• Capt SN Ahmed

Agra Wala Chaat!!

It seems the streets will ensure that my waistline increases when ever I step out.

I was walking down the Parklane and this tempting little joint (which I always used to avoid) was smiling at me with open arms. The corner which was mostly all the time crowded was dead silent.

Scorching heat must would have been the reason. Yes, 39 degrees temperature is certainly not favourable enough to savour 'chaat'.

But somehow the aroma of the aloo-tikki got into my head and I just walked towards the makeshift shop.

Bharat -the guy attending, immediately handed over a bowl and asked "meetha ki teekha" (sweet or sour). I didn't understand and before I could ask something he put some chopped onion in my bowl saying "pyaaz ke saath khao, taste bhi aayega aur garmi bhi marega" (eat with onion for better taste and to beat the heat)

He started making golgappa or phuchka or pani puri..., known by so many names this wonderful street dish tastes best at streets only.

He made the pani puri so fast that even I started eating without saying that I was actually there for the 'aloo-tikki'. The extra calorie guilt too was a factor to settle with the gol gappas instead of aloo-tikki.

Mind you, these phuchkas were

awesome. Right blend of sweet n sour and crispness makes your taste buds exercise enough. After eating 5, I stopped him and he started laughing, "Sir bees bees to ladkiyan kha jaati hain" (girls eat around 20 and why are you stopping at 5 only) He recollected some girl who comes regularly and has 10 plates at least (means 70 or 80 Phuchkas) at a time. God. She is some Golgappa freak.

While I took a break, I discovered that he is selling these chaat items for past 22 years in the same location. He works there and his seth (owner) Swamy drops in sometimes.

This single outlet usually makes around 8 to 10 k per day.

They start the day by 10 or so and end up by 10 or 11 depending on the crowd. Then they go back home and prepare stocks for the next day. Everything is served fresh only. They knead fresh dough to make samosa or papdi. They boil fresh potatoes, chop fresh onions etc..., every single day.

What made Bharat stuck to this small outlet for 20 years and more? The reason was what most corporates can learn from. He says, "we are never treated like servants or workers. When we go to the owner's house, every worker eats food and the owner's family serves them personally. After they finish eating then only Seth and his family eat."

Such a simple gesture of expressing respect, love & faith towards team members..., has this team of lesser paid expert chaat makers & salesmen dedicate their lives to this seth, for 20 years.

As for the worldly needs, they are looked after at the time of needs and not ridiculed. This strengthens the bond further.

While I was bowled over by the taste of paani puris, this simple dose of management wooed me.

I wanted to leave but that aloo tikki was simmering on the tawa and I couldn't resist. The tikki was pushed in the pool of hot oil and my heart sank for the amount of oil intake I will have. But honestly while eating I found that only the top layer was oily yet crunchy. Inside it was filled with a mixture of paneer, Gajar,& pudina. Topped with the meethi chatni made out of dates, this was one of the tastiest aloo-tikki I ever had.

Well, I will be soon going there again for a paapdi chaat and you too can pamper yourself sometimes at this agra wala chaat near Parklane.

Burp. I must take a walk now.

C ya soon.

Capt Ahmed www.captionz.biz

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