The tale of the Barley and Jowar salad @TheBombayCanteen

Imprisoned. A life sentence oscillated in front of his eyes like a clock pendulum. But this verdict was passed a good 14 years ago. As he changed into civil clothes to venture out into the world once again, he realised that freedom was overrated. So what if you got to walk the streets of the city? He was too old now to walk anyway. He looked up at the tall buildings. They seemed taller for some reason. And the grass did seem greener on this side of the prison wall. But that’s because it was excessively manicured. The city had lost its rustic vibe. A sea of cars glided on the roads like ripples over a smooth waterbody. And for a minute or two, he just sat there and watched the multitude of people push him around as they made their way through their busy schedules. He didn’t belong in this world. This scene made his cold, dank cell feel like a warm cosy place right now. But he had to give this life a chance. So he decided to spend the few rupees he owned in a good meal.

Going through the menu, he was awestruck with the number of options listed on the menu. It was funny how much choice people had nowadays. Confused. Exasperated. And Hangry. He called for something that came closest to his meal in prison. It sounded a tad bit boring, but he needed something of that sort in his life at this point. It was the barley and jowar salad. The dish was served within minutes. He wondered how they prepared it so fast but shut out the thought immediately to dig in. One bite in, and a burst of flavours welcomed him to his new life. For the first time since he left the gates of prison, he had felt pleasantly surprised. Freedom came in many forms, but this one was worth tasting.

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