Street with good food and music!!!
Aage bhi jaane na toooo, peechhe bhi jaane na tooooo....
...I bet after reading the above line you must already be humming that famous song from the movie 'Waqt' sung by Asha Bhonsle. An immortal song.
Well even I couldn't resist when I heard the song on the streets of Hyderabad. In the busy traffic noise and hustle bustle, this nostalgic song gave me a breath of fresh air. Unintentionally, I started searching for the source.
And I discovered this road side vendor who had the radio (transistor) airing this sweet melody. By the look, he appeared to be somewhere from the UP-Haryana belt.
Tall & stout, he had gamchha (Linen cloth) on his shoulder; he was wearing a red tilak and his lips too were red because of paan (betel leaves).
I noticed he had a small stall of sandwich. Neatly laid out, this 3x2 stall was like a dadi-ma-ka-pitara. In that small space, he had a Sandwich maker, raw items, pre cooked Aloo taost, Bread, spices, sev etc and also his deities, who he had faith in.
While I was observing all this, the song ended on the radio and Shahnaz Akhtari - the anchor of the programme, started talking to us i.e. the listeners.
Looking at me listening to the radio NIrmal asked me, "saab, radio sunte hain lagta hai" (Sir, seems you listen to the radio). I smiled and said, "haan bhaiyya, hum bade hi hue hain, vividh bharti sun sun ke" (I have grown up listening to All India Radio)
NIrmal was preparing bhel-poori for some customer and the fresh aroma of dhaniya-mirchi (corriander & Green Chilly) filled in my nostrils and I could not resist. I ordered for one.
But NIrmal said, "Saab please Aloo toast try karo" I was amused, but he insisted and I just said OK.
Coming from Rajasthan, Nirmal has setup this small stall, couple of years back and is quite well known in and around for his sandwiches / Aloo toast & bhel puri. Offices in and around thrive him during lunch and tea breaks.
He is not educated but he was educating his daughter who is now in class 8th. "Saab, hum nahin padhe koi baat nahin par bitiya pe koi kami nahin hone denge." (I couldn't study but will leave no stone unturned, for my daughter's education). I liked his determination.
Coming from small village where till one generation back, girls were the unwanted children; this thought of him imparting education to his girl child is a huge step. Who ever said India is not shining, pl meet Nirmal. At least the initial shine can be seen.
He continued talking and was also making Aloo toast for me.
Garnished with Sev, onion and chutney, the view was quite tempting and mind you..., first bite and I had become fan of Nirmal.
He had made wise decision by making me opt for Aloo Toast. Amazing combination of spices, garnishing and grill left me with no choice but to keep quite and just enjoy the taste. Nirmal was continuously talking to other customers but I was lost in my Aloo toast.
NIrmal was smiling looking at me as I finished the last piece. He asked me, "Kyon saab, theek tha?" (Was it OK Sir) and I nothing else but a great & satisfied grin on my face.
My taste buds were satisfied and I came back to the world and another melody filled in my ears...
"awara hoon, awaara hoon... "
..and I continued my stroll enjoying the song. You too hum to the tunes of evergreen melodies, I will continuing exploring the streets.
C ya soon
Capt Ahmed www.captionz.biz