Ragi Mudde and a bottle of rum

I hate long days in office when deadlines force us to spent hours on end scrolling clients mails and turning their requirements into never ending deliverables. However such days have a light side to them at the end of the day. A friend of mine from my days in Manipal stays quite close to my office and on such days we usually end up at this seedy looking, dim lit joint in Jayanagar 9th block called Amaravati.

I usually associate the name Amaravati with the Doordarshan series that used to play in the early ’90s. Called ‘Amaravati Ki Kathayen‘, each episode was based on a short story by some popular Indian authors (don’t recall their names though). Anyway coming to this restaurant, it was my friends discovery and when he told me that it was ‘the’ place to have ragi mudde with chicken gravy and guzzle it down with beer or rum or Lime ‘n soda (in my case) I was up to trying this unique mix. I had heard a lot about ragi mudde after coming to Bangalore but never made an effort to go out and taste it. Of course this dish was made famous by Deve Gowda and family when he was the Prime Minister of India.

Dark and seedy looking with the usual bunch of local goons and college chokras the place was an after hours hotspot for government servants and bank employees looking forward to unwind after a hard days work in their respective offices. I could make out that most of the men were family guys who’s excuse to their spouse once they got home would be that they were held up by some urrrrgent work at the office or the boss held a exclusive meeting at the last minute where drinks were served.

Dirty, seedy, broken bulbs and red and green lighting – you coudnt have asked for a seedier and gaudier atmosphere. A bunch of plastic flowers in shades of pink, purple, red and other lipstick colours filled the centre of each table that was covered by a checked cloth that looked like its last wash happened a month back. A broken ashtray made up the rest of the table.

What I love about such places is the freedom that you get to talk as loudly as you want, talk whatever you want, and take your time to order your food and drinks. These are the best places for a good conversation on anything and everything. Saint and sinner make this their home for the evening. The evening goes on as broken, unconnected pieces of conversation make up an entire drinking session. I hardly remember what we talk about, but I know that we really had a good laugh at someones expense and go on reminiscing about the good old days in Manipal which had its share of such joints – ‘Janani’ the most notorious and famous (with its mnthly credit for the guys who were regular customers). I guess these restaurants are a perfect tool to unwind at the end of the day.

The ragi mudde is solid and fills up your tummy in a jiffy. It tastes great when you mix it with the chicken gravy. The first time I tasted the mudde I really ground it between my teeth and ended up like a kid with sticky chocolate all over his mouth. This dish needs to be rolled into balls and thrown into the mouth and gulped. Thats the mudde eating process.

Tonight will be visiting the mudde place again. Another round of talk over some chicken lollipops and muude with some spicy gravy. Today was one of those days.

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