• Capt SN Ahmed

you are no heroine, you are a STAR

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

44 degrees.

Endless roads.

Non stop sweating.

Air conditioned car was hardly effective. The car body was emitting heat inside and it was a strange mix of hot & cold nauseating air.

I needed a fresh breath of air and asked the driver to stop somewhere for a cup of tea. It was the outskirts of Vijayanagram where he stopped the car on a side and i got down. Heat was intact but the evening breeze was full of freshness compared to the claustrophobic car.

I walked towards the tea stall and was overwhelmed to see the varieties of pakodas, displayed in true desi style.

rustic road side Pakoda shop. a true #STREAT star

Totally in open. Exposed to dirt, flies and naked hands. My childhood was still surviving in these interiors of our country. I was really happy.

While the packaged water bottles and hand-sanitizers have protected us from germs & infections I strongly feel that they have also decreased the immune systems of we (urban) Indians. This desi style of food habits have kept us strong against many common ailments for years. Not that I am advocating that we should not take precautions but then for me it was sheer nostalgia.

The streets of my village was live in front of my eyes. Garam garam pyaaz ke pakode, aaloo pakode..., they were the main attractions for a walk in the evenings during my summer holidays. I used to tag along with uncles or senior cousins whenever they went for any work towards the village market.

These small road side chai-wallas were the Cafe Coffee Days of my childhood. Just go, grab a cup of tea and you can spend hours there. Most of the villagers knew each other and that chai-walla was a common point for many. Sit there for half an hour and in general you will know about half of the village's problems or gossip. No mobiles, no phones yet you are aware of everything.

While others used to enjoy their talks, my focus was on the process of making chaay & pakodas. What an expert he was. On one hand he used to serve tea and on the other hand he used to fry pakodas. In the meanwhile he was also attending to customers and actively participating in the discussions. WOW.

And today I found this old Tribal woman, attending the roadside pakoda shop. Elegant in her traditional dressing, simmered in the harsh Sun, history of pains reflecting in the wrinkles yet a bright smile full of courage and confidence.

For me she was the epitome of women liberation. An ideal example of self dependency of women in India. A perfect case study for those who says women should only manage homes.

This lady was braving all the odds. Handling all kinds of customers including truck drivers and yet managing her son, who seemed to be special.

The star I met on the #STREET side shop

Salutes to her.

She is a slap on all the men who say that women are not safe in work environments. She is a wake up call for all women who think that they are helpless.

I requested for a picture and she blushed like any other woman. I could see her happiness in her smile and sparkle in the eyes. My driver said, "she is telling why my picture, I am no heroine" and I asked him to tell her, "Yes you are no heroine, you are a STAR".

With another STAR on the other side, C ya soon

Capt Ahmed



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