Oye Amritsar

Stepping out of the elevator and into Oye Amritsar is like stepping into another world. The first thing you see is a paanwala, perched on the staircase before you. Before you fully register his unlikely presence, your head swivels towards an unceasing, mid-volume clamor. Unbidden, your feet follow suit.

Three of your senses – smell, sight, and hearing – are immediately and simultaneously assailed. The aromas of tawa-hot rotis and shuddh desi ghee conjure up warm-and-fuzzy childhood memories. Fifty-odd conversations struggle to be heard above the sound of old Hindi film songs and the busy clatter of ladle against karhai. And the colors! Red snuggles up against pink; green and purple co-exist happily; and yellows, oranges, and blues vie incessantly for your attention. This is kitsch at its eye-popping best. Keep reading…