Girlie fare... Students ordering for aloo chaat at Gargi College campus in New Delhi. Photo: S. Subramanium.
A NESCAFE booth on the lawns, chowmein and samosas, rajmah-chawal and bread-omelette and a few paneer delights to pair with soft drinks, is the usual canteen food setup in any Delhi University college. But walk into Gargi College canteen and you uncover interesting features that a North Campus college might hunger for but hasn't had yet.
A chaat corner and a juice stall. Not to forget of course, the yummy kathi roll.
"The chaat stall is our canteen's hot spot. Though aloo-chaat and tikki are the everyday fare here, during our college festival, you get more things. And in summer, we really look forward to his golgappas," says second year student Nou from Nagaland. Chaatwallah Suresh, even as he is spicing up the ordered fare for Nou and her friends as he has been doing for the last 10 years here, is prouder of the fact that no one has fallen sick having eaten his chaat than raking in a handsome income daily.
"My chaats have to be good to be preferred to those at the restaurant just outside the college. Also, I sell for only Rs. 8 a plate," he says, the pride brimming from his eyes.
Moving on, you catch up with the in-house juicewallah Vinod. "He smiles less in winter. Because he sells little," Ritika, a student passing by, takes a pot-shot at him.
"I do sell less in winter. Now, you only get mausambi and anar juice. But in summer, there is always a crowd in front of me asking for mango juice. Ritika madam too will come here," says a smiling Vinod, paying back the student in the same coin. The free flow of branded soft drinks, Vinod insists, is no threat to him.
As the clamour and clatter around you takes an amplified pace with more and more girls pouring in for lunch, the showy blue dangling lights showering a glow on the scene, you happen to peep outside. And well! Here is a nice sit-out in the sun. Munching aloo-chaat, you find many students on a parallel congress.
Time now to retrace your steps, but you almost consider whispering to the crowd, `Do you know what a luxury sun-basking is these days?'
SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY
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