Bhajan Seth Da Dhaba

My mother suddenly makes weird decisions. And that took us to a little ahead of Talegaon to the Grameen Office of a tiny village one Saturday morning. By the time we were done with work, it was lunch time. The father and I have had a Mariott Lunch BUffet pending for weeks now, and when we called to ask whether they had their scrumptious, dirt cheap buffet on Saturdays too, they replied in the negative. So, my father said Bhajanseth Da Dhaba.

And while we drove to it, the parents recounted stories from when they were engaged – how the young men (my
uncle, my dad and a bunch of their very very very rowdy friends) would get very drunk at my uncle’s house
in Talegaon. And then come to Mr. Bhajan, with whom they had left whole chickens and asked him to cook them in the Tandoor. Cost cutting, ftw! And about that first time that my mum tasted Tandoori Chicken – vegetarian, fairly religious, Gujarati, Brahmin girl. T-a-n-d-o-o-r-i-c-h-i-c-k-e-n. And then, that one time, when my father was very drunk and stepped into cow poo, right outside the dhaba. Of course, it’s a lot more posh than just a dhaba now – cemented walls, ceiling fans, restrooms, refrigerators, ducks and dogs. They’ve kept the khatiyas for the dhaba feel. And they still serve the most brilliant food in the world.

Dad and I started off with a strong beer (KF strong) and made faces at one another. Mom mixed some Limca in
with her beer and had shandy and told me (for the forty second time) about their honeymoon trip to Goa
(when I was three) and when she got drunk for the first time. On shandy. We called for more beer (Bud, this
time around because KF strong is dirty piss). And a Chicken 65. I don’t know why it’s called Chicken 65.
Why not 69? Or 42? Ok. Clearly, this is my life-universe-and-everything post. You’ll know when we get to
the mutton curry.

So, here’s the deal with Chicken 65. It’s made in an awfully red, red masala, that goes into your fingers
(well, YOUR finger nails, I just don’t have fingernails) and stays there for at least 24 hours, no matter
how hard you try to get rid of it.

Look, Ma. Wikipedia! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_65) So, the concept of eating Chicken 65 dates
back to 1965!!! My father was all of 7 years old then! How cute! The 65 chilli peppers and 65-day year old
chickens stories seem a bit odd.

All that said, it’s got spice. It’s got colour. It’s even got curry leaves and spring onions! Everything
just making it awesome and all the more chakna worthy.

More beers.

A half plate of Chicken Curry and a half plate of Mutton Curry were ordered. HUGE FUCKING PORTIONS! Butter
Naan for self, Butter Garlic Naan for the mother, Plain Wheat Roti for the father because he likes to
pretend he eats healthy. That, followed by steamed rice. More beers thrown in, obviously.

The chicken curry was fantastic – just right in terms of heat and with enough leg pieces to keep our family
of three happy.

The mutton curry was beyond fantastic. It was wild – heat, the flavour of the dry spices coming through,
the succulent meat. I haven’t had mutton this tender at a restaurant in a long long long long time. I also
got some marrow. Nalli. Nalli ftw!

I’ve never been happier with lunch before. Alright, I might have been happier – but not in the recent past
(I’m referring to the bull shit that Zaffran was).

We paid a little under Rs 1000/-. How cool is that? Under Rs 300/- per head, For THAT much food and four bottles of beer. The service, quick. The uncleji who served, courteous. The food, ohgodyoureallywantmetogetstartedaboutitagain!!!!

We doggie-bagged the food and I ate it for dinner on Sunday AND Monday. Well, only I did. Because the father eats healthy, remember? And the mother sacrifices her love for day old meat for her precious child. And the child, well, she’s just a whore for any kind of good food.

P.S.: I said you’d know when you got to the mutton curry. I don’t know what I wanted you to know. Possibly something on the lines of the mutton curry meaning life, the universe and everything to me, for the weekend and the first day of that week. That’s what the context was, right?

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