Monday, November 06, 2006

The Art of Eating a Gulab Jamun

The Art of Eating a Gulab Jamun
Vikram Karve

The art of eating comprises three simple steps:

First you learn or come to know about good food – you hear from someone, read somewhere, or come across while browsing the net or from TV or the media or even from the menu card.

Next you go there and observe people eating and relishing the delectable cuisine you have heard so much about – the way they are eating and enjoying themselves. The expression of satiation on their faces. This tempts you to taste and savor the cuisine yourself.

And then you actually order the food you have been yearning for, delicately put a piece in your mouth and actually experience the pleasures of eating it, firsthand.

One winter evening I suddenly feel an urge, a craving, a desperate sort of yearning, for my favourite sweet – The “Gulab Jamun”.
I believe that if you want to be happy you must fulfill such feasible and viable desires at once, here and now, so I put on my walking shoes, cross the Oval – the Rajabai Tower Clock is striking Six – turn right at the Mumbai University gate, and the left, and walk towards Kalaghoda, turn right towards Colaba Causeway which is a foodies’ delight and soon reach my destination - Kailas Parbat – at the southern end of Colaba Causeway.

I have heard from my friends that Kailas Parbat is the best place in Mumbai for Gulab Jamuns. I have enjoyed delectable Gulab Jamuns at many places – at Pachkuin Road in Delhi, Pehelwan at the end of Lanka in Banaras, and even in a place called Dumka in the back of the beyond – but now amongst the people eating Gulab Jamun at Kailas Parbat I see a veteran, a connoisseur, relishing it with such satisfaction that I go to the counter and order a Gulab Jamun myself.

Just one hot mouth-watering Gulab Jamun in a liberal amount of thick syrup. It’s nice and hot - Gulab Jamuns must be eaten hot – and very soft and juicy. I spoon a small luscious piece and place it delicately on my tongue and close my eyes to enhance the quality of the gustatory experience – whenever you want to enjoy good food just close your eyes, concentrate on your tongue and drown in sheer bliss.

I just leave the succulent Gulab Jamun piece on my tongue for a while to let the hot sweet viscous syrup permeate deep into my taste-buds and the moment I gently roll my tongue the Gulab Jamun disintegrates and melts in my mouth releasing its delicious cardamom tinged flavor and soothing rose fragrance within me. I eat slowly, deliberately, eyes closed, savoring every moment, relishing the divine taste, prolonging the heavenly experience – it’s epicurean delight of the highest order.

I walk back home in state of supreme bliss, the lingering taste of the delicious Gulab Jamun remains with me for a long long time.

Kailas Parbat serves delicious chaat, dahi wadas, tasty snacks, chola bhatura, falooda and all sorts of sweets (the sev barfi is really good) and their restaurant opposite is arguably the best place for Sindhi, Punjabi and North-Indian pure vegetarian food in Colaba. But it’s their delicious Gulab Jamun which is unrivaled, unsurpassed and reigns supreme.

Vikram Karve

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