different and its just so interesting to know!

  9. i am also a street food fan

  10. This was very interesting Sharbori . More pics and stories ? I love travelogues

  11. @eve's lungs: thanks. will do. :-)


Thank you for sharing your views, thoughts and feelings with me here: