So the plan was to stop for a quick dosa on the way to the sporting goods store. But, today being Ugadi (New Year’s), every place we tried was closed. Just when we were about to give up, we saw a line of people stretching around the block—aha! Apparently the party is at Hallimane. We debated whether it would be worth the wait, but since it seemed like all of Malleshwaram was there, we could hardly miss it. We went ahead and got in line. And waited. Every so often, men would come out with trays of lemon-ginger drinks for everyone. I had plenty of time to examine the structure of the awning, woven from palm fronds and draped with garlands of orange and yellow marigolds. (Folks, this is a fiber arts blog. I had to get some textiles reference in there.)
We got right up to the door, then right inside the door, and then more waiting as everyone jostled to find a seat. The upstairs seating was just about over, so we waited at the foot of the staircase until the previous round of customers came streaming down. Then it was all elbows up the stairs, to long benches and tables lined with butcher paper and banana leaves. Servers came down the line ladling dish after dish onto the leaves—sweet, sticky puddles of jaggery and mango; crisp salads of corn and pomegranate seeds; rice with rasam and rice with sambar and rice with curd. Except for about 2 things, I have no idea how to order any of it if I ever wanted to eat it again. When we were finished we folded our banana leaves in half, and everybody got up to wash hands while the staff stripped the tables and reset for the next wave. Six hours later, I’m still stuffed.
Happy New Year!