In Search of India on the 101

I was born in the middle of nowhere in Kerala, India, outside the tiny village of Mallapally, a beautiful tiny dot living remotely in the world. Living amongst its pristine beauty is like an eternal walk through the Garden of Eden. Kerala has become a hotspot, now a destination state where so many of my relatives have always lived and now having several friends who have visited or wanting to visit. Word has leaked out internationally that “God’s Own Country” is actually a real place. And in that place of paradise that is and will always be my home, my mother’s home village of Mallapally will always be that place I will always compare against all other places laying claim to the word “paradise”.

And so it was tonight, I was hanging out with a friend I had not seen in years, someone I worked with over thirteen years ago, and on my way home, I abruptly decided to stop at the Travel Lodge a couple exits from where I live. Inside that Travel Lodge lived a hole in the wall Indian restaurant. I don’t even think it has a name. I’d been here once before for its lunch buffet. That was good, but it never beckoned me for more; so two years later, I found myself on my way home and inexplicably, India beckoned.

The waiter, a middle-aged Indian man, balding with grey hair on the side of his head with both kindly eyes and a welcoming smile greeted me with a menu. I happily ordered the channa masala, chicken karahi, lamb vindaloo, chicken biriyani, tandoori fish and paratha. Politely asking me how spicy I wanted the dishes, I responded with a smile.

“I’m Indian.”

He returned the smile knowingly.

I knew this would be a sweat filled evening, my nose running – happily so. With beautiful Indian music playing overhead, patrons chatting up, the aroma the dishes at their tables and of the small kitchen in the back filling the air, one dish after another visited my table, as my eyes became bigger and bigger. All the dishes were exquisite, my expanding stomach so very happy. The Chicken Karahi was the best I’d ever had.

While I wasn’t searching for it, I had unexpectedly found one of the, if not best, traditional Indian restaurant in Marin County (joining Avatars for nouveau Indian and BBQ n Curry House for traditional Pakistani).

This puts me in the mood for a ten-day auto-rickshaw race in India!

Jai Ho!

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