Golgappas. Panipuri. Puchkas. Call it by any name, this humble streetside snack has its fans who swear by the burst of flavours and textures it offers.
One of the things we dread nowadays is junk food and it’s presence in the diet of our children. But while western junk food like pizzas, pastas , burgers and noodles are all outsiders, there is the desi junk food that is so much more tasty in my opinion, and the Golgappas the king of them all!
Well so here, I introduce the hero of my write-up, the ‘Golgappas’.
Let’s refresh our memories on our very own desi junk, also known as panipuri, and puchkas. Call it anything, but each time I taste it, I just go weak in the knees. I fall in love with it all over again.
With age my love for golgappas has grown by leaps and bounds. Well it’s just progressing with age. Despite all the odds it has still been able to maintain its place in our hearts. Though there were many invasions but it stood the test of time, firmly grounded to its roots.
Despite being considered a lowly street food and the junk foods coming from West mentioned above proudly preening in air-conditioned shops, golgappas have still managed to sustain, and continue to be a major hit amongst the masses, especially the ladies.
Despite being a chartbuster and topping all chaats, oops sorry, I mean charts of popularity, it manages to stay so humble. Easy to access and avail of. It represents India in the true sense, where it stands for all flavours, from sweet to spicy, from tangy to sour – it represents ‘unity in diversity’, available throughout the country, now also exploring foreign lands.
One of the most adjustable snacks, like us the Indians, providing different varieties of its flavour, according to our taste buds.
How can I forget that when an aunt of mine landed in India from the US of A, the first place she went to from the airport was the Golgappa stall on the roadside. Like a monk with a bowl in his hand, she stood in front of the man selling these divine eatables. How ecstatic she was, the moment she gulped down her first piece of heavenly delight.
There were tears of joy – or was it the spice quotient that led to such outpourings, God knows – but yes one thing for sure could be seen, the feeling of fulfilment in her. Though the competition was tough, others who were waiting in line were giving her stiff competition, the moment she missed her chance or momentum, the other competitor would put forward his or her claim to fame of consumption, I mean their plates for their turn and share.
But she did not give up – how firmly she directed the golgappe wala bhaiya for her fair share, as she kept a strict vigil on the numbers consumed!
Watch a golgappa lover eating at a stall. There is one awkward moment, from opening the mouth wide open to greedily gulping after savouring the burst of flavours in a mouth closed to prevent the pani from leaking out, water streaming down the cheeks from the sheer spiciness of it. Well this public display of affection for Golgappas, can only be known to an Indian, when there is no shy moment, and majority of people will vouch for it.
Neither this food is limited by seasons nor by space constraints, and while consuming it, trust me, no one can cheat us, so it also teaches us ‘our value for money’, which no pizza, burgers or pasta would.
Ever wondered, how such a small thing encloses within itself the world full of taste and flavours? A hollow sphere, in which the vendor makes a hole, shoves in the stuffing and then plunges this magical ball into the sea of spiced liquid. The moment the vendor places this world full of spices on to our plates, the feeling of fulfilment just grabs us, our moment of glory, as it just pops into my mouth, an explosion of flavours, the crunchy sound, a world full of taste grabs me. What else do I need, why should I leave this Indian invention, a humble recipe which serves all. Prince to Pauper, anyone can afford it and consume in a humble way, as well. It is not just an appetizer, but also food for the brain and the soul.
There are some lessons to be learnt as well. Knowledge about various flavours. Its taste teaches us about our preferences. It also teaches how to negotiate with the vendor for that extra piece of round crispy ball. Standing and waiting for our turn teaches us to be patient as well as how to be a leveller or equivalent to others or treat others the same way.
At times when other junk food gives us that constipated feeling, Golgappas may also help us to clear our tummies and make us feel much lighter. It is absolutely a miraculous snack, which can never go wrong, an adventure in itself, the orbs of temptation, with each bite I reach the state of trance and I’m not sorry for not giving up upon you my yummy golgappas!
But always remember to have it from a safe and a hygienic place. Rest is all is conspiracy and rumours from the West, to bring down its value.
So just enjoy your plate of golgappaas.
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