Impromptu dal baati, Alwar
On recent trip to Alwar, we spotted this incomplete looking shack by the roadside. There was a charpai, a cooking station with a stove and a tarpaulin roof. It looked like a food place but given that no one stopped by we were not too sure. We decided to stop on the way back.
It was a dhaba. The guy had nothing ready. He explained all that he could cook and how much time it would take. We decided on the dal baati in twenty minutes option. He cooked, his friend who stopped by helped. They chopped vegetables, we played cards and talked about everything under the sun. He boiled the dal, he rolled bati and set a fire on a chullah behind the dhaba.
Field of standing bajra extended for miles behind and there were fields and hills in the distance in front. The cooking went on for more than the initial estimate but we did not mind, locals came and went and the conversation prolonged.
We helped in the cooking, pulled the baati out of fire and served ourselves. The onions he served with the food were sweet and the green chilies were fierce. We professed our love for both so much that he called up a farmer and sent a boy to get us some onions and chilies.
After some two hours, well fed, we went on a tour of the fields to pick kankod from the creepers. All this because we stopped at a place where no one did. In fact, he complained that no one stopped at his dhaba. The ones who stopped wanted something ready to eat. The twenty minutes wait was too much for almost everyone. Is that how most of us travel these days? Optimising time and minimising experiences?
I understand that stopping at such places can go either ways. But isn’t that the point of travel? To see all that is possible?