Saturday 29th October 2016.
There’s an old Sufi story about a man, walking along the dark side of a road, who accidentally drops his house keys. Uncertain what to do, the man crosses the road and starts looking for them under a lamppost. A curious bystander asks him why he doesn’t look for them where they’d fallen. “There’s more light over here,” the man explains.
Skippy picked me up outside the Iranian barbers on Langsett Road. (Splendid eyebrow trim.) Headed up to Mama Rama’s for a late afternoon graze Southern Indian style. It was, predictably, as dead as one of those deep fried doughnut dumplings (medu vada) they serve at you like ping pong balls. But then the Pickles do appreciate a solemn, lifeless dining space.
Southern Indian style surely equals dosa. That’s where I went looking, in any case, like our Sufi friend, under the familiar lamplit glare of preconceived ideas. Sharing a mutton masala starter portion we both agreed it surpassed Dosa Cafe’s version. Setting aside the aforementioned medu vada – plopped into my ramen soup by a misfiring Desmond Douglas – the starter medley was, in fact, quite a triumph. The delicate, cram-packed samosa surprising us with its fieriness, like a prima ballerina on a foul-mouthed rant.
Yet, it was the obscure and unheralded green mango fish curry that really commanded attention. Tasty, firm-fleshed Indian king fish – a distinctive, optimal accompaniment to the sharp green mango pieces and tangy, hot sauce. It was as if an atramentous sewer fish had just slimed through a drain grate, belching my set of house keys onto the unlit pavement.
“That’s what we do with our lives: the familiar framework is where we want to look. If we have a problem, we follow a familiar framework: thinking, stewing, analysing, keeping the crazy business of our lives going because that’s what we’re used to doing. Never mind that it doesn’t work. We just get more determined and keep searching under the lamppost.” (Joko Beck)
Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles