A Street Food shop that has seen the transformation of the cafe-esc Khan Market, New Delhi.
After being tucked up in the blanket, the winter rain in Delhi has made the day more warm. All I need is a samosa, pakodas and a kadak masala chai. My tastebuds are remembering the taste of a bread roll. I open up my dairy and pen down a story. It follows: Strolling around the cafe-esc market, I went to see the Kamal Nursery, as it has always caught my eye but lies in a corner, a few steps away from the hustle-bustle of Khan Market. Passing through the parking, where royalty speaks in terms of cars, something stopped me in between. I took my steps back. I heard, ‘Token lelo pehle’. The shop was unnamed, with no board, nothing. It was next to La Vie pizza and just opposite, MSS Christian Book Shop or Marks & Spencer. A no-parking sign outside the parking can be a landmark.
This shop that has seen Khan Market being built right in front of it, was now serving food and snacks. The aroma of fried-items was in the air, with eatables ranging from Samosa, Bread Roll, special fried rice, chowmein and different delicacies for lunch are served on different days. Exactly what I wanted right now on this rainy winter day. The Menu Card is tied up right in front of the shop, with a red sutli on the shutter handle. The shutter opens in the morning around 9AM. JP Badoni ji, the owner of the shop, with cute-lil moustache and iconic suspenders, stands right inside the shop, giving away green coloured tokens in return of money. I remember asking him, what’s hot out of the snacks placed in a chamber, like friends complementing each other. Badoni ji said, ‘bread roll and samosa.’ I asked for a bread roll, without chutney, it was so yummy, filled with mixed vegetables and their special spices. I ask, Badoni ji, about the story of this shop. He said, long ago, it started as a Pan Shop in 1964, then got converted into a Confectionary Shop, which didn’t go well, and then a Mother Dairy shop, but now it’s serving people with food, there’s nothing a lot that goes in their pocket, but they love their work, it happens under the name of JP Enterprises.
My bread roll was now over. Badoni ji asked, ‘Why didn’t you take chutney?’ So, I ask for another bread roll with chutney. And it tastes more yum now. The chutney was khatti-meethi. It enhanced the taste.
‘Do you have tea too?’ I asked. It would have been an icing on the cake of course. Badoni ji said, ‘No, the people who come here are very demanding, hehe, some need a pheeki chai, some need a kadak chai, some need a meethi chai. So we don’t have chai only.’ It’s been more than 50 years, that this small shop still rests like it was and didn’t come under the transformation of the cafe-esc Khan Market but has evolved and grown in modern times without a modern touch. I thanked Badoni uncle for it. Khan Market is a market full of stories, new, old, very old, oldest.
Ahh, I wish I could have had that bread roll, while sitting in the balcony, reading my favourite book, and admiring the beauty of raindrops falling on plants right now but I guess kitchen is waiting for me to come and make a meri-waali kadak masala chai...see, the demands, cheeni aadha chamach, milk regular, paani kam, patti tezz...
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