By Vineet Rajan
The year 2003 was when a lot of things were happening around me. I had just moved to Bangalore, my brother was getting married, I was new to college and hostel life. Everything was quite confusing and overwhelming!
Much to my delight, my brother’s friends decided to throw him a bachelor bash soon after I landed in the city. And by ‘bash’ I mean a day-long road trip on the Mysore highway and back to Bangalore in the evening. We had two cars between us (I think) – the Maruti 800 had all the gentlemen and my brother’s Santro had all the good stuff – crates and crates of beer! There were 8 of us (I think)! The reason I don’t remember everything very clearly can be attributed to the goods carrying capacity of both iconic vehicles of the yesteryear’s, if you know what I mean.
There’s an old joke about Maruti 800:
Q) How many people can be seated in a Maruti 800?
Ans) The number of people in your group.
True to its word, there were 6 of us in the 800 and two in the Santro plus the two humble drivers we had hired; and we preferred it that way.
We took the cars out on the Mysore highway and we halted at every stop we could see along the way; and each stop was celebrated inevitably with a round of beers. By the end of the day we had polished around 8 crates; that’s one for each of us. We washed off the drunkenness with a dip into one of the many streams that dotted Bangalore. My mom had called me sometime then and I had to listen to her frowning upon me slurring too much while I spoke; but all I could think about was food. We were ravenous.
It was quite late by then and we were all hungry enough to eat anything that crossed our paths on the way to one of outlets of legendary ‘Hotel Empire’. We went to the branch in Shivaji Nagar. My brother noticed me drooling all the way into the restaurant and suggested a mutton raan. I asked for two.
They all grinned at me and my over-zealous, over-ambitious go at eating two portions of mutton raan in one meal. I was relentless!
Needless to say, I ate both of them, without sharing a single strain of meat with any of the 7 others; including my brother. I did not even spare the salad that came with it. While the waiters were amused with the spectacle they would not have had a chance in see in ages, I polished the two legs of a full grown goat with a grilled chicken. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the iron stomach I once had.
It’s been close to a 12 years since that day and very few meals even came close to the one we had on that evening in Bangalore. I still reminisce that day with fond love.. for the raan of course.
Raan is a one-man meal, it’s not something you can share with anyone else. First off, it’s practically impossible to do that without making a mess out of it. Two, I think it’s just not legal.
So while my brother got married next week and became a one-woman man, I had something else to look forward to for the rest of the four years in Bangalore, my very own one-man meals in the City of Gardens!
About Vineet Rajan