TOPICS: A pani-puri crush

To start with, I would like to end the need of some of my foreign friends to google the definition of pani puri. It is also called golgappa, a spicy street snack popular in several regions of South Asia.

She first cropped up into my spectacle in the evening when the bus was overcrowded and I was perched with difficulty on its rooftop, with my hands turned back holding the rusted–metal railings; buttock on the sheer sharpness of one of them.

It’s ironic that most of my stories has been framed on the bus that has to be overcrowded, many people come across your field of vision and one of them happens to be your favorite face.

Yes it must be a major station; the bus would be stopping quite long. Not long enough to have some snacks though. She was blithe and unmindful of the world around her.

Yards afar from the bus, she was looking at the pots of grams and peas and chillies and lemonades and bhujia and finally the jug where all these things are jiggled and spiced up with a bamboo stick by a snotty street vendor.

Ah! That giggle. The group of girls, she included, titter, the sound of which amplifies as their recipe is on the verge of being served. Looking down from the balcony I could sense her itch to have all the sour and juicy pani puri.

How can a person be so nonchalant? How can a girl be so cute and alluring? All those chirpy girls faced westwards thumped down their feet as they looked in desperation at the contents of the mug being waggled.

The clumping gave a pleasant melody to a connoisseur of beauty.

The girls blissfully gave a big sigh of victory as the hawker poured down the chana chatpat on a paper sheet. He handed them four different cardboard-cut spoons.

And then started a spectacular cut-throat game of shoveling and gulping what was the mixture of grams, peas and suchlike. Moments afterwards their eyes met as if to communicate the unfulfilled hunger shared by all.

The girl in context whips her open hands up and down, then down and up  with her tongue protruded out  hissing and wheezing. Sometimes chilies have such effects.

They were slurping the flavor of pani puri in a row, oblivious of the surroundings, our vehicle blared and ejected thick exhaust. The girl took a glimpse at the bus, pani puri stirring in her mouth, and then its roof, when suddenly our eyes crossed.

The vehicle was on the move, she gave that careless look on her part, but which came to me as a transcendental arrow.