Tiffin Time @ Mavelli Tiffin Rooms

Lina Krishnan

At the hallowed door of this Bangalore-famous eatery, leaf baskets of fresh mallige await the jasmine-loving hands of mamis resplendent in Mysore silk, mamas eager to catch up on a colleague’s retirement flutters.

In the ante room, in a faded sepia sketch, a balding Jawaharlal walks

Towards Gandhi. His mentor who looks like he’s waited long enough

To meet again, his tired favourite.

Space is at a premium here, even more than medhu vadas at Rs 40.

A departing eater touches his beeda reverently to his eyes, before popping the astringent paan bundle right in. At this holiest of holies

Where ghee is worshipped, the High Priest is the Man at the Door, with a name roster worthy of Madame Defarge. His beady eye rejects all comers, till he nods to a lucky few, to enter the Sanctum Sanctorum

Where waiters in pink shirts flit about, offering Kharabath, with a single tomato slice like the Benz logo in the flesh, MTR patent rava idli, or masaal dose. And one by two kaapi in what they call, eversilver glasses.

Glossary: Mami: any lady. Mama: any gent. Mallige: kannada for jasmine. Beeda: paan/betel leaf. Medhu vadas/ kharabath/masaal dose: savoury snacks. Ghee: a kind of butter. Kaapi: kannada for coffee. Eversilver: metal that doesn’t get tarnished


Bio Note: Lina Krishnan is a poet, abstract artist and photographer in Bangalore. She has a chapbook of nature verse, Small Places, Open Spaces, with Melbourne poet Valli Poole. For her, Gandhiji’s relevance is about him being seeped in the very essence of this nation’s soil and air. He is like a family elder, stern and indulgent by turn, but a constant lodestar for one’s values. 

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