Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I make do with little

There is a stall outside my office that makes and sells dabhelis. Not on the same day, though. I think the guy makes the dabhelis one day and sells them the next. So, the pavs are usually a little stale, and the sweet, red, potato stuffing looks like the remnants of the first deer killed by a cave man. All the same, the 5 p.m. hunger pang is not very particular about taste or form. Anything quick, hot, and greasy is good.

The stall is usually run by a very friendly, young chap. He’s a little, happy blitzkrieg with a spatula. Watching him work, I have thought how I could easily script a sitcom noting down his conversations with customers.

The very first day I ventured to that line of stalls, I was looking for vada pav. Because it was rather late in the evening, only a few isolated chunks of potatoes clung to the steel plates. So, the next best option involving a tava-heated pav was a dabheli. This guy with shining eyes smiled at me. Of course, I went there.

‘1 dabheli’, I ordered.

‘Which one? Kacchi Dabheli?’, he asked me eagerly. The spatula was in one hand, he had started the burner and the tavaa was hissing, the pav lay split on the wooden counter, he was all ready to work his magic and give me what I wanted. And here I was, this dense customer, who obviously had not thought through her choice. Ah! To suffer ineptitude…

‘Umm…ah..kacchi?,’, I sputtered.

‘Here!’, he brightly handed me the buttery, toasty goody before I was done agreeing with him.

Happily I ate.

I wanted another one.

‘Another one?’, He’s a mind reader – that one.


Kacchi dabheli?’

It was really interesting – the way he asked me that. Like there’s this God, see, who takes a little star and asks what galaxy it wants to be a part of. This guy had flair.

‘What other kinds do you have?’ Since he hadn’t sprung to action already, I thought this time I’d make my choice carefully.

‘Nothing else. Only kacchi dabheli. You want?’

Talk about getting deflated. Forget the galaxy, the star was shooed off to decorate somebody’s velvet pants worn in one of those cheesy discos that are open in the afternoons.

After that kind of a let down, I didn’t want another one of those kacchi dabhelis, but then, what the heck – it’s quick, hot, and greasy. That’s always good.


the harlequin said...

Kutchhi dabeli. As in 'from Kutch'. Not kacchi as in raw or briefs.

Mukta said...

WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!!! Really?! They spell it as 'Kacchi'..hee hee!

Man! The things you never know! Thanks!

doubtinggaurav said...

What is a dabheli ????

"Hot & Greasy" doesn't really go with "I will work my ass off so that I can have flat abs" you know :-)

Mukta said...


Manu said...

That deflated feeling reminds me of how I often feel when I go to the local Barista (actually any Barista). They have this wide selection, but only for display on the menu board. Whenever I try to be adventurous (often :p) and order a blue curaƧao granita or heaven forbid an iced tea other than peach or lemon.. pat comes the response.. sorry not available. :)

Mukta said...

hi Manu,

Long time...yes, about Barista - very true! :-)

karmic_jay said...

Umm @vada pav.
To the ignorant what is a kacchi dabheli?

Ashish Shakya said...

your 'foodie' posts always,ALWAYS, make me feel hungry!

Mukta said...


How are you? Sorry for not replying earlier. Dabheli is basically a sweet sort of stuffing (it has pomegranates, potatoes, and sometimes flecks of those candy chunks)smeared inside a pav and served hot. Not too many people like it though. And very few places make it well. (Isn't that the story with everything.:-D)

Hi Phoenix,

he he! I write these posts because I get hungry, which is happening more often nowadays. :-)

The Nonconformist said...

Kachchi part is from Kutch. One thing I have seen is U cannot have just one.