It was an awesome autumn evening. Everything was looking just so perfect for a romantic evening walk. We were discussing about our future. How our life should go? Where we will buy our first house, our first car, and what not. I was looking down, all ears to her. This was perhaps the first time I found her talking sense.
But my illusion shattered the very next second. She penetrated the air filled with romance with an outloud holler. “Hey, Stop”, she yelled. I raised my head in anxiety just to see if a weird mechanic goliath from Transformers had appeared all of a sudden. I looked around but couldn’t see anyone. Then I followed the direction in which she was waving her hand while shouting “Stop, Stop…”.
Yes, that was it. How could I miss that. It was that Panipuri van again. We were in the mid of something very important when those larger than life Panipuris came into the picture. We rushed to the van. The Panipuri seller humbly said, “Madam, I’m short of minced potatoes for stuffing. Will take five mins to do that.” “Do it fast”, she said.
While the guy was mincing potatoes, I passed a look at her, and she responded with a casual careless gaze. Her look was as if we have been talking about Panipuris only, as if the whole world only cared about whether she would get those Panipuris today or not. I battled her ignorance with a look that can be compared to a cute helpless pup. But that didn’t work out either.
She just kept nagging the Panipuri guy to make it fast. And bam, then came the moment when she got her first Panipuri. I felt like all my emotions had been drifted away in that tangy water. I felt abandoned for that very moment.
Anyways, I’m not the only guy who had gone through such an oblivious experience. It’s a popular street food snack in South Asia, and has many names including “Puchka”, “Golgappe”, “Gup Chup”, “Bataasha”, etc. It consists of a round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of flavored water (“pani”), tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas. It is generally small enough to fit completely into one’s mouth.
Next time you visit South Asia, don’t forget to ask about it. Although the name might vary as per the region, but there are chances that you’d see the streets flanked by vans selling this special street food. Only when your teeth sink in through the crispy skin of this dish, and the tart splash inundates your mouth, you’d understand that the title – “Panipuri and Indian Women – The Eternal Bond Stronger Than Love” isn’t a hype.