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

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 ❤

Children’s Day India

Hi 🙂

It’s 14th of November, 40 days to go for Christmas and 47 days to New Year but here we are celebrating children’s day in India. It’s a day to honor children. Universal Children’s Day takes place annually on November 20. June 1st is also celebrated as Children’s day in many parts of the world.

Childhood memories are sweetest of all. They can be savored for a lifetime. Children’s day celebration is fun for the little ones but it is important for the parents too. Every parent must understand the importance of the children’s day. Parents should be well aware about the little desires of their angels.

During my school days, November month was very exciting because Children’s day was celebrated in every school of India. Children’s who had performed well in there last year grades used to get prizes from the School Teacher. I was never the one getting those awards or prizes 😀 I remember many events used to happen that day and the assembly time was increased . In the end, children’s used to get sweets and chocolates. It used to be a very exciting day. 🙂

The guys who are currently in school needs to enjoy every moment of it. I know you hate school very much but honestly you gonna miss these days when you go to your university. These are the days you should make memories of, rejoice every moment of it with your best friends. Respect your teachers because they are making a sea of students ready for there future.

So, go out and celebrate, enjoy and remember your school days.

After all Children are like precious gems.. 🙂

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. 🙂

Summer 2014

If the summer of 2014 felt unusually warm to you, you were right – at least on a global level. LA Times made it official that Summer 2014 was hottest on record. It was not so in India, surely in the northern part. The Summer has passed very quickly and so do September, I feel like its been just 3 minutes when September started but it is almost over.

Summer is explained very well by by saying it as, summer .. when.. hair gets lighter, skin gets darker, water gets warmer, drinks get colder,music gets louder, nights get longer, life gets better.

For me the end of summer is less depressing because I have no more money to enjoy summer 😀 . I read this line.. ‘Life is like a flower you have to enjoy its beauty before summer ends’. I read this line when summer was about to start this year.

Leaving you with one of the song from the Band Green Day.

 

Hope you had a wonderful summer and you’re ready to have a blast in the upcoming winter.. 🙂

India @68

“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”      –    Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister

India

 

August 15, India completes 67 years of Independence.

A claimant to the permanent membership of United Nations Security Council, India has remained steadfast to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Once perceived as a land of snake charmers and jewel encrusted maharajas, it is now the software capital of the world, the top Asian destination for investment and as OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) put it recently “India has probably recently surpassed Japan to be the third largest global economy.”

Its not about the number of years but its about how much we are developing each day.

Viva La India 🙂

A delicate thread of love – Raksha Bandhan

India is known to the world for its spirituality. Nature is revered and worshiped in all forms—trees, rivers, animals, grain even tools are all worshiped.

So, why the bond between us humans be left behind. Raksha Bandhan is one such a festival where the bond between a brother and sister is celebrated.

Sisters apply tilak on the foreheads of their brothers as they vow to take care and protect their sisters. A sacred thread is tied on the wrist. A time immemorial ritual and bond is re-ignited.

The festival is celebrated every year on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan (August).

Deepak

On the day of rakhi, the pooja ki thali is decorated with a deepak, the sacred rice grains mixed with turmeric and kum kum. With the brother seated in front, the sister both blesses and worships him by circling the holy fir, sprinkling the sacred grains, applying the tilak and then tying the rakhi.

Fire is central to Hindu value system. It symbolizes energy and ever-lasting vigour. The tilak is always applied on the temple, between the eyebrow where the spiritual third eye, the eye of wisdom and knowledge is supposed to be located.

Rakhi

In modern times, rakhi is often tied around the arms of people who actually protect the public today. It is common sight to see women tying rakhi’s on the arms of soldiers.

In recent times the festival is being celebrated by followers of other faith too. Beyond everything, it celebrates the affection between siblings.

There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother..