Prajna Prasad Sravan Kumar
Being a pure vegetarian foodie that too having a high BMI with a temptation for South Indian breakfasts, I couldn’t ignore the latest news about the mouth watering dosa while surfing the internet.
It was related to a survey conducted by the online food delivery app Swiggy about the food ordering pattern of people across various Indian metros and dosa is a clear winner as the favorite breakfast in six Indian cities. This is not the first time dosa has got its distinction, rather few years back it was the only Indian dish to be featured in the list of “World’s 10 must have dishes before someone dies”.
All of a sudden I became nostalgic about my childhood and my journey so far in various Indian cities and my experience with Masala Dosa.
My love for dosa started the day I had it for the first time with my elder brother in the Narasingha Anna’s small hotel in the nearby small town in my primary school days. I was so moved by its taste that I wished to have it every day which was not feasible.
My suffering from chickenpox in fifth standard was a golden opportunity for me to have something of my wish and believe me it was a dream to have a masala dosa. As a superstition or what so ever, if any chickenpox affected patient desires of having something, then that must be fulfilled. It is a popular belief even today in some areas that it fastens the recovery process. Otherwise there would be chances of an escalation.
My taste buds were so impressed by the flavor of dosa and it captured my imagination in such a way that I conveyed my desire of having a masala dosa from my maternal grandfather to my granny. He was informed of the same and without much delay I was served with a colossus (in the eyes of a village lad) dosa. What a pleasure! I was in cloud nine. I forgot all the physical pain of having chickenpox as if I was never affected of that. I started boasting of having a masala dosa before my friends and felt way ahead of my peers.
Whenever there was any discussion about food, the morphology and anatomy of a masala dosa had the major share. The story doesn’t end here. Every time I paid a visit to my elder sister in her boarding school at Surangi, my father had to bear the burden of filling my glutton stomach with a dosa from Berhampur new bus stand. Even in the Himalayan cities of Uttarakhand, I looked for Masala Dosa instead of preferring the local cuisines. I am sure my friends from South India would not have taken that dosa with sambar made up of ladies finger with the interest I did just because of my sheer passion.
Tickling the taste buds with masala dosa in various South Indian states was really a delicious experience. Whether it was the regular hangouts with my siblings in the streets of Vanasthalipuram, a suburb in Hyderabad or roaming around with friends in search of a job in Bangalore, the IT hub of India, the constant companion was dosa. Whether it’s Hyderabadi dosa or Mysore masala dosa, they have their own fan following.
Though I never stayed in Chennai for a longer time, but never missed the chance to grab the Madrasi Dosa in the nearby areas of Chennai Central railway station every time I had a break journey to Cochin. During my two years long stay in Kochi, I had to take masala dosa in the dinner most of the times as that was the best option for me after rice being the latter’s unavailability.
The best part of dosa lies in the way it is prepared and served and that sizzling sound it is accompanied with after pouring water on the pan is really amazing. All the varieties of dosa have carved a niche of its own in the hearts of billions.
Though it is a staple food for South Indians, it has its presence in every nook and corner of India with a regional value added flavor. Whether it’s the masala dosa of the small food stall near Ashoka Talkies of Rayagada or the dosa of a high class five star luxury hotel in a metro, it satiates every one’s taste buds.
Through the passage of time and to cater the growing demand, masala dosa has undergone so many metamorphosis. Indian chefs starting from our own mother to the corporate chef of a star hotel have applied their innovation in making hundreds of varieties of dosa with different flavor. Even there are so many exclusive dosa outlets where we will feel yummy and of course fill our tummy.
Masala Dosa is always with me, be it as an achievement during my early school days to add colors to my the then resume or as the sole companion in my initial days of professional life. It has emerged as a cosmopolitan food.
It’s the favorite for the ruler and the ruled, the server and the served, the rich and the poor. It’s a bare minimum for the South Indians and a desire for others.
(Prajna Prasad Sravan Kumar is an IT Professional and currently based at Kolkata)