A Tale of Two Messes: Food Court vs. Annapoorna
“Two roads diverged into the woods, and I took the one which had better food”- Robert Gupta
You’ve probably found yourself at the crossroads, trying to balance a healthy diet with tasty food, and controlling yourself not to escape into the sinful streets filled with food outlets illuminated with yellow lights that serve scrumptious food but also make a dent in your wallet.
We try to take a look at the two major kitchens that serve berated souls every day, and see how they fare up against each other.
She’s the most South Delhi girl you can imagine. Upper middle class, and shops for clothes exclusively at small boutiques in Hauz Khas Village. In case you didn’t know, that’s the Kalaghoda equivalent of Delhi. She works out from Sunday through Friday, and diets on low nutrient breakfasts of aloo parantha (sans the potato), or idlis but enjoys a lavish cheat day on Saturday with aloo sabzi and pooris so oily, it puts the Gulf nations to shame. She also likes gargantuan amounts of coffee; mocha made of Bournvita. We all have our whims, don’t we?
You can never guess what’s her usual attire for dinner. On days she’ll turn up for dinner donning her new crop top and pumps, with freshly straightened hair and on others she might look homeless sporting her over-sized Marvel character tee, pyjamas, and a Bellatrix Lestrange-esque frizzy hair.
She believes in #squad, is hardly seen without hers, and looks down upon those in haughty derision sitting alone at the dinner table. And after dinner, she always grabs a cold coffee, a shawarma, or a smoke or two from the nearby shop.
But her moodiness is illustrated by how she cooks. She claims she likes to cook, though her friends secretly hate her cooking. But they eat her preparations regardless, with a smile on their faces. Her concoction of a mix of veggies unknown to humanity in a thick, green curry, looking like something out of an RL Stine. She might load your plate with copious amounts of gravy and chicken at her generous best, but she’s known to switch to her stingy worst, randomly.
Her rajma resembles nothing like it’s served in northern India, and her sambhar is basically a reduction of veggies into a broth.
This girl is the Food Court personified.
- Proximity to the Academic Blocks
- Option of a wider variety of meals, for a price
- Squeaky clean, at all times
- Most meals are tasteless
- Poor value for money
- Poor service
Picture a guy in his 30s, who wears Paragon office chappals, and walks in his brown worn out cargo pants, with a dangling headphone chord peeping from the pocket. He prefers parathas over sandwiches and always makes it a point to lick his fingers clean before leaving the table. It doesn’t really affect him if it’s Abidas or Puna, until it fits him well, and that’s what he is all about. Hailing from a family of Thakurs, he believes that the only difference between salad and curry is oil, and anything not buried under 3 millimeters of the viscous transparent liquid is simply dietary fiber which goes straight to the cowshed.
Dinner means a thali filled with sumptuous daal with enough oil to initiate a mini middle-eastern conflict in your stomach. He eats only real rotis made with love for the masses, taking into account the size of the family, he can’t afford ghee, but nonetheless the rotis have a layer of lubricant, specially designed to help you shove it down your throat.
He is a go-getter, and believes in eating well before doing anything. His friends highly regard him for his taste, and the variety he offers is unmatched by any gun in the wild-south. He is a warm person and his friendliness will surely make you feel at home instantly. You don’t need to worry about what to wear or where to look for friends, because just like his personality, everything is right there in front of you. He serves you water, gives you the leftovers for free and you can easily bargain for an extra sweet or leg piece without questioning your own conscience.
- Delicious food
- Variety of food offered
- Distance from hostel blocks/ academic area
- Not air-conditioned
- Average ambience
– by Peeyush Chauhan, and Agnihotra Bhattacharya
– photographs by Shiprak Sinha, and Arun Raj
Authors’ Note: Ironically, neither of us actually advocate for the Food Court. One of us can be seen frequenting Annapoorna, while the other can be found in Sindhi Mess. The latter gorging on the Maggi masala infused curry, and perfectly cooked rotis. It’s up to you to guess our favourite messes.