Mohammed Abdul has been serving the finest pathar gosht in one small stall in Mosque road, Frazer town every Ramadaan for the past seven years. He is a bespectacled man who stands all day long instructing his juniors on the art of making the perfect mutton—juicy and soft with the smoky flavor. He likes to call himself Mr. A, for the benefit of those who are not much familiar with names such as his and often twist it to resemble something like a word spaghetti. “This year the stalls are really less and so are the people. Last year was much better—the number of people more and the food better. We did great business…but this year looks bleak,” he told me when I asked him how his stall was doing. According to the majority of the stall keepers, the residents of Mosque road had complained of the increase in decibel levels, the traffic jams and the inability to park their cars anywhere near their house. Hence, this year the glam quotient and hype of this place is a lot less.
I visited Frazer town on a Sunday—probably the worst decision I have taken off late. It resembled a fish market with hardly any space to move around. The food, I felt, was not worth the money I paid to get it. The biryani was bland; the firni had gone bad; the kebabs were good, however the pathar gosht was out of this world- totally worth the money.
There was a certain stall selling free Quran in English to spread awareness about Islam. I went up to one of the guys and chatted with him about the initiative. He seemed pleased and was willing to answer my doubts about certain things in the Quran that I didn’t quite understand.
The people around me were dressed like they were attending a marriage ceremony. Families had come for an outing determined to stuff themselves as much as possible. Men were burping shamelessly and pushing their chairs out to get themselves a third helping of kebabs. There were a few lone eaters, like myself, who seemed content to stare at the colors around them and enjoy their food.
I had gone to this place to eat. But along with my taste buds, all my other senses were awakened in this small expanse. My eyes saw varied colors of food- primarily meat; my ears heard bizarre conversations- two middle aged men were arguing over whose chicken was fatter when it lived; my nose smelled an interesting concoction of smells- the smell of cinnamon and milk somehow co-existed.
A word of advice to the people going there for the first time—be sure to look after personal belongings such as phones and wallets as there are high chances of getting mugged and be prepared to be squashed and pushed around.
A visit to mosque road will definitely give you a lot to ponder on once you are back to the comfort of your bean bag and laptop.