Monday, July 10, 2006
The psychotropic effects of paani-puri
Just the thought of eating a plate of paani-puri makes me salivate like one of Pavlov's dogs. I just have to pass a roadside vendor cracking those puris and I'm under the influence.
There's a sort of magic in the humble dish that you would be wise not to ignore.... you can almost hear the angels singing paeans of glory when, after waiting behind all the like minded hypnotized souls in line ahead of you, you finally get to put a yummy chutney-channa-aloo-filled puri in your mouth and taste a tiny slice of heaven.
Suddenly you get a glimpse into why maybe the Beatles and a lot of the 60s celebrated psychotropic drugs and came up with some of the most path-breaking, inventive music - I definitely feel similarly inspired! Unfortunately, unlike the Beatles, I don't seem to be able to come up with anything close, my creative contribution to the world centres pretty much around a repetitive 'mmmmmmmmmmm' of content/delight/absolute fulfilment.
What I find particularly amazing about this dish though, is that unlike drugs, it's not escapist! In fact, quite the contrary. It's the most real you'd have felt in ages. Standing there, on the road, with assorted people, animals and cars surrounding you, you feel a sort of kinship with everyone and everything in the world. Stuffing your face to keep up with the paani-puri waala while your eyes water, you suddenly realise what really matters in life. The Puri cuts across race, religion, age, sex, educational background : you name it. National integration, I say! That's what this country needs more of!
Not to forget that I'm a firm advocate of it being recommended as an essential dietary supplement for all children. You'd definitely have to build up an immune system a la Attila the Hun to withstand becoming a culture medium for about a 100 strains of bacteria that the Paani probably contains!
And so - at the end of it all, here's my suggestion - make Paani-Puri our National Dish. For a happier, healthier, brighter tomorrow! *sigh* :)
Posted by chimera at 7:34 AM