Dabba Diaries

Lucky are those who can eat just about anything, the ‘Jugheads’ of the world, so to speak. It had become a habit of sorts for someone who has spent a long time envying those who can gorge like there’s no tomorrow and put away the pounds like they never existed in the first place. The foodie within me has always been a sucker for aromas that come wafting along during the course of everyday life.

At work however, things have been slightly different. The area may be dotted with plenty of lunch and snack options, so to speak. But, having sampled just about everything over the past few months, things had gotten rather tough. Serving a wide range of cuisines, a certain degree of jadedness had set in. The taste-buds had gone into hibernation of sorts and were refusing to come out and make things appetizing again.

Running in reserve, things weren’t looking too good. The nearby Udipi, the speciality north-west frontier joint, the greasy Chinese place and the ubiquitous snack options, nothing registered anymore. Then, out of nowhere, the door opens with the familiar snapping sound, the reflection caught on the display screen, gets B to turn around.

Standing there is Sandeep, a bloke who’s been out there in the sun, going from office to office, convincing people to try out his catering services. A quick screening later, i decide to jump into the fray. Don’t really know if its desperation or simply the urge to try something new, but i decide to give it a whirl.
Contact details exchanged, basic requirements discussed, S is off with a promise of a meal that’ll pacify those cruel hunger pangs. The next hour goes by like a hyper-slo motion film shoot. Dang!

Then, it happens. The young lad walks in through the door, carrying a substantial packet in hand. Seeking me out, money changes hands and it is now time to verify S’ claims. Pre-inspections are encouraging. The containers are pried open and the sombre mood starts to peel away from the face. The food is hot, the chappatis are soft, quantity is substantial and everything has arrived neatly packed in sturdy containers rather than those cheap plastic bags.

But the real test of a dabba lies in the approval from the taste buds. That’s when i decide to take the plunge. Immediately i’m met with the homely aroma of string beans cooked al-dente and spiced just right. Yumm! The next container surprises me with a potato-peas preparation that’s again not too greasy. The piece-de-resistance is the daal tadka. Slurp! It’s a feast!

An hour later, the taste buds expressing their contentment and happiness, it is time to thank Sandeep. The call is made and what follows is a healthy discussion on tweaks to the meal, expansion plans and together with the promise of food standards that do not dip, a sweet reminder every week.

Bon Appétit!

Sandeep can be found at Oye Punjabee from noon to midnight, all week.
Operating out of Plot No. 437, Adarsh Nagar, Opp. Tarapore Tower, New Link Road, Andheri West. Mumbai – 400102, he can also be reached at: 9867111636

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