D is for Dosa

It has been a while since I ate a well-made dosa. Now, my standard is not very high but I have lived in the southern part of India long enough to tell a good dosa from a fake one. Considering that a reasonable chunk of Singapore population snacks on dosas every day, one would assume that getting one in Little India should be a child’s play, right?

Well, let me tell something to the one who thinks so – IT IS NOT.

Having eaten a very disappointing dosa (it was served with only tomato chutney!) in Banana Leaf a couple of weeks ago, I decided to find out the exact location of the two popular eating joints that are “world renowned” in Singapore. I gathered the intel on Friday night and on Saturday evening, I braved the mad weekend crowd and the beer-drinking gangs of Little India and walked down the Syed Alwi Road. The eager Indian chaps rattled their menus as I walked past them, engulfed in the strong smell of jasmine mixed with the stench of beer. As the tiny beads of perspiration formed on my forehead, I turned around to check that husband was still following me. I must digress here to tell you that it was only his true and undying love for me that made him walk behind me on this very crazy Saturday evening.  For he is someone who does not care two hoots for dosas, and would have been extremely content if I had fed him some pasta and let him play some Brutal Legend instead.

Coming back to my ordeal, we walked and we walked until I saw those sweet-sweet words shining in red letters on a while electric-display board – Saravana Bhavan. My euphoria lasted exactly seven seconds because by the eight second I had spotted the serpentine queue amidst the tables where people ate like hungry-hungry hippos. I stole one glance at the husband’s face, the patient look was still there and taking it as an encouraging sign, I found a place for myself in the queue. Waiters came and waiters went, some people were ushered to the second floor seating, while I stood patiently watching the husband reading Tabla. After around ten minutes, I saw a man in black walking out with a paper and a pen. As he started to take down names, I raised my hand and stated at him with all intensity. It worked. He looked at me, and then he looked away. He kept taking down names of the people who were standing behind me, and behind those who were standing behind me and so on. I tried again, repeating my name and number of seats I wanted. He continued to ignore me. Almost at the verge of tears, I decided that he did not like my face and walked out.

Next stop was Murugan Idli. Although, equally crowded with even less sitting area, the place seemed way more welcoming than the previous one, where I may never go again for I do not tend to take being ignored so well. This place seemed to hold hope for a good meal, and a mixed aroma of all things nice had hit me as soon as I had walked in. Nevertheless, my patience ran out. I turned to the husband and begged him to take me away. Away from the crowd, away from the madness, away from this elusive aroma of dosas that used to be my daily snack around 18 months back. The husband being my prince is shining armor did exactly that.

I had a good dinner on Saturday. It was delicious and filling, and it provided a good background for some hearty conversation. But I still did not find that one dosa that my colleagues assume I eat every day for breakfast and dinner. Because that is what Indians eat, right?


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