The Naanwich and Other Travesties

A Rant by Someone Who Has Eaten Enough Naans and Sandwiches  To Know that They Should Not Be Combined

When I walked into the Ivy Room for the first time this semester, I did so in desperate pursuit of falafels and pizza. Not necessarily both, and not necessarily in that order, but nevertheless, I was disappointed on all counts. Standing before me was a vast line of fellow Indian students with quizzical looks on their faces. Already, a troubled feeling made itself at home inside my stomach.

I intrepidly walked past my countrymen to peer at the source of their discombobulation. NAANWICH, a sign in bold font proudly read. I blinked in disbelief, but the atrocity before my eyes still remained. I tilted my head in thought. “Uhm, excuse me? What’s a naanwich?” I asked a girl to my right.

“It’s a naan-sandwich,” she deadpanned, rolling her eyes. Oh, god. My suspicions had turned out to be accurate. I smiled tentatively before deferring to the other line, with far fewer customers.

Cocktail Vegetable Samosa, I read. My stomach started to churn and a black haze settled in at the peripheries of my vision. A cocktail samosa? They couldn’t possibly mean… a chhota* samosa? My favourite Indian dish, my mom’s pride and joy, reduced to finger food… it was almost too much to bear on top of the homesick feeling that had already coated my now-growling stomach.

I turned my head slightly to the right to see what other horrors lay in store for my over-sensitive gut and mind. Vegetable Pakora. Alright, fair enough. Who doesn’t love a good pakora, right? Classic Indian party food. Then I read the description: gluten-free. Oh, boy. Oh, boy. The description, I’ll have everyone know, is highly deceptive for one primary reason. While it’s all fine and dandy for those who are genuinely allergic to gluten, there’s one tiny detail left out of that description: pakoras are deep-fried in oil. Possibly multiple times over, i.e. extremely fattening… i.e. more so than gluten.

In the time it took for my brain to compute all this, I’d already reached the front of the line. “Uh, the Chana Masala, please.” There — a healthy, staple Indian diet.

“Just the masala?” the server gave me an incredulous look.

“Oh, uh, some pakoras, too,” I said before I could stop myself. Dammit! I was weak. I came here for low-calorie food! Stupid pakoras. Stupid Ivy Room. What was so wrong with a good old falafel, anyway—

“Er, you’re kind of holding up the line,” the same girl, now to my left, whispered, breaking me out of my reverie. I huffed, and collected my food before heading to the cashier. “One rasoi,” the cashier announced, the delicate nuances of the Indian word for kitchen carelessly rolling off his tongue . I shook my head sadly before settling down to eat my dinner.

I popped a pakora into my mouth distastefully. What a travesty.

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