There are certain hobbies which are common to large numbers of people living in a particular geographical area. People may go out of their way to taste varieties of wines or cheese, have a checklist of reputed establishments where they can be bought or try the little known and the rare. There are golfers who travel the world playing on golf courses built on different terrains and similarly those who like to claim they have fished in fishing hotspots or surfed on a maximum number of seas.
But for us Bangaloreans it is the dosa that gets us excited. The city has always been home to some of the best dosa joints and the Bangaloreans can display a fanatical attachment to their dosas. Families have been known to be firmly divided down the lines of support for their favourite dosa place and a discussion can lead to inflamed passions with heated disagreements. Some of the places like MTR opposite Lalbagh Botanical Gardens and Vidhyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar are old Bangalore institutions. CTR in Malleshwaram is steeped in history as it was a meeting place for freedom fighters during the Independence movement. But everyone has their preferences; not to mention the numerous tiny little places in each locality, some without even a name.
None of the places on the dosa trail are plush. In fact, they are far from it and though some may be scrupulously clean, the cleanliness of others is best left to the imagination. Some have just enough standing room or it could be a hole in the wall or even a cart on the pavement which attracts droves from across the city. Why care what the place looks like when it can serve up the most amazing, crispy buttery dosas that one wants to keep eating forever. No self respecting Bangalorean would have a dosa in a star hotel anyway.
In Bangalore, no one cooks breakfast on Sunday mornings. It is the one day when everyone is off work so why bother repeating the drudgery of weekday routine? Traffic is light and the day stretches ahead with no work, school or college to head to. So Sunday mornings are perfect to head out for serial dosa eating. It is common to find people, sometimes in packs excitedly hopping from one dosa joint to another. Each place after all is unique in taste, flavour and texture of not just the dosa but also its accompaniments. It is not unusual, while peacefully walking the dog, to be hailed by two frantic people on a scooter asking for directions to a famous dosa place and a few minutes later by an equally frantic group heading in the opposite direction, searching for its rival. And if you are the one doing the dosa hopping, you are quite likely to bump into the same happy looking group in each place.
Particularly in this weather, when the mornings in Bangalore are cool and sometimes rainy, dosa trippers are out and about. There is no better way really to spend a Sunday morning. Lying in is passé while breakfast at home is boring. And reading newspapers….who does that nowadays? Better get on to the dosa trail.
(A special thank you to Divya and Harsha fellow Bangalore foodies for the dosa photos. And by the way can anyone guess which dosa joints the two dosas featured are from?)