They see us roll-ing, they salivating

Hailing originally from West Bengal, Pooja and I are great fans of street-side egg, chicken and mutton rolls (the Indian/Bengali equivalent of a frankie or a wrap), and more so when these are combined! The affinity is greater with my wife, who has lived in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) all her life, and has sampled the best of the city’s rolls.

So when she moved to Bengaluru (then Bangalore) with me after marriage one and a half years ago, suffice to say it was more than a culture shock to her. And it became all the more apparent when she told me my in-laws—and by extension, she—never planned a tour of South India because they could never stomach the idea of South Indian Food.

Eighteen months down the line, Pooja is still adjusting to life here. But she has had a friend who has planted in her brain the liking for some forms of South Indian food. More specifically, idli.

However, rolls—especially the ones with eggs—remain a perennial favourite. I found this out the time I took her to a roll counter I had come across on Brigade Road, in front of Rex Theatre. I don’t remember the exact date or the film we went to watch, but as the man behind the counter makes those beautiful things, let me tell you what I do remember.

Pooja’s transition into life in Bengaluru was choppy, to say the least. New place, new people, new relationships, new responsibilities. It was all too new to both of us. Though in essence we were two people, as in the two parathas in the picture above that would eventually wrap the contents within, we were inherently different. Like the one with the egg batter and the one without, as seen below.

But slowly and surely, we started finding common ground, and things we both liked and hated. Food helped a lot. And the fact that I grew to like whatever she cooked only added to the concoction that was “us”. These commonalities, like the juicy, spicy chunks of meat, added to our individualities.

Then there was the spicy powder of learning from each other. Like this special sprinkle here.

Sometimes, though, the individual stands out. Pooja is definitely hotter, in a lot of aspects—looks, temper, et al. PS: I don’t like chillies. Can’t stand the heat. But Pooja does. And I respect her likes.

And then the sauces. Like that little extra flavour of life. The extra crispiness of my parathas when Pooja makes them. An occasional short-stemmed rose or small bag of bakery biscuits I bring for my wife.

Yes, we all have our individual traits. They led to tiffs. But when all is said and done, it’s time to wrap yourself up and present yourself to your loved one. Just for them. It’s all about being there for your special one.

These are also the reasons why I bring Pooja back to this roll place. This is the first place, the first food I saw my wife really enjoy in Bengaluru! It’s that lit-up face, that somewhat goofy smile and that satisfied look I remember the most from our first visit there. In fact, it’s probably the only thing I remember from that visit.

Life’s like that. You make it all about something or someone. Now, I am no expert in people or relationships, but here’s what I can definitely say about food:

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Arkadev Ghoshal


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