A few months ago, resting on a jhula seat, I was enjoying homemade Tikki puris. That jhula is no more a jhula. Our house owner objected to anykind of punctures on the walls for the jhula-chains, so it’s just a seat now. However, it holds a very special place in my heart, for whenever I look at it, 100 memories swing. Some other day on that, let's get back to the Tikki puris.
Chaats take a special mention on my foodie blog. At home, as kids, while amma ensured we enjoyed tasty food by cooking sweets, savories and taking us for street foods, we were also introduced to bland healthy food at an early age, due to pappa's BP. Pom-pom cycle’s jaggery ice-candies, Long glass gadbad icecreams, 2 Rs Bajal, corner shop bonda-bajjis, Movies followed by mantap icecreams, Next to Hanuman temple masala dosas, Capsicum bajji chaat, Diwali kajaayas, Summer holidays chaklis, Granny's pingani jar mango pickles, Function foods, Temple foods, and an endless list of food memories gifted by my parents, is a lifetime treasure.
Amma being a yoga teacher, had other things like oil-pulling, jeera juice, ash-gourd juice, early dinner introduced to us. Though I did not realize the importance of those then, it was an on-off part of my life. So taste and health both were injected into me as a kid. There were times when taste dominated health, today, mostly health dominates the taste. But then I must admit since I have been a foodie at heart as a kid, I now know and understand certain aspects of it to make necessary replacements and turn my plate into a healthy yet tasty serving. Food has evolved slowly within me.
I have tried different foods, indulged in crazy diets, watched innumerable cooking shows, read non-sense to full-sense stuff related to health and food, been to a gym, learned yoga from amma, tried trekking, played sports. All these have helped me learn about myself. It has helped me know what works for me and what does not. Now, if you ask me, food and health which are 2 faces of a coin, is another thing in life where one size fits all never works. Thanks to my life in IT, I have had chances to eat in 5 stars, 7 stars, and some top names in the industry. For me, even today, taste dwells in small places and street foods. I enjoy it. I do take my kids out for street foods now and then. However, the mind does keep a count of calories now. Chaats are always on my street food list. Though I enjoy all kinds of chaats, I usually stick to the bhelpuri for calorie reasons.
With Covid-19, our usual weekend street food visit got a hit. Bhel puris, Tikki puris, Nachos chat were still enjoyed but homemade. One such day, I made some Tikki puris for kids. I took some on a plate to enjoy in solitude. I was trying to doodle something as I snacked on to puris in-between. At a point, my elder dropped in and sat next to me. She picked some puris as she observed me doodle. She slowly questioned "You enjoy it. Don't you?" Continuing with my doodle I responded with a yes-nod. She then said, "Amma, I am not sure what I want?" I casually replied "You wanted Tikki puris and that's why you are having them. Isn't it?" With a stretched tone she said "Noooooo amma. Not that. I am not sure if I want to do archaeology, or take up some sports, or try drawing." I dropped my pencil and book, turned to her, and said "I am happy, you are thinking in that lines. It's ok to be not sure. You see, I was not sure what I wanted of life until 35. I did not have clarity. You are still 13 and thinking in that regard, which means you are just ahead. Don't worry about the non-clarity. Just observe yourself. Understand what you enjoy. Sometimes you might feel you are enjoying something because of the attention you get. Understand whether you enjoy something because of the attention you get or you enjoy it even when you have zero attention from others. That will give you clarity. If you start to learn about your interest now, I am sure you will be able to precisely say what you want when you are in 10th class or so." Things were slowly sinking into her. While I stopped my chat and continued with my chaat, she left me after a hug.