(from Wednesday, January 15, 2014)
First morning run on the streets of Mysore! With no idea about where to go, we set off as far away as possible from the hustle of the main road for some quieter back streets. We were greeted by men huddled in tea stalls, women attending to morning chores, and school children waiting for their commuter vans. Although the dearth of traffic was a relief, we were confronted with new obstacles: cows, roosters, dogs, goats, and pigs. We aren’t in Brooklyn anymore.
Feeling renewed and inspired, we decided we were ready for our first thali – a traditional Indian lunch with a selection of various dishes, along with rice, curd, and sambar. Skipping the Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor suggestions, we went straight to the source: a rickshaw driver that we have grown fond of.
This landed us at the fast-moving, packed Hotel RRR (not actually a hotel, but the marketing seems to work). Although it seemed chaotic when we entered, there was a seemingly well-established system. We were instructed to wait for our table by hovering over the chairs of a couple eating their thali; we hesitantly complied.
What transpired afterwards is quite a blur. Banana leaves were laid on the table and servers circled around each other heaving curries and rice onto our
plates leaves. When a regular
patron sitting at a neighboring table caught a glimpse of our dainty eating
style, he approached us – in the midst of his own lunch – to school us. Within
seconds, Taylor’s food was trenched in ghee and masala, and the Indian man had
his hand in Taylor’s food, as he modeled just how one is to adequately mix
everything together – something that cannot be attained with utensils. Before
we could “thank” him, he was already back in his seat and reengaged in his own
Thanks to our rickshaw driver and the friendly RRR customer, our first thali was an absolute success.