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Posts Tagged ‘Besant Nagar’

 

The famous Jigarthanda

The famous Jigarthanda

For those who don’t understand what on earth ‘Jigarthanda’ means and for those who are wearing that puzzled crooked nose expression that I did when I first read the word, it’s a tall cold drink served in one of Tamil Nadu’s most famous eateries Murugan Idli Shop. Its originates from Madurai, South India and sells famously during summers.

Murugan Idli Shop

Murugan Idli Shop - Meals Ready 🙂

I said to myself, it is not every day that one gets to try weird or unheard of stuff. And I just about pounced at the chance of experimenting that on one of my outings during my holiday in India. After a maddening amount of shopping at Fab India and fashion parades for my family, I was ready to drop and could almost hear my poor feet cry, begging for some respite. And we still had to eat our lunch, I realised with dread my day was far from being over.

So while we were discussing about the nearest eating joints in the Besant Nagar suburb, the first thing that popped into my head was Murugan Idli and suggested we head there. I remembered those beautiful idyllic mornings, when my family and I drove down to Elliott’s Beach to watch the sunrise, go for a small walk along the walkway and somehow managed to end up at Murugan Idli for steaming hot breakfast and some superb filter kapi (coffee). I should admit that the sunrise and walk was merely an excuse to head in that direction. With Adyar being a hop skip and jump distance away from the beach, it almost used to be a weekend ritual for us.

Anyway coming back to present day, we parked in the most cramped parking spot we could find that barely gave us concession to twist our way out of the car. I came round the car and the first thing that my eyes spotted was…………

Jigarthanda

Jigarthanda

Remember that expression I was talking about??? Oh well I read the word and of course pronounced it wrong. My father in law said it was pronounced as “ji-guru-dhan-da”. But I think the word has been localized quite a bit. It’s literal translation in Hindi is “Jigar” meaning Heart and “Thanda” being “Cold”, in effect supposed to mean something that cools your heart. Whether it does just that, I am not sure, but good news is its considered to be a health drink and I sighed with relief that there was at least something that I could enjoy without lesser guilt.

About Jigarthanda

About Jigarthanda

So we went in, and to my petty and cheap thrill I saw the menu with prices under $1 NZD for an item. I thought to myself, I had lived here most of my life, you’d think I knew about it and that there would be no surprises there. But having paid $3-4 for a plate of Idli and to see it priced so reasonably was actually having a ‘jigarthanda’ effect on me!

Look at those prices!!!!

Not heart warming, heart cooling indeed. I ordered a nice crisp Onion Rava Dosa and Vada served in Banana Leaf + that Superb Filter Kapi which was awesome. South India is well-known for serving their meals on Banana leaves and did you know that food tastes thousand times better eaten off it and aids in easy digestion too!!!

For super digestion - eat on a banana leaf

I declare today Saravana Bhavan needs to learn a thing or two from Murugan Idli. Saravana Bhavan has lost their charm and authenticity of retaining local flavour, over pricing ridiculously and have you looked at the quantities recently. Living off yesteryear’s glory! Murugan Idli still has that southern charm, intensity of flavour, reasonably priced and still packs a punch.

Can you believe that 4 of us adults ate sumptuously and a couple of us even went for seconds yet paid a bill of only $10 NZD = Rs.300-340 approximately. Since I was so full up, I decided I’ll get a take away of the Jigarthanda as I didn’t want to miss out on that. And it was a such a refreshing drink that reminded me of the local flavours, aromas and colours.

Next time you go to Murugan Idli, you know what I’d be recommending. South Indian saapaadu South Indian saapaadudhaan!!! [Translates to South Indian food is truly South India food only, meaning no other cuisine can be of the same league].

 

 

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Besant Nagar Beach

It’s all about my upcoming trip to India. A myriad of emotions that are buzzing in my head. Excitement, Happiness, Apprehension, Worry, Anxiety, Eagerness, Impatience and few emotions that I cannot even begin to describe.

I have become so used to doing things in my own pace and set in my ways, kind of like being ‘institutionalised’ like Morgan Freeman says in The Shawshank Redemption. It is going to be quite a challenge to be able to adapt quickly to change in time zones, food, water, climate, people etc albeit only for 5 weeks.

When one of my colleagues asked me if I was excited to be going back home, I replied – “Yes I was!” And said to her that I had a very strong feeling that I was going to be viewing my own home town with different eyes. She replied with her own reflection of life experience that I would indeed. She said – It’s going to be a new experience and that I was going to invariably end up comparing lifestyles no matter what. I must say that I agree with her. After all we are all human. People keep telling me that it is not fair to compare. But having lived in India for a good 20+ years, living now in NZ for 3+ years and returning back to India for a short period, the comparison is all but inevitable. One thing I have decided though is that I will not be judgemental about my observations and comparison.

With 3 weeks to go, I can hardly wait for the calendar pages to fly. What is this trip going to hold? I wonder if I would be able to handle my own home town the way I did back then. I had this ‘take-the- bull- by-its-horns’ attitude back then which has now mellowed down so much, it makes me ponder if I still have a bit of that fire to handle Madras this time round. My family members back home keep telling me of the ever mushrooming malls, numerous eateries, restaurants and boutiques. That Madras has changed so much and become the hub for an urbane lifestyle down south. CafĂ© & Pub culture, shopping extravaganza, Multiplexes and what not. I was there at the beginning of it all three years back. But to see it post fruition with the city pulsing with vivacity is an experience I am really looking forward to.

I also want to recapture some of my happy memories by visiting spots and doing things that I still reminisce with a fondness and smile. Be it a morning breakfast at Murugan Idli after watching the sunrise at Elliott’s Beach, or be it indulging in Masala Poli and Mysorepa bought by dad from Sri Krishna Sweets, or be it jamming sessions or endless conversations way into the night with my darling  mother and sister and much much more. I want to do at least some of it, if not all.

My thirst for challenges still remains unquenched. So bring it on Madras. Hit me with your best!!!

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