This blog post is part of the A to Z Challenge. This challenge involves writing a blog post on any topic/theme in the order of the alphabets from A-Z. The blog posts have to be written each day through the entire month of April, excluding Sundays.
My chosen theme is the city of Chennai, its happenings, events, and my memories and experiences connected with this place.
Thirty plus. That's how old this shop is. Quite naturally, it has evolved over the decades. Grands Sweets is the city's best known and one of the first shops of its kind. Started as a sweets and savouries (purely South Indian items) outlet operating out of a traditional home in Chennai, with a huge yard and lots of trees in a residential neighbourhood, it has many branches across the city now with modern interiors, and some have added restaurants into the premises.
There would not be a typical South Indian Brahmin family that has not haunted this place, whether a local or a visitor to the city. Their sweets, savouries, podis* and pickles are legendary and have traversed continents, seas and shores. Their free prasadam** that is distributed every day is so delicious that there is a queue of people who come by just for that. Grand Sweets takes great pride in ensuring all their sweets are made with pure ghee (clarified butter) and have long been a stamp for quality, hygiene and consistency in their products.
The recent split within the family has been a source of great sadness for many who associate Grand Sweets with Chennai and vice versa. Quite naturally, the many branches that mushroomed nearly overnight do not convey the same homely touch, taste, ambience (possibly the swanky glass interiors and polished flooring are the culprits!). They seem to be doing well, however, with people still thronging to their numerous outlets for the sheer brand status, despite the higher pricing.
I recently visited one of the restaurants and ordered a simple meal of roti (dry flat bread), kadai vegetable subzi (stir-fried spicy mixed vegetable curry), and dal (lentil stew) - primarily North Indian staple dishes. Wasn't sure I had chosen wisely from the menu considering it is a pure South Indian eatery until I had a bite, or two, and then some more. It was simply delicious. The menu card is a thick bound paper book that reminded me of high school drawing books. It even had pencil sketches of images portraying Indian kitchens of the good old days. The meal and the service was a more than satisfactory experience.
One looks forward to more dining experiences to sample their variety fare. This is a newer side to their quick tiffin items that continue to be as popular in the original premises at Adyar.
I guess it is better to have less expectations of everything in life. One discovers (and in some cases, rediscovers) and enjoys everything that much more. That's the trick to being constantly amazed :-)
*podis - spiced powders
**prasadam - 1st offering of food to the Divine, making it auspicious