By Nikita Arivazhagan (11) and Subhashri Acharya (10)
Every morning at around eight, a man in a short lungi walks up to the pavement on the road in front of our apartment in Bandra (west), Mumbai. He unloads five steel containers which are precariously balanced on his head and serves up generous helpings of a most delicious morning breakfast. This is Raman. He has been selling his idlis and vadas with finger-licking coconut chutney in our neighbourhood from the same spot for the past eight years.
You can have a plate of four steaming fluffy idlis and four crispy vadas for as little as Rs10.
We have had this breakfast on many lazy Sunday mornings. We have also ordered the snacks in bulk for some of our birthday parties. Many people love his food – the office-goers in the area, people who work from the pavement like the nearby newspaper stall owner and others who are just passing by – they all have breakfast here.
Raman lives in Dharavi and comes all the way to Bandra every morning. He wakes up at 4am to steam the idlis and fry the vadas and grind the ingredients for the coconut chutney. His chutney was the best we have had so far. He takes the local train to Bandra and arrives around 8am to serve up breakfast to early morning office-goers. By 11am, all the food is over. Raman is from Madurai, a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He says he came to Mumbai to make a living selling idli-vada. “This wouldn’t have worked in Tamil Nadu – everyone in that part of the world is making idlis! So I thought of Mumbai.”