Recently, over the long weekend, I decided to take a little detox getaway from the toxicity of Delhi and into the arms of another less-polluted city. And instead of booking my plane tickets or hopping on a late-night Volvo, I decided to do it the old-school way. I booked my tickets for Shatabdi Express.
Now I have to be honest, as I was stepping into Shatabdi, I was as excited about their quintessential meals almost as much as I was about my solo trip (judge me all you want but I actually like train ka khana). Especially their signature railway style Tomato soup with Amul Butter and a side of breadsticks.
I'm not even the biggest fan of tomato soups in general, like I wouldn't order it if I had the choice. But there is something about the Shatabdi wala tomato soup that instantly gets my mouth watering.
Believe it or not, when I took the first sip from those plastic cups, it tasted like all of the train journeys I've had from my childhood. I mean I'm in my early 20s and the flavours of that tomato soup are still intact. It literally tastes the same.
Im not even exaggerating when I say this, it felt like someone had put me in a time-capsule and we had gone back 10-years to taste the boiling tango of this sweet and sour Tomato soup.
Obviously just like old times, I was so impatient to taste this tango of sweet and sour that I ended up burning my tongue and the roof of my mouth. But I still have no regrets, because the tinge of black pepper, tickling my throat, tingled my childhood nostalgia. And it was totally worth it.
Do you remember they'd serve a coin-sized brick of Amul/ Nova butter on the side and those imperfectly curved crunchy breadsticks are still crispy enough to test the strength of your teeth?
I mean for someone traveling in a moving train, that soup-stick was quite a handy, multi-purpose tool.
And for some reason, even in summers, the feel and comfort behind sipping on to this hot elixir in a moving train is the same. It is probably one of the few all-season-favorite drinks that desis all across the country cherish.
I mean I don't know if it's sipping something warm while sitting on the window seat and enjoying the view that gives you a fuzzy feeling or it's the imperfectly balanced flavors of this soup that leaves you with a feeling of nostalgia.
I don't know about y'all but I'm definitely craving some Indian Railway style tomato shoup now.