Funny, what something as simple as a craving for an ideal snack can do to someone when that craving decides to act up. Most people out there assume such a thing stands on the borders of immaturity. Some others hold that it makes more sense than most. Let’s consider a real-life event where one woman with a passion for food decides distance is no bar to keeping her from enjoying the fruits of culinary creation.
It started one day last year when Mrs. B (let’s just call her that, for now) felt her stomach acting up. It began grumbling like nobody’s business, demanding to be fed. Now Mrs. B’s stomach was no ordinary one. After years spent being a connoisseur of fine cooking, it wanted a change from the norm and Mrs. B caught the instinctual demand for a certain Indian snack by the name of Pani Puri.
Last year saw Mrs. B in Kerala where the ‘call’ kept knocking at the door and, like relatives, didn’t look like it would be leaving any time soon. So, from the city of Payannur she took her bike and revved 50kms to Kannur where the only Pani Puri shop for all these many miles stood. She was accompanied by her husband, Mr. U (let’s just call him that, for now) who, like all romantically bonded men, felt the urges his girl was experiencing and Pani Puri was the name of the race for him too.
Along the way, Mr. U and Mrs. B didn’t realize they were giving determination a face-lift and their enemies, cause for concern. After all, if the two of them could go the distance—50kms of distance—to grab some Pani Puri, what lengths wouldn’t they go to if their enemies decided to get on their bad side? This was one power-couple you don’t mess with, or so went the word on the street.
On arriving, they spotted it. There she stood, the dingy shop from where sourced palate-perfected Pani Puri. They had to do something before their drooling attracted attention and so Mr. U and Mrs. B ordered Basket Chaat, Sev Puri and, of course, you know what else. The evening couldn’t have been more enjoyable, the long ride couldn’t have felt more worthwhile and, on the return journey home, they looked like a cat and a pup that had just finished a satisfying meal.
Not only did such a ‘determined drive’ come calling again, when they used a car to carry out the deed, they didn’t look like they were ready to give it up in the near future. Recent events record them moving to Pune, their hometown. Nearly a few months had passed when the eve of Valentine’s Day, in the year 2013, approached.
Whether it was a simple need to indulge in the Indian snack or a form of celebrating the fact that the Mayans were wrong, they embarked from their new home with a very familiar intention. Employing a nice new shiny Wego (the moped), Mr. U and Mrs. B repeated history by going from point 1, Khadakwasla, to point 2, Bavdhan to a joint named Tasty Tongues. Yes, in case you didn’t guess it already, it was the call of the Pani Puri and the race was on all over again.
As though the land itself knew of their passion for the snack, the distance they traveled to get to the nearest shop that served it was a mere 15kms.—a marked reduction from the 50km. record they’d set down South.
Along the way, Mr. U and Mrs. B didn’t realize three things. They’d given determination a more expensive face-lift, had their enemies running helter-skelter, and crafted a new math equation. The equation states that the amount of Chaat items needed to satisfy this power-couple is inversely proportional to the distance they traveled to get it.
In Kerala, it was 50kms after which Basket Chaat, Sev Puri and Pani Puri were consumed with pleasure. In Pune, it was 15kms after which just Pani Puri was appreciated for all it’s worth.
If, by this time, you’re picturing two of the most obese people in India, you’ve got it wrong. Not only is Chaat and other junk food a rare indulgence in the lives of Mr. U and Mrs. B, the wife in this power-couple cooks like a goddess and the husband is one of the most appreciate, hard-working men around. In his free time, he plays squash which helps keep him fit while she engages in aerobics, yoga and zumba that help keep her in shape.
Aside from the heavenly happiness they feel when they bite into that hard-earned Pani Puri, the two of them make amazing friends, kind people and an even better couple. They’re none other than Umesh and Bhakti, the latter person being the co-author of this blog. And I’m happy to call them both my dear friends.
So, is the race to the Pani Puri finish line over already? Is it done for? Will we ever see the likes of it again? Well, that all depends… Let me ask them when they return from their most recent adventure. I hear this one’s a doozy.