Saturday, November 26, 2011

A chapter on Canteen cuisine

Alisha D'souza

Cracking up in the college canteen

Photo Courtesy:

Here are examples of what a canteen review should comprise of;

Read on if you think a canteen review can be recounted a little differently.

The biggest of us have had the best of our days in our college canteens. For instance, did you know that playback legend Kishore da owes five rupees and 25 paise to his college canteen till date, attested to by that catchy number of Chalti ka Naam Gaadi? Don’t take just my word for it. Read India Today!

The college canteen governs the timetable of your day. Don’t believe it? Consider this….A typical day between classes can cause fitful phases of unconsciousness on table tops, collective sighs and combined yawns, not to mention conjuring commanding out-of-body experiences. This code of conduct is surprisingly well-coordinated among all class attendees.
Such a stupor in a cauldron of a classroom is only broken by one enticement- the impending visit to the canteen. In my campus in Lavale, food, music and a protest against the admin can cut all corners between the student body, and create a companionable mass of people all under one roof- Symbi Eats! Pretty straightforward really, no confusion about what the area is meant for from the name….!

From the traditional cuisine of dosa, samosa, poha,upma, missal and vada pav  to junk chow like coke, chips  and biscuits as well as the omnipresent maggi among other Chinese and local usuals are the usual suspects…on the menu. What you can really get to tickle your palate finally though, would depend on the character of various factors in the assembly line- transport of goods to the canteen, the chef’s mood for the day, delegates that takeover the college premises at regular intervals….a daunting list.
(For more information on what the canteen needs to know…for their sake…can be accessed on

The century-long (alright yes, a little exaggeration there) system is not as captivating a tale, as the usual conundrum of a Symbian…”What should I bet my cash on today??” The canteen is the real world, mind. Here is where you learn to claw your way out of oblivion, cling to the window that protects the grumpy proprietor at the other end and desperately try to end up asking for the right combination of available confectionery….all before the clock strikes the quarter!
Symbi Eats has to cater to a concoction of over 1000 collegiate between ten hours of the weekday. So they tell you they have cold stuff in pinching prices or hot stuff in cheap chipped cutlery. Quite a lot to choose from, wouldn’t you say? 

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to create distaste in any form or chop up the culinary sensibilities of any veteran canteener on this campus.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crack Codes

For all the Sci-fi fans, much as you might hate me, I have this mental cartoon of computer geeks I can’t seem to crush out. In eons down the line, there’s a long long corridor, each replete with cubicles. Stereotypically all white, simulating internet Caf├ęs we connect to our virtual cocoons with, in any remote part of the country as well. And it houses the human population. The whole of it yes. Cables connect their minds to the futuristic versions of what computers will be. And they sit. And have huge heads, coz that’s what they confer their existence with. The rest of them however, is shrinking correspondingly, courtesy, lack of constructive usage!
Cracks aside, clicking away, clacking on the keyboards, cooking up an entire life within the whatever-inch square. I am here compelled to relay the series of events a friend of mine carries out- just between waking up and coming to class. Wake up. Switch on the computer. Wash and brush. Sit on the computer. Take a shower. Sit on the computer. Look for clothes that need least fumigation. Sit on the computer. Consider whether he can carry off the clashing combo. Sit on the computer. Change. Sit on the computer.  Shoes. Sit on the computer. Comb. Sit on the computer. Finally leave. Oh and return back for the keys. Peek at the computer ONE last time…Reach in time- for one class later than pre-planned.
To cut the crap short, I have a question. If the Television is christened ‘the Idiot Box’, what title can we crown a computer with? And how much will the view of an anti-Computerist hold? Considering ‘Idiot’ will have serious altercations in the choice of words!!

Monday, September 27, 2010


This one is dedicated to all my dear close ‘vegetarian’ friends, whose memories I commemorate, highlighting all the times they tried to reform this hardened convict. My crime- My carnivorous choice of cuisine! They call me crazy, callous, conceited, sadistic, downright murderous. Attempts to cure me involve;
  1. The shock therapy :- Do you know how they kill them??How they are bred for slaughter??
  2. The Coaxing-Cajoling Therapy:- They are living things too you they Have a Life!!
  3. The Appeal to humanity Approach:- Have you no heart? How would you feel if you were...
  4. The Call of Disgust Approach:- “That’s the neck you’re chewing on,” or “So these are mean pig intestines of course..!”
I have strained and survived unconditionally though. They claim to confer accolades someday to my levels of dedication to denouncing the correct, chaste form of living, by turning vegan. My community of fellow chicken-lovers will apparently idolize the clear-cut vision I provide them, of how not to collapse under the colossal pressure to give up on the succulent course.
The avalanche of disapproval rains on you though, if you ever claim yourself an animal lover- so Don’t! Do your bit when opportunity cartwheels your way. Keep your convictions on say animal abuse, or the use of their products for man’s careless and cold-hearted idiosyncrasies. But be prepared to be scoffed at for your alleged contribution to these incorrigible industries- because you enjoy turkey on Thanksgiving or a steak on Saturdays!  
Disrespect to any sentiments is sincerely unintentional. Calling me a ‘Chicken’ will be accepted in keeping with our custom when cowardice is insinuated, even after my Vegan comrades read this.

Covet not the ‘Coloured’

Now before you attach racist connotations to this, let me set my slate clean. The reference here is to the ‘C’ of chemical condiments for our brain released by- Chocolate!
Its the typical craving, comfort-food, ‘friend in need’, aphrodisiac etc etc. Many of us try to justify the sinful clasp it has on our taste buds as in no way as vociferous an addiction as the other ‘highs’ of the ‘good life’.  Coz this one doesn’t send your collective faculties for a toss. Or make a caricature of the world around you, so that you sit tight and watch the world carousel in spurts and crazy circles!
But if you are more forth-coming with your shortcomings, you can join me in saying, ‘But can you blame me?’ For example, it can play Prince Charming to so many tastes, its impossible to decide which marriage is best savoured. Be it with touches of cinnamon, coffee, cranberries, blue berries or just cherries, the adulterated cocktails, caramel and any other concoctions you fantasize....
You can the subdue the stubborn child, seduce the hitherto-unwilling Christina, cover-up the forgotten gift for the special occasion, calm the crowd of frustration a long day entails, combined with a flute of wine- and thanks to the recognition this magical commodity has gained in eyes worldwide- the ribbons and wrappings are complimentary!
Judge me not, when I have sinned. Indulging in this refined connoisseurship, that clouds of pure contentment brings!

Crossing out the Cross

Atheism is the new religion, and its converts are ardent, copious and unquestionable. Belief in crosses, scriptures or sermons by clergymen is clinging on for dear life. Because out there is a population that finds that if He can’t hear and answer on the lines of instant noodles, He surely can’t expect us to wait around and just ‘know’ He exists!!That’s sheer hypocrisy!  
Personal beliefs have the luxury of choice from our Constitution. Sovereign, Secular, Democratic, Republic. Words the very first civics class drills into our heads! It never ceases to amaze, the power these four words imply when they march out of mouths conditioned to do so respectfully. In keeping with this post, the focus is on the sentinel of religion- Secular. Non-believers encircle the word like vultures, commanding an explanation when it cowers in the corners. Because it is shown a reflection. ‘Honourable’ executions, coercive conversions, stone-age customs that camouflage social atrocities mock its existence.
But at this blatant stripping of a system that consoles and comforts countless, one is forced to interject- “Which commandments or doctrine condones inhuman behaviour? Why have I always heard only the parts difficult to emulate, like concord, co-existence, compassion and other such channels conferring basic humanity?”
I guess the contradiction is between the ‘what’ and the ‘Who’, and the two we freely converge. To elaborate, doings of those created are conveniently blamed on the Creator. This colours our osmosis of right and wrong, and the eventual confusion is best clarified by completely castrating from the roots.
And so resurrects from the ashes of rejected religion, the resilient Atheist.


So we are in the age of experimenting. Doesn’t matter what we are pushing out against. The Generation-X tries cross-pollination in clothes, artistic capabilities or relationships, and nothing causes a better response than a new, changed countenance! Yes I know, that demands explanation...  
Lets try clothes. And you can practically hear the thought dam burst on the countless combinations, colours and sometimes catastrophic creations we come up with. The eras are incalculable- 60’s, 70’s, retro, gothic, period, hippie, not to mention the completely separate genre ramp-fashion has capsulated today! So what were mismatched earlier, are contrasts today. What was tacky yesterday is ‘bling’ today. What raised eyebrows in consternation yesterday, invite complimentary salutation today! Casual, chic and corporate looks- Wear ‘You’ to actually define you. Never mind that you can be a con artist copying styles just to be a fellow (mis)‘fit’!  
Art. What you don’t get requires you to act the goldfish and say....well say nothing maybe since you can’t comprehend it, but open and close your mouth enough of times with a glazed look in your eyes, to become its creator’s desired Castaway. Where he can cook you for hours, as he rambles on the freedom this century has given him, to express flamboyantly through his ‘heart and soul’ creations! It’s a mix and match society you see, so paints, oil pastels, glass and tin cans collide on the same canvas and voila! C’est tres magnifique!!
Moving on to relationships. Haven’t many of us observed people-combinations, errr....Couples..that make us look around cluelessly thinking, “How did THAT happen???” Its cool though, to be flaunting an unexpected counterpart to every social encounter now. Concepts like love, companionship or compatibility are a side-order for the real thing- Who can I get that increases the bar, causes chagrin and envy, or just plain makes heads turn to see chocolate and cheese camp on the same platter??
These are just three categories. Come up with any Rum-and-coke cocktail, and contemplate with new-found nirvana, how criss-crossed, psychedelic or re-christened you can make it in this 21st Century!  

Not as Cuckoo as you think!

Life is full of risks. Some pay off, some don’t, either way, you have to choose before you find out if it’s going to work. And if you still opened this blog, mentally prepared for talks surrounding a C-Section...Well Kudos! And without further ado, your risk paid off, coz rest assured, I have no such convoluted intentions.
Convoluted. C. Did you know there’s a ‘Sea’ of ‘C’ out there?? That’s the common thread linking all my posts. The English language allows you such a casket of vocabulary content , waiting to be catapulted in the correct construction.
Yes, please don’t miss the ‘C’s’ that fill the above sentence. And if I have sufficiently Caressed your creative craters, do spot the 'C's like those in necessary evils like cheese, cars, Charlie and the Chocolate factory etc  etc waiting to entertain in this section!