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Pani Puri, Golgappa, Phuchka – Memories around it !!!

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I was sitting at my home flipping through a book and enjoying the nice rain when suddenly a temptation to eat something ‘chatpata‘ made my taste buds restless. Keeping the book aside my foodie soul woke up and placed floating images of ‘garam pakoda‘, ‘samosa‘ in front of my eyes. Seeing those mouth watering images the eyes gleamed, but I was in no mood to cook for myself. So I consoled my foodie soul and was back to my book.

But the taste buds were really getting restless and again a sudden temptation arose to have the ‘pani puris’. Waited for the rain to stop and stepped out of the house in search of the ‘panipuriwaala’. Just next to my street on the main road are 2-3 of them. Circling around the stand were 4 of us with our plates. Gulping one paani puri, waiting for another round I savoured them. My soul was filled with the satisfaction after gulping 10 of those and then one “Churmur Chaat“.

While having those pani puris, I was remembering the paani puri bhaiya who used to have stall at our school. I know him for now 21 long years. Still his face is fresh in my mind and the speed with which he used to serve those pani puris.

Flashback…

A man with his thela( its a vehicle with four wheels and gets pushed to move) which carried a box full of paani puri and few other vessels enters the main gate of the school. Pushes his vehicle till the big playground under a tree and places his gaadi with other gaadi of Dosa/Idli and icecream waala. Little girls playing in the playground turn their faces as if waiting for him, runs towards him and stands around the gaadi in a circle. Atleast 20 of them around the gaadi and bhaiya in the center with his fast moving hands serving one by one. You will not believe but by the time you are still relishing the first paani puri, he would have placed the second one. The fast moving hands were so good at their work.

Enjoyed the 10 years of his paani puri when I was in school. Seen the price rise from 4 pieces for 25 paise to 2 pieces for 2 rupees but he continued serving with the same speed and same taste. In those days there was not much concept of  pocket money. I used to cycle to school , so I used to get some money for the puncture , air filling etc. Saving from those or sometimes faking a puncture would arrange for the pani puri.

Till 2 years back I met him and tasted his pani puris. We knew the place where he used to place his gaadi in the evening after school. Whenever we went back from our college we used to visit him and he would also recognize our faces with his old eyes. And still served with the same dedication.

I am sure all the Notre Dame Students from Patna would remember him. Sometimes people who might not be anything to us might be something and we might have lots of memories around them. I know you will not read this but we really enjoyed your pani puri :). Your memories dominates a great part of our school life. And now I realize that whenever I have gone with any of my friends to have pani puri at other places I have always mentioned about you telling I have never  tasted the ones by you and the speed with which you served.

Back to the Present…

Oh that was only the first pani puri that I gulped. It got digested too and now the time for the second piece. Another customer standing there says “Sir mere ko akele alag se khilao. Mazaa nahi aa raha hai. Wo jaldi jaldi khilao to mazaa aata hai.” (Sir please serve me separately. I am not able to enjoy. If you serve fast then it is fun). I give him a smile and walk away.

Just a post remembering someone. 🙂

Written by Priyanka Varma

October 10, 2011 at 6:25 pm