BIM Mess and Pongal Vadai

 (Photo: Kamakshi)

The breakfast menu at home is usually- idli/dosai with chutney/chicken or egg or mutton or fish gravy, aappam with cocunut milk, puttu (rice cake) with coconut and sugar, rice roti, idiyappam and milk, mutton or prawn semiya and rarely poori masala. There are certain delicacies which are never tried out at home- like oothappam, pongal, kichadi and an idli/dosai with sambar combo.

Since I’m not very experimental when it comes to food, I always restrict myself to the much known items like dosai and idli when I go out. I don’t remember when exactly was the first time I had pongal in my life. But it was only during my Trichy days that I regularly started tasting dishes like pongal & vadai for breakfast. The aroma of sambhar and vadai made me go mad and I liked the idea of eating something quickly than munching and crunching anything in the morning.

The Mess at BIM, managed by a committee of students is one of the best things about BIM. Having heard stories about worms and flies in foods served in hostels from friends and relatives, I was very apprehensive of how things will be before I joined. I remember the first day when I had lunch in the mess with my mom and grandma who came to drop me. While they were enjoying the vegetarian food, it took me a while to digest the fact that I have to be a partial vegetarian (halal mutton biriyani was served once in a while, and eggs and fish are always halal) for another two years.

From the next day onwards, I started enjoying the kind of food I never got to taste earlier in my life. A spoon of crunchy vadai soaked in sambhar and then a spoon of pongal, and listening to advertisements and songs played in the local FM- those were the moments!! In the meanwhile we also used sing along like-‘yaaa yaaa yaaa anil semiyaaa’ ‘sakthi masala thani suvai…sakthi masala thani ragam’ ‘vivaahaa the chennai silks’ when the commercials were aired. I always liked the bright, sunny mornings at the mess and enjoyed rushing to the class at the last minute. A nap after a wholesome pongal vadai in the class is a bliss.

Our schedules were erratic and didn’t follow any specific timings. If we don’t have classes in the mornings, it will be even better. We drink coffee in a relaxed manner and talk and talk and talk like there is no tomorrow. Though there were other items like oothappam, nothing could match the tast of pongal-vadai.

Then comes the lunch time- lunch is something that I didn’t really like in the mess. They served sambar almost everyday and since I don’t like to eat vegetables much, I survived on eggs. Dhanapal anna used to make lovely scrambled eggs and that saved my life for two years! However, morr kolambu with lady’s finger had that taste which I still can’t forget. I just can’t explain about the lovely nap that follows the meal will be if there are no classes. We wake up at around four, and then head for an evening snack and tea.

Evenings won’t be all that special everyday but the very thought of potato and banana bajjis with coconut chutney that is served once in a while waters my mouth!

Dinner time used to be the best. Annas (mess workers) will be busy preparing rotis and music will generally be played loud during that time. Rotis with different types of kurma, aloo paratha, chenna batura, onion rava dosai were some of the usual stuffs for dinner. What I used to like the most was curd rice. It will sometimes have morr molaga (chilli soaked in buttermilk deep fried) and it was such a lovely combo!!

Dinner was always followed by a walk and the day ends by having a glass of milk that comes in the night..

I miss the mess! 😦


7 Responses to “BIM Mess and Pongal Vadai”

  1. Ela Says:

    ithu nyayama? if u want u can slip into any hotel there and try all those stuffs….but what about some poor souls like us sitting here……ippadi oru detail description….now my brain is completely jammed with so many images and aromas……but one difference- none of them are from the mess of my college!

  2. Jaffer Says:

    India is simply awesome for student life hands down. And when it comes to food – nobody seems to worry about it.
    My cousins lived at a Muslim Hostel on Anand, Gujarat but they didn’t like the food there. Instead they had options of choosing other privately run messes in the city.

    Here in Canada, food is a big question. Even going fast-food can break your wallet !

    The first three months, I was living with an uncle and his family. Then I moved out into a neighbourhood where several households make money providing tiffin service.
    Home coold food would be delivered every night and extra roti would be found in the mail-box in the morning.

    Three months later I moved out opting to live closer to college. That was when I had no choice but to learn how to start cooking !

  3. Noor Says:

    On a lighter note, when I first read the word “mess”, I expected a post on the lines of chaos

    I miss the pongal vadai from my hostel mess too..
    Schnitzel mit pommes doesn’t even come close!

  4. The Victorious Says:

    Ela-hihi..pesama India vandhudungalaen.. pongal vadai serndhu saapdalam.. 😀

    Jaffer-roti in the mail box? How was that possible? Anyways, I’m reminded of my uncles in Saudi who also had to learn cooking because of these reasons. Now they are better cooks than my aunts and infact one of them even prepared Biriyani for Eid.. 🙂

    Noor-lol.. Schnitzel mit pommes -I saw some of the images on Google-but what is it exactly like?

  5. Noor Says:

    well to be completely indian about it; Schnitzel is “chicken bajji” – flat meat (can be other meats coated in bread crumbs and deep fried.

    And Pommes is just fries!

  6. Noor Says:’d you delete a misspelled comment after you’ve made one?
    I really hate seeing mine up there and I can’t change it.

  7. The Victorious Says:

    I’ve edited your comment. Is that ok?

    Btw, thanks for the info.. ..

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