Muniamma’s hands swiftly cut vegetables, dip them in batter and gently drop them in boiling oil. We were strolling along, when a sizzle and a delectable aroma tug at us
The wind whistles past us as we ride along the second longest beach in the world. As we slow down to park our vehicle, the bustling activity on the Marina has us gaping in wonder, yet again. The charm of this 13 km-long stretch of water and sand never fades.
Hawking sundal sellers, colourful wisps of cotton candy, horses trotting along with riders of all ages, enthusiastic balloon shooters... the list goes on and on! Amidst the colour and noise, a sizzle and a delectable aroma tug at us. As if hypnotised, we settle down on the plastic stools on the sand. We look up from the crisp bajjis now cooling on a plate, and into the welcoming face of Muniamma, who has been in the business for nine years.
“Bajjis are a very popular snack on the beach,” says Muniamma. “Our customers are a varied lot and come from many parts of the country, sometimes from abroad too. Tourists relish bajjis very much,” she says.
Muniamma sells five varieties of bajji - onion, potato, banana, green chilli and cauliflower.
Some maintain that bajjis made on the beach are not hygienic – all the while trying to suppress temptation, we imagine. Muniamma trashes the theory. “We use only refined oil. Moreover, people come to inspect and check whether we change oil everyday,” she says.
By this time, dozens of customers are flocking the stall, and talking to Muniamma is possible only if we place an order. We do so without much ado, and watch in fascination as Muniamma’s hands swiftly cut vegetables, dip them in batter and gently drop them in boiling oil.
As the bajjis sizzle, we look at the crashing waves, laidback and relaxed. We realise that these endless sands have in abundance the very things this city craves - food, entertainment and a calm unlike anything else.