It was one of those weekdays! The kind of day whose only highpoint is the tasteless goop that is passed off as ‘food’, that too in impossibly large quantities. What’s the correlation between bad food and the quantity it is served in anyway? That’s some food for thought! I’ve had enough eating expensive gum in the canteen. I needed to be free. Between death and food, I choose food, that too good food.
The situation warranted a trip to old city, the much reviled yet treasured part of Hyderabad. The very mention of “old city” in the presence of outsiders (read non-Hyderabadis) conjures up technicolour visions of massively ornamented chandeliers, colorful bangles literally changing hands, seductive perfumes wafting from small, crazily stocked shops, piercing call of the Masjid muezzin to the faithful and the faithless alike.
But to me, old city means Adaab, and my destination Shadab, the Biryani Mecca of the faithful! It is where I get my plateful. It is where I satisfy the hunger in my soul. It is where I slake my thirst with cool and colorful Faluda or Lassi if that’s what my taste buds scream for. No matter how far, it is home 10km away from home. Stepping into Shadab is like getting a visa to the old world.
It welcomes me with open arms and insanely crowded tables. Its uniformed waiters greet me like an old friend does. Once in, I can’t wait to be ushered to a table. Soon, I am at a table with a dingy, chequered table cloth that hath seen the spillage of countless dishes and withstood the test of time. And I thought chequered cloths belonged to Formula 1!
I don’t care. I don’t want to care. I am too hungry to care. Get me my plate of heaven I say.
Lo and behold, in a matter of minutes I am staring at a rust coloured copper vessel holding my precious, the heavenly melange of chicken, spices and rice. I dig in with relish. The first feeling is that of relief; the taste hasn’t changed at all. Next is the warm feeling that flows through you when you see a beautiful woman. You know what I am talking about.
I let the fragrance and the atmosphere in Shadab transport me to a different world. The world of the old Nizams creating their histories in the majestic Falaknuma Palace. Around them are the hushed movements of the liveried waiters serving deliciously fragrant biryanis from copper vessels onto silver plates. Oh, I feel like the old Nizams, I feel like I am king. My 60 min of fame, and that too for mere Rs.120/-
Ladies and Gentlemen, my humble stomach is now the proud recipient of a plateful of Shadab’s delectably delightful biryani. Go eat!
Image Credit: Abhinaba