Saturday, June 20, 2015


It is a food joint in Mumbai. It is very famous as we get delicious gol gappas there. In native language, we call them Paanee Poories. I do not personally like this Panee Poorie, as I am afraid, being pot bellied and with shaking hands, the water spills on my shirt and spoils my one hour effort to get ready. Panne Poories are  small round Poories filled with some Masala in that and a man dips it in a pot of water in a mud pot or metal pot and supplies in a small disposable bowl. We have to dreat (drink and eat simultaneously) it and throw the cup wherever we like.. One day, my son led me there to show their real taste so that I may, in future, might not dislike them. We did not find a place for parking the car as the place was a chock-o-block with all types of cars and rich well dressed men and women. There was a queue. Fat, well dressed, sweet smelling (from the deodorants) men and women were anxiously waiting for their turn to savor the taste of the gol gappas.

While waiting, they should spend time. So, some one started a Talk Show on the ill effects of Maggie. My eyes turned round for some escape, as I did not like talk shows, prima facie. Yond, an yard away, a dust bin was placed, where flies were having a field day and a doggy was savoring an empty Maggie packet. One of the panelists saw the doggy eating the Maggie. She shouted, " See! How unhealthy it is? She is eating the empty packet without knowing the ill effects of the lead content in Maggie.We do not know where it was packed. We do not know whether it was tested in the laboratory for other ingredients harmful to health. Poor doggy.!
"She does not know how to read what is written on the packet. Poor doggy" suggested a fat lady.

" But that does not make her an irresponsible pet".

" She is not a pet but a street dog that lives in slums not in palatial bungalows" I joined. she threw an angry look at me.

In the mean time, an argument ensued between a gol gappa-eating client and the supplier.
"It contains more tamarind juice. It is juicy" she shouted.

 " No, Madam! It is tasty. Till now I supplied to a thousand customers. No one complained".

"No" she persisted.

So, to prove his point he dipped his fingers in the pot and asked a fat, pot bellied man to lick and taste. He did so and said it was fine. He was waiting for his turn. "How can I rely on him?" she shouted. So the supplier dipped his unwashed fingers again and licked them. "It is quite fine, Madam! Such beautiful, thin ladies never visit my place and complain". Flattered and more fattened, she ate more and more gol gappas and left the place satisfied.

The topic in the talk show again shifted to the ill effects of eating the junk food without reading what is written on the packet and not getting tested in a laboratory. "Corruption" suggested one fat lady, with diabetes who was not able to talk more. Her husband, standing behind, moved uncomfortably. He obviously worked with Income Tax Department. "Yes" said one local Congress leader's wife. All looked at her suspiciously. On the sideline a man, smiling his way into the panel discussion was standing, enjoying the show. Someone in the crowd saw him and shouted ,"Haarnob" and one by one they gave way to him to savor the gol gappas alias paanee poories, so that he could be on time to reach his studio to conduct the talk show on ill effects of Maggie. The doggy too greeted him with a loud bark. He ate enough of the gol gappas and energized to shout his way, he shouted "Renuka, Asutosh, Sanjay, Amartya" be on time, at which they all felt flattered and others gave way to them to finish their quota and reach the studios.

The doggy nodded her head in satisfaction on relishing the remnants in the Maggie packet, bid good bye to the flies and left on her way towards the studio barking all the way, announcing the start of the talk show soon. We too finished our quota, not before, my entire shirt was filled with the tangy tamarind water.

As we came home and put on TV, the talk show was in full swing with shouts and counter shouts and finally the host Haarnob adjudicating, that in fact, Maggie was injurious to health and all the panelists nodded in satisfaction as they now could eat more Maggie as they smoked more after the statutory warning "Cigarettes are injurious to health"

Back home, Haarnob asked his wife, " Did you enjoy my show?". She was feeding Maggie 2- minute noodles to children. He too tasted them and said, "Where did you get them?" " I hoarded a few packets" she replied. He again asked her whether she liked the show. She nodded in affirmation.

" I am full. I ate gol gappas in the Patel shop" he said lying down. "Where does he make the tamarind water?" she asked.

 " I don't know"

How does he make the Poories? Do you know unclean, untidy boys press the dough with their feet to make it softer?"

" I do not know?"

"Do you know they recycle the oil for months and fry Poories in the same oil in a vessel cleaned once a month?"

 "I do not know"

"Do you know there are small insects in the Chana they use and the masala they use is stale and unfit for human consumption?"

" I do not know"

He was vexed. " I have a talk show tomorrow on why we ill treat street dogs, who have a fundamental right to eat what they like and live. Leave me alone." he shouted.

"I heard he licks his fingers now and then to clean them instead of using a clean cloth. Did you observe?"

"Yes! That only adds to the taste" they say , he said and slipped into his thoughts about the doggy and its rights.