Friday, September 14, 2007

Govindha Bhavan

A mild afternoon, rather lazy, one of those times you do not want to flaunt your money on a restuarant like Red-e or save too much in a kaiyendhi bhavan, you would rather settle for a mess (not chaos, this is a south-indian version of a fast-food center that specifically serves meals and some limited tiffin items), and you know you are living in an area that is referred to as "The Bachelors' Paradise" - There is an abundance of such fast food chains/lodges/restuarants/hotels and you start thinking of where to get a modest meal. It was this kinda day, and I was wondering where to satisfy my mild hunger. And that's when I remembered, there was one place I hadn't visited for a long time. Amidst all the hustle bustle of a thickly populated shore, named Triplicane, there is one mess that has been standing humble and silent for a long time, and it has fed thousands and thousands of hungry stomach and not-so-rich pockets till date.

It is simply named "Govindha Bhavan" - What a name! Sounds simple to the common man's ears, but still has a rich legend, and those who have feasted themselves to a hearty meal here will not refuse the treat they have subjected their taste buds to - repeatedly.

I remember eating in Govindha Bhavan since my school days - Those days when you wear shorts and look that age. It dates back to about 15 years, as a 10 year old, I remember holding my father's hand and walking on dim-yet-pleasantly-lit nights towards the door of bliss. Back then, it served food on wooden benches in a house under thatched roof with an open space in the middle that in no way imitates a waiting reception. There were no sofas or cushions to seat the customers, not a TV to entertain the eagerly waiting mind, not an AC to keep things cool. It was plain open to the sky, and people did not mind standing, awaiting their turn. There was a big old radio, that played old film songs when tuned to the city AM channels (there were no big FM stations then). I also remember the corner that had a leaking tap, a bucket and a mug that is supposed to be the washbasin.

All these lack of sophistication never really mattered to the minds that frequented this haven. The blend of sambar and rice mixed together to form a mound is a smell that your nostrils will never ever forget once they have smelt it. And lo! The poriyal and kootu that are supposed to be the side dishes actually become the main dishes, served unlimited. The rasam is one of the best you can ever drink and the grand finale with thick curd, more and more-mulagai with elumichampazha oorugai (lemon pickle) is just the actual combination named elixir.

There was only one better and more famous mess named Mithra Bhavan that was the topmost favourite of almost all bachelors who lived in Triplicane then. But all good things must come to an end and this closed down, only to make Govindha Bhavan the most sought after mess. The looks have changed now, the mess has been shifted to a building two blocks away and given a fast-food look. The management might have changed, back then it was managed by a family, not a management, so the food tasted closer to home. It still serves a limited meal for Rs.20 (roughly half-a-dollar!). The cuisine has been expanded to chinese, north indian and it now also serves tiffin items in the evening in addition to plain rice.

Well, I was all nostalgic when I gulped down my plate of rice and came out of these memories only after I had finished it clean. And then I thought I owed a blog to the family that once served food to the hungry stomach of many bachelors of Triplicane.

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Anonymous Anusha said...

Where is this in Triplicane?

12:02 PM  
Blogger Prude said...

Awesome! It felt like reading one of those fantastic 'I feel like I was there' articles in a tourist magazine of 'places you must eat in'!
Loved the style. :)

5:21 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

@ Anusha: There is a Sivaraman Street next to what-was-once Jeeva Coffee. Right opposit the church. This is at the far end of that road, not sure if you would know it tho.

@ Prude: Thanks, that is inspiring, ddn thnk someone wud actually read it and comment, i wrote it more as a memory log :). I have hunted a lot more of such unknown caves that serve gorgeous food, may be i shud write about them too. hmmm :)

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Karthik R said...

Gud Attempt da. Hotel mattum nikama,
we can collect infos like famous doctors. medical shops, or best shops.

11:33 PM  

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