Mumbai gets a mouthful

Everyone knows I love my city. In that sense I am quite parochial. It is a great place to watch life as though it were one of those cinema verite films where the director uses a hand-held camera, shoots as it is and calls it art. Mumbai needs no editing. It is lean and mean and hungry.

The reason for this post is hunger and the acid on my tongue is bubbling to singe all these sick political parties and some media houses which have made a joke of poverty, immigrants and as basic a need as food.

Last week or so The Times of India had some Vada Pav contest where celebrities went around town checking out this humble delicacy. You should have seen these society dames and dudes putting on their “Look, I am enjoying this road stuff dahlin’, it really ain't so bad” act, as they took bites of the potato ball-chutney mix stuffed into soft bread.

What is my problem with this? My problem is that this food is available for two rupees and many people, including lower middle class office goers, have it and in the way it is cooked not trussed up for a party; it is a full meal for many of them…not some little snack they can wash down with Vermouth. Or an appetiser before they can go on to their entrĂ©e after a palate-cleanser sorbet of course…

You want to eat vada pav, go eat it. You want to promote it, then make sure it does not stand out like some big-shit event. The winners of the stalls were felicitated at a five star hotel. Obviously, our socialites won’t want to dress up for an awards function and be in the streets. Unless it is the Gateway of India backdrop listening to a musician they have never heard, only heard about.

My concern is that some of these stall owners will increase the price of these eatables. They might want to cater to the saabs and memsaabs who will send their drivers and servants to pick the stuff up.

Those who subsist on this sort of food do not need a certificate of approval from Page 3 types.

They also do not need a certificate from politicians. The Shiv Sena organised a Shiv Vada Pav Sammelan. Whether there is a sammelan or not, who cares? However, it must be credited with starting the zunka bhakar stalls quite some time ago and the purpose indeed was to have one more low-priced meal available. The current vada pav plan is clearly political. That is the reason the Congress has jumped into the fray.

It is planning a Kande Pohe fair. This is what its party spokesperson said:

“If Shiv Sena is claiming that Vada Pav is a Maharashtrian delicacy, it is a big lie. The basic ingredients of vada are potato and besan, which come from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, while onions and pohe, the ingredients in Kande Pohe, are available right here in Maharashtra.”

Idiots. The head of your party is from Italy, so quit this nonsense. Isn’t the Congress supposed to fight against the SS’s attitude towards immigrants? Then what is this? The poor person who needs food wants it cheap and quick. These corporate and political smart asses go and do their research when it is known that they are more concerned about the vintage of their wine (and sometimes women). I wish they’d be honest at least to themselves.

How do I like my pav? Oh, fukket it…pass me a spoonful of caviar and spread it on some smoked toast, please…

- - -

I am seriously not a big street food fan, or any kind of chaat. It is no big deal, however, if one does stop by at a roadside stall to have something. I just cannot bring myself to open my mouth wide in the street to stuff anything in it – not even my foot.

So, if you want to see me on my best behaviour, then walk with me…get some blisters!


  1. "Walk with me..."

    You keep saying that...

  2. OK, being a Punjabi, I have a birth right to comment on Fooood .....we are born to eat :), everytime i have visited mumbai , i have stopped for a roadside jumbo pao ....but the haste of the city shows in the food ....i find one thing missing ...people dont relish their food ...even formal dinners are fast food ...poor delhites are still old school.......they "relish" their food even if it was a simple chola bhatura at nathus ...when i read this news I thought ...havent they figured out the best receipe yet ..i guess the Joshi vada pao has it in pune ....just cut copy paste ....

  3. Farzana's buddies, the jihadis she's the apologists for, have attacked the taj..the hotel with the sea lounge.

    Wonder if she'll condemn this attack?

  4. Arjun,
    Having being an avid follower of FV's blog, writings and books , i have never found a shred of writing where she has supported jihadis....everyone is extremely agitated over mumbai attacks, this is handiwork of sick and lunatics ....she is as much a nationalist indian as me and you are ....this is the time to use logic and not conviction to drive decision making .,....

  5. Really?

    Do you think kashmir should be handed over to pakistan?

    Do you think the jihadis in kashmir are the victims and the kashmiri pandits left on their own and not because of the jihadis?

    Do you think it's ok for the taliban to blow up the buddhas because there are no buddhists in afghanistan?

    She does..

    Still think she shares your views?

  6. Arjun,
    Love to have a fact based argument on this, teh fact is we have a weak political system which has allowed the weak decision making ....who allowed article 370 ...not the pakis
    Second, accept the fact that indians and hindus are a fragmanted lot unlike israel ...we were never one country ....
    Three ....country which is 60% illiterate and only 55% voting democracy will play havoc ...we need strong administrators ....
    Kashmir, even pakis know they will never get an inch , we both are armed to the tee...
    fifth, why just talibans...pakis have destoyed mist temples gurudwaras and in paki and we have destroyed mosques ...it is peopl who drive havoc ...nations are just their representations...
    sixth,people like FV bring both sides on table ....dont shoot the messenger Arjun ...


  7. dont shoot the messenger Arjun

    why not, especially when the MESSAGE being carried is one of support to islamic terrorism?

  8. Mask:

    {"Walk with me..."

    You keep saying that...}

    Yes. It is a polite way of saying, just slow down when you get the Lamborghini...

    - - -


    I think food has so many avatars...Mumbai fast food is really fast, unlike the western ones which have mayonnaise dripping down and slowing you.

    Pune is great. And yes, Delhi...but please, how can anyone relish Chhole Bhature at Nathus at leisure? One Lalaji after the other will be pushing through crowds to get his smosaas followed by glaab jaamin ki do-chaar pilait.

    Oye, thank you for bringing back my mammaries...

  9. Forget the Lamborghini, do you really like caviar? I find that funny...I find caviar funny, actually.

    Not addressed to me, but...bringing back your mammaries...;)

  10. I wouldn't do caviar everyday, though I'd happily do the Lambo...

    Now since you got to smile at another comment of mine, here is the trade off: where are the questions on Journey? Seriously...do post them on http://farzana-versey.blogspot.com/2008/11/want-to-grill-me.html

  11. But I don't have any queries, sorry :( I found the book disturbing at places, but there's nothing I can ask you.


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