After a long season of waiting, betrayal, fighting I finally set my foot last weekend on the pathway to have my dinner at BADE MIA for the first time.
For those poor souls that are ignorant about this heaven-abode, let me mention that it is a very famous spot for Non-Vegetarian foodies at Colaba, Mumbai. It is spread over the whole back alley behind the TAJ. No, its not a restaurant. It’s not a hotel. It is just a 3×1 feet stall on the pathway, with seats laid-out on the footpath covering the half of street-side in length. But when you’ll look at the crowd swarming there for delicious mouth watering kababs and bhuna gosht and other such delicacies of the likes, it will amaze you. At least this is what I’d heard about it and that’s why I was anxious to visit there once and quench my appetite. I may sound gallous but it’s me and I love my status as being a gourmet.
So I reached there with my friends by six in the evening and found that the shop hasn’t opened yet. Preparations were going on. Tandoor was being set. Utensils were being washed up, which gave me an ugly thought of dogs licking the plates last night. I could actually picture them calling more of their breed using their hi-fi sonic sound. Why weren’t the plates washed earlier at the time of closing yesterday? I shared this yuck thought with my friends and they started beating me right there for my evil thoughts. (We skipped our meal in the noon so as to appreciate the dinner with vigor.) Certainly, none of us was in the mood of auditing their mess, so we left the place, only to come back later.
Around 8 o’ clock, we reached to the much awaited destination again. But to our awe, the place was already overcrowded. All the seats were full. I asked a waiter to reserve seat for 5 and he just went away, shrugging his shoulder. I could clearly read the implied meaning: “Jagah mile to baith jao verna khade raho”. (If you find an empty space, please sit or else just keep standing and keep looking.) How honest was the person. Waah waah…At a restaurant, you will certainly beat the hell out of the waiter if he even dare to meet your eyes. All because you are paying a nice amount to be treated as King. But on the roadside dhaba like Bade Mia, everybody is treated in the same manner i.e. without manner.😀
After a long hour of waiting, finally one of my friend was able to dug his nails on a table to mark it as his property. As soon as he did so, he glanced at other 2 groups that were also vying for the same spot with a ferocious hawk eye look. Probably, it came out more as a reason of bowels churning up to a unbearable limit than to invite any reaction from them. We all sat there with our head held high (not because of the esteem of getting a seat but to get ourselves noticed by the ever busy waiters.) Finally a waiter had pity on us and came to our seat. We were discussing over the menu and finalizing the items to order when the waiter cocked on us to quickly give the order. We were awe-struck with such reaction. But the hunger in us was climbing to the apex, so we concentrated on the menu selection. Once the order was laid, a lot of commotion followed thereafter till we finished our dinner. Like the main course was served before the starters. And when we complained about it, the waiter just plainly said: “Arrey aa raha hai, Paneer tikka hi to hai naa starter mein aur kya hai” (Its coming. Only Paneer tikka is there in starters huh.) Then the fight over roomali roti. The mocking quantity of hunger striken chicken slaughtered and served in a plate that was so small to let alone serve only a child. As we were about to finish our dinner, we heard the same waiter fighting with customers on an adjacent table. Their only fault: they asked him for water after paying bills. “Paani chahiye tha to pehle bolna tha. Ab mujhe waha tak jaana padega(pointing towards the counter), paani lana padega” (If you needed water, you should have asked me at the time of ordering, now I’ll have to go all the way back there to bring you guys, water). Waah… Uske bolvachan sunne ke baad ab kuch aur order karte nahi bana. Jitni izzat bachi thi usko samet ke hum logo ne waha se palayan karma uchit samjha. We paid the bill and left with whatever pride we have left for ourselves.
My first and hopefully final visit to Bade Mia was a big let down. I’ll never understand the psyche of those who swarm that concrete boulevard to have a tasteless feast served cold.