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A volcano of flavors!
The sweet tamarind water, the mint, the coriander, the perfect blend of spices and amidst that the chickpeas floating, and my tongue mercilessly rolling them and tossing them and hurrying them to my molars...
I was in heaven!
Yes it was the yummiest PANI PURI!
Puchka, gol gappe, gup chup, phulki :) :)
And all at once I heard a sound, "Kitna kama lete ho ek din mein"? (How much do you earn in a day?)
"Kya na saheb, bus ho jata hai...teekha lenge ya meetha?" (Saheb we are just managing, tart or sweet?)
I looked at the saheb. A handsome man in his mid 40's and probably working in some reputed firm. The expensive Rolex watch gave me the impression!
We exchanged smiles and I left.
My husband's colleague had come over for dinner that night. And as I was setting the table I over heard Sanjay (my husband's colleague) saying, "A flat in Mumbai, two shops in Pune and is thinking of sending his son abroad for higher studies."
"Who?", I curiously asked.
You know that chaat wala who has his cart set right outside our apartment building!!!
My jaw dropped. I had to literally pick it up and set it right after a few seconds of silence.
To this my husband added,"Yeah, he is perhaps doing better than us".
He then took out his mobile and read to us the interesting statistics about a samosa wala, how much he earns per day and went gaga over his assets.
To which Sanjay remorsefully added, "And his kids will have this established shop to run in future".
I could see the envy in both these guys eyes!!!
"Okay, dinner is ready", I clapped.
The hot topic at the table was - "Chaat walas and their earnings". And how the big and small eateries are the only blooming businesses.
"One fine day I will resign and open a chola bhatura shop. I will hire the best cooks from Punjab. To which my husband added, "We will have this irresistible ambiance and folk dance and lassi and......",
I smiled as I thought, "Good for me. Less cooking" ;)
And I was just trying to imagine the discussion going on at the chaat - wala's house.
I am sure it must be something like this - "Ye office wale log kitne mast hai. Kitna kamaate hain. Bachhe achhe school mein padhte hain." ("These office going people are so cool. They earn a lot. Their children study in good schools.")
Why else do you think this guy is planning to send his son abroad for higher studies? Why is he not training him from childhood itself how to make that perfect blend of spices and that mouth watering tamarind water?
And while hogging on dal makhani and kadhai paneer that night, I realized that maybe it's not the comparison between a chaat wala and somebody working in a reputed firm.
I guess everybody at some point or the other becomes tired of his or her usual monotonous routine; be it going to office, or setting up the lemonade stand everyday....
And everybody feels that the grass is greener on the other side!!
An office going guy often wishes to start his own "something", whereas the lemonade guy envies the office going ones, thinking how easy it must be to sit in an AC office punching keys on the keyboard!
(The reference of lemonade stand comes, because at one point I secretly desired to set up one ;) Yup, right outside my son's skating class :))
Profitable! Don't you think so ;)
I was totally lost in my deep thoughts, when suddenly the mobile rang. It was from my husband's office.
Some urgent client meeting had been arranged because of some project escalation. It was 11 pm already. Sanjay left and while closing the door, my husband angrily exclaimed "Aren't these pani puri walas leading a better life than ours?".
And while my husband was busy taking the office call, I browsed through the stories of many successful pani puri walas and my fingers without my permission punched in "How to start a pani puri business" in our beloved search engine Google ;) ;) ;)
Clicking here and there, I came across this beautiful song, and smiled as I compared this happy gol gappe wala to my over exhausted husband still busy with client call! ;)