Breathe Like a Dragon
Yes, I indeed breathed like a dragon, but let me give you the context. Last week, while hanging out in the teachers lounge at Parikrma, I got to talking with some of the teachers during their break. With the intention of asking a couple questions about our project, I found myself staying longer as I got the classic questions of India from the teachers, do you like it here? And, is the food too spicy? I stood up straight, dropped my head to the side, and with a soft smirk and emphasized head shake I said, "No, I like spicy."
Those were my last words.
After continuing our conversation about the amazing food of Bangalore, I got especially close with one of the teachers, Prasanna, who teaches 9th and 10th grade social studies. By the time I had to return upstairs and get back to work, he had a list ready for me but said I had to start at V.V Puram Street, one of the oldest food streets in Bangalore. Little did I know that he was going to accompany us and teach us how to chow down on Indian street food the right way.
Arriving at V.V Puram Street before Prasanna (no surprise there), Sophie, Cat, Cameron, myself, and the man, the myth, the legend, Tim (Sophie's dad) decided to walk around the street and scope it out ourselves. In between the hustle and bustle of flying dosas, simmering rotis, and people stuffing their cheeks with biryani, a particular sign caught my eye saying 'Breathe Like a Dragon'. I walked over to find out it was wafers frozen with dried ice and I immediately went for it. Five minutes after the purchase, Sophie, Cat, Cameron, Tim, and myself were blowing fat clouds and pretending to breathe like dragons.
Little did I know that once Prasanna arrived I would really breathe like a dragon.
Like a green light at a traffic stop, Prasanna came with no time to waste and a lot of food to try. We started with gol gappa, a quick and semi spicy chaat, and moved on to a shavige bath, a noodle dish with peanuts (Sorry, Rob). Following this appetizer, we bought three masala dosas and swiftly crossed the street for a paneer and veg Manchurian. After these 3 back to backs of spicy dishes, I was already full and breathing like a dragon with tears in my eyes from the joy I was feeling.
Okay, no, it was the spice-I was dying.
So, I made a split decision and played the “OH, TIM, HAVE YOU HAD LASSI BEFORE?” card as my tongue needed an ice-cold bucket shower of mango lassi. During our lassis and my extra sweet lime juice to hydrate, we were able to cool down a bit before going back into the ring for bele holige, tawa pulav, and gulab jamoon. My stomach was filled to the brim and Prasanna thought it was the best idea that with all the street food we had that we needed a masala soda to ease our digestive track.
Yes, it is exactly what you think, Thumbs Up or a Miranda with masala spices in it. It was pretty salty and, for the majority of us, pretty hard to get down, but I knew my digestive track would thank me later. I pinched my nose and chugged the masala soda with Prasanna like a cleansing ritual. Tim decided to count his prayers eating a ton of street food a day after touchdowning in India and not chugging that masala soda.
From what I hear, he has never been better so the legend lives on.
After the soda, Prasanna said, “Okay, let’s take a halftime now,”which I responded to with a “have mercy” head shake and masala burp. After a walk, we decided on taking pastries to go and Prasanna laughed at us calling us weak as we had to leave at the half time. All in all, I think I breathed like a foreigner who couldn’t handle his spice but next time I go to V.V Puram with Prasanna, I’ll make sure I breathe like a true dragon for the full game.