Of Thate Idlis, Bengaluru Cops and A Contemptuous Cat

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Brahmins’ Thate Idlis is the perfect culmination to a morning spent in walking the beautiful neighborhood we are holidaying in- lush green foliage, flowering trees,
imagecanopies alive with birds, really
imageinteresting architecture, creative
road signs, famous inhabitants and pretty grassy parks- almost empty except for a group of men in lungis doing the Sheesh Asana.
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M parks the car while we buy veggies and fruit. The variety of melons on display is surprisingly big, tomatoes are going at five INR a KG, and yes, they don’t give plastic bags in this tiny market. Getting the veggies back home is a story in itself because we haven’t carried any bags along.
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The Sunday queue moves slowly. People are eating right there, putting their leaf-plates in a garbage bag and the spoons in soapy water, systematically, responsibly. I haven’t seen that happen very often in other parts of India, except in office cafeterias.
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Two policemen stand around
imagelooking really officious. I wonder why this tiny, quiet neighbourhood needs two policemen at 9 AM.
In our experience until now, Bangalorians are friendly and helpful folk. imageIn the past two days we’ve asked for directions, recommendations to eat, historical significance, popular bookshops. . . and have always been guided with patience and helpfulness, even if hitting a common language has been a bit of a challenge a few times.
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I realize we look like we are from out of town because we can’t say the names of the tongue-twisters on the menu. The person behind me in the queue takes the effort to explain what goes into them. This is rare back in the city we live in.

Like always, the three of us wrestle to pay for the bill. I win.
“You pay for lunch,,” I tell them, as I expertly whip out my wallet.

The breakfast order reads like this:
6 Thate Idli
2 Khara Bath
4 Cuddlebede Vade
Red Chilly Chutney
Coconut Chutney
The bill reads a paltry 250 Rupees for all of these!
I’m so glad I won that particular bill-wrestle.

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We walk to the car and see the two cops standing next to it.
Cop 1: Whose car is this?
M: …but I just went to get idli.
Stern Cop: Madam, look at this ‘very useless’ parking. You stopped a bus from turning into this road. Very wrong in turning parking. Very very wrong. What is your name?
Me: Sir sorry sir. First day in Bangalore. We didn’t know this is No Parking….
Cop to M: Tell me your name. Already photo of your car captured Meddum.
M grovels a bit, gives out a bunch of very lame excuses but eventually gives him her name. It gets recorded.
I cant help thinking her daughter is going to be real mad with her- not only is this is her car, she also shares M’s second name.
“Pay the fine now,” says the strict cop.
We beg.
Our host has taught us that every male living being in Bangalore has to be addressed as Sir. Or better, Saar.
We’ve been putting her lesson into good use, and this here is an extremely Saar inducing situation.
By now we have that beggar- whine in our voices:
“Saar, please Saar. So sorry Saar. We will be so careful here on Saar. Please Saar …
We now have a discreet audience- the roadside breakfasters.

2 cops.
3 Adult women sounding almost grovel-y.
Endless Saar Saar.
A small polite audience.

Five minutes later the strict cop shuts his register with a loud bang, looks at us grimly and declares:
LASTTT ChanSa!
Lastesttt ChanSA!
You understandd?!
I think the ton-load of Saar-ing has paid off. They look at us grimly.
We beam smiles in return. Our Thank you Saar’s are incongrously joyous in comparison to their pained expressions.

We giggle all the way back home.
Ten minutes later we’re digging into the large, really soft, steamed Thate Idlis and accompaniments.
They’re well earned.
We still can’t stop laughing at the recent shenanigans and M’s parking skills, or lets say, the lack of them.
The cat stares at us contemptuously as we laugh, almost as if she knew what we did that morning.
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The breakfast is sumptuous.
M’s daughter, who is also our gorgeous host, is delightful and helps us plan the rest of our vacation.
Of course we forget to mention to her that it is her car and name that is now neatly recorded in the Traffic Violator Diary.
And that she’s on her Lastt ChanSa.

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4 thoughts on “Of Thate Idlis, Bengaluru Cops and A Contemptuous Cat

  1. Very entertaining as usual Radhika, you girls always seem to get yourselves into some sort of trouble and then manage to get yourselves out of it. 🙂

    1. Thank you John. Glad you enjoyed reading it.
      That getting in and out of trouble is our *special powers* 🙂

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