Pizza, burger everywhere not a morsel to eat. The growing 'boom' of the service indusrty is not without an influence on matters of choice of food of their paymasters!
The pleasure of a pizza and the lure of a burger accompanied by the atrocious prices of a normal balanced diet has resulted in desolate desperation of those who depend on the market for their basic necessity for subsistence, food.
The lull of an Indian thali seems deceptive for a simple wholesome diet which countryfolk make do throughtout their lives costs so dear now that one can think of relishing it only once in a lifetime. Fancy a Maharashtrian thali for 250/- or a buffet for 500!! More the price more upmarket and authentic is it made to sound and most end up cherishing it for a fleeting sense of nostalgia. "This is what my father ate when he was 13 and my grandmother made it with such skill!!" This is probably what you end up paying for what your father had for not more than 10 rupees and this rough estimate would be true after considering the inflation. Straight from grandma's kitchen causes the heart to melt. "Let me go back in time and see how it was then" is another of the cliched reasons for ending up at "Unlimited @ 500."
Good eating joints are few and far between. Most are hidden are from the privy eyes of their 'franchised' counterparts. Their cry in wilderness isl ost somewhere in the buzz of hovering flies all over. Fast food is here to stay. So long as there are deadlines are to be met it does not matter what you eat to keep the lifeline running. A quick bite of a subway subs is nothing less than elixir to a dying man seemingly in a hurry to meet his deadline.
Its not surprising to watch food which do nothing more than satiate your hunger sell more than the proverbial hotcakes. And it is notsurprising either to witness the declining health standards, specially amoung the urban crowd. Forking 100 rupees for a vada-pav kind ofsandwich with fancy vegetables put in garnished to suit an individuals taste which aniway seem all the same might seem outragoius to the thought but the urban herd has its own psyche and the subways of the world contnue to prosper. The peak hours makes the host wish he had more hands to make the 'subs'.
Places offering a Gujarati thali or a Maharashtrian thali or a South Indian meal which provided a complete package of entertainment and a value for money cuisine are breathing their last. Gone are the days when sethiji yelled young Raju "7 number saaf kar aur teen number pe 1 rice-plate laga." And the ganji clad cook dutifully obliged for he heard it directly from the saab. Its not too different now, Rocky has replaced Raju and instead of "kya chaiye" its "how may I help you sir". A svelte, smooth and sophisticated glorifed 'waiter' with a hundred thank yous is enough for making one pay 100 times more.
Money bring trouble with it they say. Even our 'aunty ka mess' is on life support now. Aunty herself has given in to the pressure of the 'outside' world. She has started dishing shit and charges exorbitantly for it. "Its no longer a mess beta, it's a haatel now. "You know na its the only authentic food in the city.
The Food and beverage industry is just the place if one has loads of money and no ideas on how to double it in not more than 30 days. A healthy investment in an upmarket place, a make-do cook and a scum who does not shy from a hundred thank yous and a million thank you and most importantly"why dont you try our....., today's special is......" is all it takes to divert one from the food itself. A recipe to get rich.
The rice plate is bleeding itself to death. The imposters are flooding the market. Raju is out on the streets, nobody would hire him without a degree. Its time to realise the virtues of a balanaced diet and revive the ancient meal. This would surely make even one's grandmother proud.
P.S Thank you Insen for suggesting a topic to write on :)