The immortality of food
Mortals of Indore and Bhopal have been locking horns over whose food is better since, what I believe, years now. These inclinations - as most other territorial leanings - are easier noticed when both natives move away from their hometowns. They remember their roots more often.
These disputes ferment especially when people leave their soil for ever-expanding metros, in search of a heroic life inauspiciously laden with manifold identities. There are instances from my own life, when friendly games of jabs on the topic of food have led to a ricocheting of pungent abuses against my Indori opponents.
These two towns share a relationship which, I am sure, more couple towns in states all over the country must be sharing. Bhopal is the political capital of Madhya Pradesh but hardly ever feels like one. Indore is the commercial capital and the fact that most people identify my district with the 1984 gas tragedy first, and then move on to Indore with an immediacy only associated with a political image, makes it sound like a better capital city candidate.
It is an unnecessary good, identity. It nearly never leaves any space for fulfillment and yet, if you stay back for too long, it makes your self-image feel stagnant and decayed. In all this, food is undoubtedly the first instrument which stirs passion in the soul for its soil. After having spent the teens of my life delving in comparisons between both, I finally ate some of Indore. And it was a phenomenal experience. Estrangement never felt so real, until now.
From my short visit to Chappan Dukaan, Indore
In the order of arrangement from the top-left:
1. Khopra Pattis, Vijay Chaat House (please have it without the Imli chutney)
2. Kachori, Vijay Chaat House (I have had better in Bhopal — Prepares for battle)
3. Batla Pattis, Vijay Chaat House
4. Shahi Rasmalai, Madhuram sweets (my definition of Rasmalai stands changed forever because of this)
5. Mutton hot dog, Johny Hot Dog - Oh, so, good. But please try Bun Kabab at Chatori Gali in Bhopal and thank me later.
6. Shikanji, Vijay Chaat House - Again, never had a Shikanji before which was anything even remotely like this.
7. That type is beautiful, isn't it?