“Nothing can ever beat the fulfilment of eating boiled rice and steamed veggies,” says Bengaluru-based artist Rohit Bhasi, whose sketches and stories are replicas of the street food vendors and their quirky local customers whom he meets while travelling around South India on public transport. On the occasion of Vishu 2022 though, he presents an endearing pictorial tale of a certain rice-loving Lady P, whose fetish for simple food sees her go places and beyond.

 A native of Kerala, for Rohit relishing an elaborate spread of Sadya is a lot about the emotions, sentiments and memories attached to it, and of course, the food. “We have grown up eating simple home-cooked meals served on banana leaves. These are mindfully prepared dishes of seasonal vegetables and crops that do not make you feel bloated even after having a tummy full. And the experience gets better when you enjoy these meals with your friends and family,” he explains.


Talking about his Vishu-special sketches, Rohit says, “These sketches and the story are actually inspired by my friend and Bharatanatyam dancer Preethi Bharadwaj, who loves to load up on local Kerala food. For her, every meal is a love affair. And thanks to her metabolism, she manages to stay in shape too.”

The story has appetising mentions of ‘snowy rice’; ‘rivers of Sambar and Kuzhambu’; and ‘simmering heaps of veggies, Chammandi, Pulissery, Erissery and Sadam, along with tangy pickles, crackling chips, pappadam and Sakkaravarthi’. Ever since he has shared the artworks on his social media pages, many followers have lauded his narrative technique, likening it to a ‘refreshing folktale from Kerala’.

Here’s the story…

Once there was a hungry little toddler in swargaloka, who really loved rice. Growing up, she showed all signs of being a voracious eater of the type none of the 7 lokas had ever seen. The last straw was when little P was discovered snoring amid empty vessels in Indra’s private kitchen, which until a few minutes ago had enough rice and veggies for the entire dev sabha and the apsara team.


The gods had an emergency meeting. Saraswati intervened. She had plans for P; and decided she will be sent to prithvi loka. As P grew up on earth, she discovered she maintained the same talents as back in swarga. Soon she was able to finish off the entire stock of cooked rice and veggies in any given restaurant in one sitting. A few hours later she could be seen at another hotel, devouring their supplies for the evening course and for the next day. Steaming mountains of snowy rice, rivers of sambar and kozhambs, simmering heaps of veggies and chammandi and pulisheri and elishery and did i say kozhambs and saadams and achaars, and crackling chips and pappadams and shakkaravartis - all went into her without a burp or a fart.

Mightily displeased though the hotel owners were, a few days down the line, they noticed something very interesting. Even on the days when adult P ate through the entire cooked stock, their stores never went empty. Overnight, their stores were found overflowing with heaps of new rice and veggies. Even the suppliers from the villages called to say the fields were producing more rice than before. And these hotels soon began seeing an increasing number of hungry curious people coming in.



Soon, P was the guest of honour everywhere. She was invited to eat on special giant banana leaves from Bhasi uncle's secret farm, servers stood around waiting to fulfil her every command. The more she ate, the more customers the hotel started receiving after her exit. Hotel owners competed and fought with each other to have her at their tables. P soon had her photo placed right above the reception counter next to the gods. And so it goes. I see vishu is coming. Let's leave this tale here for now and see you at the sadya.