Saturday, August 13, 2016

Food for thought - A day at Nallakunta!

"What's the matter?" I politely inquired as I saw my best half Shruti unusually quiet.
She was perched in a relaxed position on the bed, in the TV room, at Nallakunta in Hyderabad.
Even though it appeared that she was watching her favorite sitcom on Star World, she was shifting uncomfortably. She exchanged regular glances in between and her expressions seemed to suggest she was thoroughly bored.

"I was thinking..." She started and paused for a few seconds .. to think.

Very few things manage to send a chill down my spine than a sentence from Shruti starting with these 3 magical words and more so the pause which follows. The impending suspense sounds to me like a warning bugle signalling that something big is to follow. Sometimes I think she does it on purpose just to have some fun at my plight.

A lazy Saturday evening without any call of crying urgencies from my work-place and pretty much nothing else to do, an atmosphere of eerie silence, a thoughtful pensive wife who had just woken from an afternoon nap; sums up as a potentially dangerous concoction.

"Yes?" I wondered where the conversation was heading, even before it had already started. I hoped it was something within manageable limits of effort, time and money.

" I was thinking, we can do something in the evening today ..like..watch a movie today and eat outside at Narsingh".

I heaved a sigh of relief and nodded my head in the affirmative, quietly admonishing myself on making a huge fuss on something as trivial as a movie and dinner.

Narsingh is the go-to place for all chat items, samosas, dabhelis; juices, snacks of all varieties; choc-a-bloc with fast-food joints. A snack-eaterian's delight, especially for someone from Mumbai who has feasted on them on a regular basis, it teems with a relatively cosmopolitan crowd!

For a first-timer, Nallakunta seems like an sleepy, unheard entity. But with theaters, shopping malls, eateries & restaurants within hitting distance and the Kacheguda railway station closeby, it serves as an important focal point. Rows of independent houses, old & new dot the Nallakunta landscape.
One of them being Shrutis' parents house in Nallakunta, the landmark being 'Fever' Hospital. Powerful irony, isn't it?

As you open the black gate leading to the parking space, one can't help but notice the generous amount of green cover and shade with trees, plants and shrubs of all types which surround the 60-year old, 2-floor independent house. A perfect simulation of a holiday cottage faraway in the woods.

Once you step into the home, the convergence of the traditional and modern just dawns on you. The CCTV cameras which greet you and serve to safeguard the home premises. The old doors with creaky latches. The collapsible grills with multiple Godrej locks. The presence of 2 Wi-Fi networks within the home. The sturdy, old-style teak wood structures. The 2 big HD TVs. The well... The list is endless as the present marries the past.

Shruti spent a considerable amount of her life in the comfy confines of the Nallakunta house which has now come to be referred as the 'ultimate holiday destination'. This, I assumed, was one explanation for her lengthy sleepy patterns at any part of the day.

For Shruti & me, Saturday evenings were the culmination of a hard-fought week in office. In the Nallakunta home, as per custom and by popular demand, such evenings would conclude and be celebrated with a meal/snack ordered from a nearby restaurant or in extreme cases a trip to the restaurant.

"Yes, lets go to Narsingh. Its been a long time since I had pani-puri." I said as we prepared for an evening out.