Pursuit

If you live in India or have ever traveled to India in the second decade of 21st century, you would have found a lot of places having fancy street foods, specially, in the metropolitan cities like, New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

If you exclude the posh areas of New Delhi and NCR(National Capital Region), and then walk on a very normal street/roads which connects welfare housing societies, you are likely to easily spot the following roadside options like, Ice-Cream tricycles, Open roof stalls of Sugarcane Juice, roasted corn and maybe the push-truck(thela) tickiwala(also called, Chaatwala).

An addition to this group is the roadside “Gol-Gappe”(also called PaniPuri). Now, what’s PaniPuri? It consists of a round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of flavored water (known as imli pani), tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion or chickpeas. The complete setup on which Gol-Gappe, Pani and other spices are placed is very easy to carry and move, and also can be quickly placed anywhere and can start selling it back. Now you are thinking, why I am writing about all this stuff? Here’s why.

Every evening when I am traveling back home from work, in the last part of the transit I have to make a 20 minutes walk to get to my apartment. In these 20 minutes, starting from getting down from the auto, finding the Panwari(guy who sells Paan, which is made up of betel leaf with areca nut) and cigarettes(which is sold more than the paan these days), interestingly, his wife also sits during late hours to keep the business up. Some 200 steps ahead, I find the Ice-Cream tricycles from Vadilal, Kwality Walls, Creambell and newly famous Havmor, which is expensive to my pocket. 😛

After 5 minutes, I find a little boy selling Gol-Gappe at the corner of the right turn of the road. I walk towards him, and ask for the rates. He replies, “4 pieces for 10 bucks”. I said, “Can I have it?”, he offers me a dona(which is a paper bowl). The Panipuri tasted amazing!! 😀

Yesterday evening, I left early from work and while getting back home, I met the boy again. He is 3/4 of my height, considering I am not tall, so he looks short. He should be around 10-12 years of age. I asked him, “What’s your name?”. He replies with a smile, “Vansh Gupta”. I asked him if he goes to school, he replies “Yes, I go to school”. With a thought on how he gets time to study, I asked “When you study or do your homework?”, he says “during night, after having dinner”.

I asked him if I can take his picture which I will share on internet with my writing. He shakes his head with a smile. 🙂 I said “Okay, can I take picture of your setup?” And he says “Yes” this time. I also checked with him, “So, where are you from and who else are you in your family?”, to which he replies, “I am Mirzapur(in Uttar Pradesh), and here I have my father and brother who also sell Gol-Gappe, whereas my mother lives in hometown(Mirzapur)”.

He has friends of same age. They also sell Gol-Gappe. One is Rajkumar and another is Komal. I have ate Panipuri from them too. 🙂 Komal is the smart one, like a leader among these boys. I think he likes momos because I have found him eating momos a couple of times. Whereas, Vansh is the good-looking one. But they all are very simple and happy going boys. 🙂

At the age of 12, helping family to earn enough so as to get one time meal is really unbelievably appreciable. Just think about the sacrifices they have been making, like missing their mother, not playing outside in evening so that they help their father and surely not able to spend enough time to learn and study so that in future they don’t need to sell Panipuri.

The least you can offer is a Smile 🙂 to them, do not see them as someone lesser than you and just be good and motivate everyone around you. Life is not easy for everyone.

Tweeting: @thebrokenspecss

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A Indian Snack – Jhaal Muri/Bhel Puri

Welcome to India,

Here we are on the streets of Mumbai in search of a Indian snack, and also a type of Chaat. It’s called Bhelpuri, often identified with the beaches of Juhu in Mumbai.  It is made out of puffed rice, vegetables and a tangy sauce. The recipe has spread to most parts of India where it has been modified to suit local food availability.

The Kolkata Variant of Bhelpuri is called Jhaal Muri. Jhaal Muri (Spicy Puffed Rice) is Bengali cuisine, a dry variant of Bhelpuri and is consumed after garnishing with onions, coriander and lemon juice. I think you are feeling hungry now. 😀

A vendor sells Bhelpuri on the streets of Mumbai.

A vendor sells Bhelpuri on the streets of Mumbai.

Bhelpuri and Jhaal Muri belongs to the food family of chaats, which are salty and spicy snacks sold on carts throughout India. Bhelpuri has a typically Gujarati (Gujarat) balance of sweet, salty, tart and spicy flavors, with different textures as well, including crispy and crunchy from the puffed rice.

Street Food in Kolkata

Bhelpuri can be served in many ways, but it is usually served in a paper folded in the form of a cone and is consumed using a paper spoon or by the ‘papdi’ which is itself an edible component of the ‘Bhelpuri’. ❤

Jhaal Muri served in the paper fold in the form of a cone.

Bhelpuri served in the paper fold in the form of a cone.

Jhaal Muri/Bhelpuri can beat the packet of chips which you take for snacks costing nearly same or even less with vibrant taste.

People in UK can try to find ‘Everybody Love Loves the Jhal Muri Express’ ran by Angus Denoon. Angus is bringing the Kolkata street food to your door step. You can search him on twitter @jhalmuriexpress

Everybody Loves - Jhaal Muri Express by Angus Denoon

Everybody Loves – Jhaal Muri Express by Angus Denoon

Shanti Restaurant in Surrey is another place to visit to have some taste of Indian street food. The restaurant has some fabulous dishes in there menu with different style and taste.

Vikram Vij hospitality shining at Surrey's My Shanti Indian restaurant

Vikram Vij hospitality shining at Surrey’s My Shanti Indian Restaurant

People in United States, especially in NYC can reach out ‘Desi Galli’ in Lexington,NY. Desi Galli has many Indian street foods available under one roof. You can try ‘Kathi Rool’ one of the most yummy food on Indian streets. 🙂

So, plan out for your next weekend with your family and friends to get some taste of Indian street foods nearby you. Hope you Enjoy it 🙂

Namaste ❤

Festival of Lights – Diwali

Happy Diwali.. 🙂

Deepavali.. a Hindu Festival celebrated in autumn every year  with great enthusiasm and happiness in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.

Diwali is celebrated around the world, particularly in countries with significant populations of Hindu, Jain and Sikh origin. It is celebrated in almost all the Asian countries, parts of Arab’s, Australia, New Zealand and  also in some parts of Africa.

Satellite picture of India taken NASA satellite on a Diwali evening.

Satellite picture of India taken NASA satellite on a Diwali evening.

Its celebration include millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings. In India, Diya( Oil Lamp) is decorated. Diya’s are available in nearby and are made up of clay. An Indian potter paints earthenware lamps ahead of Diwali.

A women painting the diya's.

A women painting the Diya’s.

A Diya placed in temples and used to bless worshipers is referred to as an Aarti. Diya’s adorn every corner of the house on this very auspicious day and add fervor to the festive spirit.Moreover, a Diya also symbolizes knowledge.

Diya or Deepak, an oil lamp usually made from clay, with a cotton wick dipped in ghee or vegetable oil.

Diya or Deepak on top of a rangoli, an oil lamp usually made from clay, with a cotton wick dipped in ghee or vegetable oil.

Rangoli, a folk art from India can be seen on every doorstep. Rangoli patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals.

Colored Rice for Rangoli making

Colored Sand for Rangoli making

The purpose of Rangoli is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck. Girls, boys and women’s create Rangoli and other creative patterns on floors, near doors and walkways.

A Rangoli design with diya's on top.

A Rangoli design with diya’s on top.

Decorative materials and statue of Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesha are brought to home.

Decorative Materials and statue of deities.

Decorative Materials and statue of deities.

The statue are decorated by pushp(flowes) and wore cloths. Later in the evening, during the pooja (prayer ritual) performed to host, honor and worship one or more deities.

Marigold flowers sold for decorating house.

Marigold flowers sold for decorating house.

Pooja ki thali is used to do Pooja and Aarti.

A plate decorated with Diya's and Marigold Flowes for Aarti.

Puja ki Thali, a plate decorated with Diya’s and Marigold Flowes.

Statue’s of Lord Ganesha and modern day Diya’s.

Pookja Ki Thali

 

Diwali is one of the happiest of holidays in India, with significant preparations. People clean their homes and decorate them for the festivities. Diwali is one of the biggest shopping seasons in India; people buy new clothes for themselves and their families, gifts, appliances, kitchen utensils, small to big ticket items such as cars and gold jewelry. People also buy gifts for family members and friends which typically includes sweets, dry fruits and seasonal specialties depending on regional harvest and customs.

Special Sweets during Diwali.

Special Sweets during Diwali.

Girls and women go shopping. It is also the period when little kids hear ancient stories, legends, myths and battle between good and evil, light and darkness from their parents and elders.  Youth and grown ups graduate to helping with lighting and preparing for patakhe (fireworks).

Crackers are burn during  Diwali eve.

Crackers are burn during Diwali eve.

Happiness is in the air, it’s Diwali everywhere, let’s show some love and care.

Wish you all a Happy Diwali, Namaste. 🙂

A new Month – September

New Month comes around 12 times a year. What better reminder to tell your friends and family you are thinking about them.

As we enter a new month, we should know that we can have a new beginning. If we feel our time up until this point has been wasted, we should remember that every new day, every new month is a time to start all over again. We can turn over a new leaf every hour if we choose to. And things can change. Things will change. Just stay focused and look up to the person in the mirror once.

Have a great month.. Happy September 🙂

“While there’s a Life, their’s Hope”

Are you tired? Do you feel like you’re loosing yourself? You feel like you’re hanging by a thread and it’s just about to break? You feel as if you’re shouting for help but only you can hear is your heart cry?

There comes many phase in our life where our mind says give up but the heart whispers their’s still a hope. Its Life, pain after happiness , happiness after pain and that’s the way it goes. But many a time it’s very hard to handle the tough phase. How much you try things don’t get fixed, people disappoint you, friends are just too busy to listen to you and you find it very stringent to share your thoughts with you family.

We all know those times in our lives when we start to feel like things aren’t moving. We feel stuck, depressed, anxious, or all of the above. Some of us may go down an even deeper, darker hole, and for others this may feel like a new occurrence. The “Stuckness” may last for an hour, a day, a week, and sometimes it feels like it could go on for a month or more.

Believe me, never give up on anything miracle’s do happen. You just need to keep calm and you’ll rise from nowhere to somewhere you would have never thought when you were in a terrible situation.

Breathe: So often we forget what we are actually doing, we just need to take some deep breaths and have a positive attitude. People who are in deep ocean are thinking to reach the moon.

Have faith: Trust that whenever the universe brings you situations that cause pain and suffering, it’s a way of asking you to pause and take care of yourself. Life teaches us through love and it also teaches us through pain.

Hope: Whatever you do hold on to Hope. Remember, the tiniest thread will twist into unbreakable cord. Let Hope anchors you in the possibility that this is not the end of your story. No matter how bleak things may seem, there is always hope!

Remember that nothing last forever, even the difficult times: You’ll get through this hard time. If you will take care of yourself and remain open to the lessons, you WILL be brought to the next level in your life. There’s meaning and purpose to our circumstances, though we might not know what that is at the time.

It’s not about forcing happiness, it’s about not letting sadness win.