I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: nobody makes dosas like Bangalore makes dosas. Not even close.
There was a time, back when my world view was constrained and my knowledge of dosas considerably lesser than it is today. This should not be construed, I hasten to add, to mean that I know a lot about the subject today: my travels in this domain have taught me to be humble, and I remain open to learning more about the great and glorious subject.
Still, as I was saying: considerably lesser than it is today. And in those ignorance filled days, I used to think that the dosas at Roopali are pretty good. Now, I stand second to none in my love for Roopali. I still say that for Pune, it is pretty good grub. Its thali is still good enough to make me salivate, and its coffee is second to none. Bar none.
But now that I have seen dosa heaven, even I, an ardent supporter of Roopali, am forced to admit that the Roopali dosa, well – it sucks.
And you know what doesn’t suck? The dosa at Vidyarthi Bhavan.
The next time you are in Bangalore, do the following. Wake up on the weekend at six. I know, I know. But what, you will howl in protest, about all those microbreweries? Fair point, and I agree with you completely. But either give up your bacchanalian tendencies for just one evening, or drink, but have the discipline to wake up at six the next day. Why will be clear in just a second.
Hurry through your morning ablutions, and make your way to a place in Bangalore called Gandhinagar. In Gandhinagar, either ask the locals for Vidyarthi Bhavan, or keep an eye out for a crowd that’s, on the face of it, positively frothing at the mouth.
But as you get closer, you will see that it isn’t quite so much froth as it is a bunch of people salivating at the prospect of getting into V.B. Join the crowd, register your name with the old, cantankerous gentleman at the entrance, and settle back in the middle of a jostling, but amiable bunch.
Eventually, your name will be called out, and you get to troop into the place, which is not much in terms of ambience. Ramrod straight benches, spotlessly clean tables, and a waiter in a blue shirt and white veshti, who will ask you what you want in no nonsense fashion.
I’d suggest a khara bhaath and a idli vada sambar as hors d’oeuvres. Eventually, though, the blue shirted waiter will make his way towards you, with every single inch of his forelimbs laden with plates of dosas. One of these will make its way in front of you.
It is richly laden with ghee, and rich brown in colour. It is plump to look at, and soul satisfyingly aromatic.
It is deliciously crunchy on the outside, and meltingly soft on the inside. It will have a lake of chutney on the side. It may have potatoes on the inside, although I personally prefer mine without. Savour each bite, and beg and plead with the blue shirted angel for a second one. He might brusquely brush you aside by saying that the next batch will only be ready in thirty minutes, but if he spots a newly awakened belief in theism in your eyes, as he did in mine, he might unbend and grudgingly give you of his munificence.
Eat the second as reverentially you did the first, and trundle out of the place with love and benevolence towards all creation.
There is no better city on this earth than Pune. That much is fact. But dosas? Bangalore’s got you beat, Pune, Bangalore’s got you beat.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
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