Time and again, I have reiterated the fact that I share a bond with Mumbai that cannot be expressed in words. It is here that I hav found many a treasures, both gastronomic and non gastronomic in nature. There is one such place in Mumbai which has never failed to surprise me. Juhu Chowpatty.... this is the local name for the beach panorama that goes on at JUHU.
A whole entourage of things to do, balloons, horse and camel rides, henna, candy floss, and junk food lovers' paradise. I normally like to talk delicacies, textures, presentations, aromas... but we tend to forget the most important element, FUN... When it comes to fun no body does it better than The Mumbaikar. As a city Mumbai has a lot of hardships, every day is but an excuse for existence, the city is always just trying to survive. Cutthroat competition, sky high prices, and a city that moves even faster than life. An exact opposite of this is seen at mumbai's own Chowpatty, where ppl shed all their worries, their sorrows, and their hectic lives, and just enjoy being human.
A strange experience I hav to share today, must hav gone to Chowpatty after 3 yrs, (in the evening) and I go to buy a bhutta (corn on the cob) and the bhutta walla recognizes me (not because of my gigantic wait size). He asks me if I would like to take 2 like always. I was blown away and had a random conversation with him which lasted 20 minutes. Mumbai always gives me mixed feelings, there are times that I get frustrated thinking how life is just a mere rat race here, and others when people like a random junk food vendor can simply bring a smile to your face with so much warmth.
Next i had a photo session with a Chooran Wala ( man who sells sour things). The man offered me a sampling of all his goodies and I being my cheap self was elated at the offer.sour tamarind, raw mangoes. assortment of salted and spiced berries, chutneys, goose berries.. each with a taste bud tickling capacity that is beyond compare. It seemed as if I was in a time wrap, and transported to my school gate and re lived my childhood. "Sour " has always been my sole weakness in taste, stealing tamarind from my mother's kitchen and giving too hoots about tonsillitis. Childhood seems like a distant array of rainbow colors, which seem really difficult to forget. Like the little colorful wind mills and figurines made out of balloons, all seem like a yearning and beacon time to take an about turn.
I wonder why I am so enticed by the Barf Ka Gola ( flavoured ice lollies) i know for a fact that the water used to make the ice is not of good quality, intense dosage of artificial colors and flavors, but the fragment of me craving to get into the celebration called life forces me very time and i hav the famous Kaala Khatta ....(black and sour) This is the most popular of them all... one has a wide range of poisons to chose from, like someone trapped every emotion in bottles and each provoking you and calling you to set them free....
Besides all these many a vendor will summon u to their stall promising u the best quality. Taking their word, every stall is world class, trust ur instinct, the stall that is the maximum crowd is the best one.... be patient, u will be served... As they say Patience is a virtue.... From the Paani Puri,(water filled crisps) to the sev puri..... ragda pattice (curried dried peas topped on potato patty), kairi chaat ( spiced raw mangoes) and the all in in , butter loaded, super tasty, Mumbai original , PAW BHAJI. (Bun and vegetable ). Chaos is mumbai signature sign of quality. If the food is good, its the survival of the fittest in the queue.