via Daily Prompt: Willy-nilly
Lets raise a toast, a cup, to celebrate a medley of colours, flavours, and emotions with our favourite matki of joy! I’m talking about paani-puri, a crisp ball full of memories, sometimes experiences, spices, and a love that is beyond borders. No matter which country you are from, or which rung of social ladder you are on, willy nilly you gotta luuvvv Paani Puri!
Just visit any Street Car(t) of Desire, and Lo n Behold, there it is! Ssssh: The secret password to access is, “Bhaiya! Zara ek plate lagana!” Translation is impossible, its significance is depleted in any other language. But you see the machinery of the human hand work from the second that last syllable left your lips. Watch the eye-hand rhythm, no less than poetry in motion, and ‘Bhaiya’ is on the job, serving it up, before you figured out what just happened. He dips the holey, also holy for some, crunchy ball in the zesty minty pool of joy and then the gift is given to you.
You hold it reverently, balancing hope along its cracked fragility, and move the head slowly towards your hand as you also bring the hand to mouth, deft n urgently, its in. Whew!
Arent you glad there’s no mirror around you? Theres a reason they dont put one. The truth of life is that it is an internal experience for you, free of the external surround sound. You smile anyway and enjoy the joy of good things. Suddenly your eyes close, and you disappear in an illusion of an explosion that shook your world of senses. Its a Hold-up! You freeze with a warm tingling inside.
He looks at you just for a split second and knows you want more, because your hand reached out before your eyes opened and mouth recovered from the first experience. Your taste buds and brain work in sync to stop the tongue from wagging words. It is custom spiked with spicy intent!
Bhaiya nods to you while he serves up five others before you. You get the nod and dont laugh because its a secret understanding between siblings. Yes, remember, “All Indians are my brothers and sisters …” It is the singular integrative force that binds Indians together. It IS in The Masala that makes Bollywood films and Desi Boys and Girls click all over the world. You take away Pani-Puri, and you’ve ruined the South Asians forever. But then, where will you go to renew your zest in life? I tell you, it is IN The Paani-Puri. The pursuit of happiness ends right here.
No other place has people drooling in respect as they wait in line! A familial bond is established without Rakhi ties and mighty expectations. A faith in humanity restored as the next paani-puri comes along and you choose to relive that experience again. Compliment now: “Badhiya hai!” Wonderful words make Chaat happen.
The Standard Operating Procedure at home or in a restaurant is to break-in yourself; efficient tap with your thumb, quickly put a few chana, aka chick-peas, mush potato, raw red onion shreds, dash of sevian, and glitter of green dhania, aka, cilantro. Dip the whole ball in the bowl of tangy drink made with mint leaves and zesty spices will work their magic, that are sprinkled in, delicately to delight!
Don’t think. Just POP it in! You better believe it, one chomps down on the ‘whole’ thing together. Compete with friends and family on Speed and Accuracy of this amazing phenomenon, nom nom!
And yes, please know its okay to crrrunch down on it, otherwise its not paani puri, it’ll just be a soggy bummer, leading to a de-spritualising experience causing monetary devaluation.
I serve this chaaty presentation on this special day for Indians, Indians at heart, or even those who love Indian history because it was common until exactically Sevendy years ago! This paani-puri mania is a pre-requisite to get your South Asian Citizenship. Please check with the government website, SACsy.com if things have changed since I last dreamed it up.
(I have no idea why that turned blue😂).
Statutory Warning: Yes, the reference to Street Car named Desire is meaningful because over-indulgence can end in a minor tragedy.
Did you notice the colours in the pictures of Chaat and Paani Puri? Every good recipe has the colours green, white, saffron, and the ever nurturing golden earth. Thanks for your visit. Good chaat-ting it up with you!
My turn, “Bhaiya, zara ek plate lagana.”
Picture credits: google search of words paani puri