All of my senses froze to zero and then burst into a flurry in that second when the pani puri just crumbled in my mouth, I swear I couldn’t help but shut out everything else to savour it in its entirety. One is overwhelmed not just by the assortment of taste, all blending beautifully but also texture! The crispiness of the puri is a perfect foil for all its contents. The tangy water combines all the ingredients and brings out all its flavours; the sweetness of the dates chutney, the spiciness of the green chutney, the crispness of the boondhis and then there is the boiled, mashed potatoes which gives its wholesomeness! Altogether one puri is enough to yank you back to the life you deserve! I swear I was a different person the moment I opened my eyes to take in the next one!
Happiness in that one moment, however fleeting it might be is enough to forget everything else! It opened my mind to the happy faces around me which I would have missed out on if I had continued to be fixated about my work. I just had to write about them all, because it made me laugh, reflect and smile.
I saw a family, a husband, wife and their daughter sitting on a table next to ours. As the gentleman who had gone to get the orders came back with the food he ran into a colleague of his. He introduced the colleague to his family as my wife and daughter. The colleague asked if he had just one daughter, to which the jocular gentleman replied – I have just one daughter and one wife! Another old man who had come with his wife, overhearing this laughingly said – You ought to say only wife!
There was this other old couple – who waited for their turn to get pani puris. I couldn’t help but feel a kind of wistful joy at seeing this old couple who at this age hadn’t lost their zest for life amidst diabetes and arthritis and what not! Both got their respective plates and sat down to eat two tables from me. Both took in a puri and closed their mouths trying to contain the glee and delight they obviously felt. What I couldn’t help notice was both were toothless! But that hadn’t stopped them from stepping out to have some fun in what was left of their lives. Their enjoyment was priceless!
In another table there was this young couple, very much in love. They had eyes and pani puris only for each other. The man took a puri in his hand to feed his beloved. But he overestimated the ability of her tiny mouth to take in a big-sized puri. It crumbled halfway and the contents splotched all over the table and her dress, making both of them laugh, cuddle and other secret onlookers smile indulgently.
In yet another table a father had both two young daughters for a treat. While one daughter ordered a sweet for herself, the other calorie-conscious one chose a lighter dish. The sweet dish arrived first. As the younger one started to attack her sweet with gusto, I could see, the older one’s mouth started to water. As the younger one took a spoon, the older one had her mouth open, much to my complete amusement. The father meanwhile came with the older one’s dish but sensed what was happening. He bought extra spoons and dived into the younger daughter’s sweet dish and offered to the older one. Even then she tried to be brave and shook her head and turned away. The father laughed and said – Enough of this drama, just taste! The older one with a great show of reluctance took one spoon and then ended up taking four more.
I have never been much of a foodie but I do know that it is such an integrating factor. It makes you forget everything else and give you a reason to feel satiated! Solemn truth indeed! I came back from my short break feeling energised, a lingering smile and in a much better mood to attack the piled up work.