Tuesday, August 20, 2013


It's surprising how I've never spoken written about my love for these little wonders. (I speak about them atleast ten times a day. Not kidding.) Moving on..

So, the love affair started back in the era when golgappes, or as my fellow citizens call it, Panipuri, Puchka and what not, were 5-rupaye-ke-6. I was 10 years old, and my mom, the quintessential working lady, used to be back by 6:30 PM everyday. I used to make puppy faces, or throw the stationary excuse and drag her to the local market and use my modus operandi. After shopping for "necessities" I always took the scenic route (read: just by the golgappe waala) back home. The tangy aroma of the imli-ki-chutney always did the trick! My mom, being a street food addict herself would ask me the rhetorical question,
 "Appu, golgappe khaane hai?" 
..and that was the end of the conversation. We used to stand in the queue, take the shiny foil and cardboard katori and indulge! The delicious fragrance (yes!!) of the mint flavoured and heavily spiced water was amrit straight from heaven!  Smiles on our face, that deep content feeling, boy it was irreplaceable. That was perhaps my first brush with the saying 'small things can bring you immense happiness.'

I grew up, I was in high school and I began my never ending tuition classes. Day in and day out, sweating it out at the money guzzling classes, (which stole my cartoon watching time by the way.) and they never really helped my marks either..also, what was with the non a/c classe  Anyway. I think that can wait for later. My love for tuition classes. NOT. All these classes had one thing in common, I had to pass by the golgappe waale bhaiyya to reach them. (Okay, tiny detour.) Gradually, I started asking my mom for five bucks every once in a while. She used to hand me the money and instruct me to eat an icecream and not golgappe. Golgappe should be eaten once in a while. That was her philosophy. Oh well. Since I don't really like to lie, I used to just say "I'll see" and rush off. Every damn time I used to spend those five bucks on eating those delectable round air filled balls. (My mom's American boss used to call them that. Her query was "how do you fill air inside them??" Poor lady!) Perhaps that's why I dont have many ice cream memories from childhood. I just have golgappe memories and I'm not complaining! I'm sure, that I did get attracted because of that amazing smell of fried potatoes (tikki and chaat), but as a rule, I always ended up eating golgappe and used to virtually never eat anything else!

The golgappes gradually became 5-rupaye-ke-5, and I got so mad, it wasn't funny. Little did I know this was just the start. (Hello Inflation!) My mom found out about my "I'll see" part and she stopped giving me my allowance. She used to buy me ice creams and treat me to ocassional golgappes like before. That wasn't really enough for me!! I devised a fool proof plan. I used to ask my Ajji (Kannada for grandmother) for money, right when I came from school, so that my mom never figures out what I was upto. I had a conscience, so I used to ask my dad and Ajji alternatively. I used to creep into the pooja room (prayer room) whilst my mom would be cooking, and ask dad for change. Mind you, I never asked for more than 5 rupees. My greed was limited to that! :D

Golgappes became 5-ke-4 and 5-ke-3 and you can only imagine how I controlled myself from contacting the PM about this grave situation our country was in. I should have. Atleast the inflation would have been controlled at the request of a 15 year old something nothing. The same year my tonsillitis came back with a bang and I was told to steer clear off golgappes or I'd be put under the knife on an operating table. Imagine my agony. It was like a break up. The forced kinds where your parents want you to marry the rich successful guy but you're in love with the poor mason bloke who works part time in the rich guy's house. I agreed, because 'it was for my own good' and for the love of operations and all things shiny and pointy poking at me, I let go of golgappes and ate them just once in four months or so. I finally figured out how to take control of it (for those keeping notes, don't drink a lot of that paani - not good for your throat) and god blessed me with braces this time. It was my mother, really. She thought my overlapping incisors would hamper my prospects as an eligible bride to be. (like my acne wont??) I was told to stay off golgappes, because they break the delicate plates and all those funny metal things installed in my mouth. As you might have probably figured by now, nobody can separate true lovers. I figured a way around that as well. (Just use your molars to break them) and I tell you, my love for the humble snack never ever ceased! It was like an addiction. People do marijuana, weed and charas and I did golgappe. They get high with the smell and the vapours of the drugs, for me, these were my guilty pleasures!

Fast forward to college. CP, Chandni Chowk, Green Park, Amar Colony, UPSC.. The whole city was my oasis. There isn't a place I haven't had golgappes at. Add to it the ocassional chat papri. I loved them more than anything else in this world! Haha. I'd rather eat these street side wonders than slip into a Michelin star restaurant. No kidding. Only the crazy prices used to boggle my mind (I once asked a vendor, Bhaiyya, sone ke hai kya? (Are they made of gold?))
But then, who can resist the delicious smell of boiled potatoes, chickpeas and all that magic potion wafting through the air, calling out to you? I know I cant! 

And, now that I am not in India, if there was one thing that I could really get from India would be the dear golgappe! I swear! I swear as I write this I can feel the air thick with the sweet smell of sonth seeping through the delicate golgappa. It's like my life can be charted with the love of them cuties. I can remember an instance from each year of my life, revolving around golgappes. Spending allowances, birthday treats, oblong golgappes near Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, eying my first crush while stuffing my mouth (no wonder I didn't date anyone?) and now the feeling of longing! If there's anything that can invoke nostalgia, through the ages.. it's these humble streetside magic. 

That's our prep at home! Ready to dive in.

Sometimes we have a dinner of just golgappes. Laboriously prepared with utmost care and affection. It's almost like getting your kid ready for their first birthday party! We spend hour preparing it and down it all out in 15 minutes flat. It's not the same as haggling for the golgappas at the roadside stand..but well, we get to eat as much as we want! ;)

This post is submitted for the Indiblogger AmbiPur Smelly to Smiley! contest.


Jaideep said...

That was simply awesome!
I am simply amazed how one can put together such an amazing article on one piece of food! Bravo! :D
BTW, change of scenery. I like! :)

Apurva said...

Thank you :)

I looove golgappe!!!! Hahahaha.