Friday, October 16, 2009

The perils of being Sir

My work as an organizational consultant often puts me in front of people as a trainer. I have been conducting developmental workshops for the field sales managers of my client for some time. For the participants there, I am 'Sir' who has come all the way from Head Office to impart them with some knowledge. In spite of all the informality that I try to bring inside and outside the class, I still remain 'Sir' for them.
It is all satisfying to the ego and all that, but it has a downside to it. I often want to eat the local food, no matter if it is at a roadside joint. But these guys insist that Sir should eat at a nice place, preferably in the comfort of the hotel room itself.
Finally, yesterday night in Lucknow, I managed to convince one of them that I was perfectly OK eating at a 'Sir-but-it-is-not-a-nice-place' kind of eatery. So well past midnight, he took me to Charbagh area (near Lucknow station) and voila! The place was teeming with people as if it was evening and not 1 in the night.
The joint was not what you would call exactly 'hygienic', food was being cooked in a gigantic tandoor and two equally gigantic kadhais right outside on the footpath, waiters wiped the tables with an effortless swipe of a cloth that had seen better days, the source of 'Mineral Water' was definitely suspect, but hey, what the heck - the kheema and paratha tasted absolutely superb!

After I had licked my fingers clean and even procured myself a paan to my liking, my benefactor was convinced that I was not a stickler for sanitized nutrition. Then it became a matter of pride for him, and he promised to take me to eat some 'really good mughlai food' the next day. His argument was, "Sir (yes, that doesn't go away) this was OK, but Ameenabad is the best place to eat." Today late afternoon, after the workshop was over, I was glad that I had some hours at hand before catching the flight. So Sir was escorted to Ameenabad to - where else, but the ORIGINAL Tunday kabab place.

Once again, all matter of hygiene were put at rest the moment I put the first morsel of Galouti Kabab in my mouth and feel it simply melt.

Delicious stuff. This was followed by some equally nice kulfi falooda at another place snd then we headed to the airport (not before I had punched a big hole in my pocket by waiting at a shop selling the famous Lucknow Chikan material). As I was walking out of Tunday, I saw the portrait of the original Tunday Kababi, and the inscription below proudly proclaimed "suppliers to the Royal family of Avadh since 1791."

I may be getting the date wrong, but it was something more than two centuries old. Brilliant. I have always wondered at how proudly the suppliers of the Western world keep a track of their heritage and proclaim the same. Scotch Whisky, Cigars, Pipe tobacco, everything. And how no Indian supplier maintained such records and spoke about it. I am happy to be proved wrong by the Tundays. Long live Tunday Kababs! After Diwali, Sir will again be traveling to South India, then to East, then to Central. I hope Sir has sent the right message and gets to eat more of the local stuff.
Some months back, I had written about Tunday kabab and Lucknow food. Then, I had eaten at a more posh, upmarket outlet of Tunday (in Sahara mall at Hazratganj.) That was good, no doubt. But the rustic old world ambience of Ameenabad made the difference today.


Vinay said...

Oh yes, Tunday ke kabaab is the must have delicacy of Lucknow. I was in Lucknow only once, but I managed to devour the kabaabs, before leaving the city. Man, you've set my mouth watering for the kabaabs. Must satisfy myself with kaathi kabaabs of East street in Camp

Pushkaraj said...

@ Vinay - Another legend about Kababs I have heard of is about Kakori Kababs. As the story goes, an old nawab couldn't chew meat as he had lost all his teeth. So his cook devised the recipe for kababs that had to be simply pressed against the palate with your tongue and well, that's it! I have heard you can get these somewhere in Delhi.
@ Susan Deborah - Tough luck. Either you have to go to Lucknow again, or wait till Tunday opens a branch in Chennai!

Fangs said...


i just got really really hungry..

PAPPU said...

I envy these eating expeditions pushkarji, I want those kebabs now!! We get good kebabs in Chennai, but they are at the hi-fi restaurants and they give too little for too much money.