Friday, May 13, 2011
The 'Paan Wallah' BETEL VENDOR
I was on my way to my Paan Wallah or the Beetal-Vendor (as you might call it in English).Interestingly I could not find my ear-phones, that I have a habit of plugging in my cellphone, whenever I go for a walk. My Cigarette was over, so had to get it desperately from anywhere, would walk all the miles to get one seriously! Could not have survived without it! Well as I walked thinking if there would be the Paan Wallah there at the corner of the road, as I reached near to the road-end, I peeped in before to see If I was lucky enough!yeah & I saw it, so happy I was, as If I saw a mirage in the middle of a desert. As I fondled my pockets to take out some change & sort out the big notes that I had in ma trunk's pocket. I realized there was this old guy, not too old though, somewhere around in his fifties, approximately watching what I was up too. As soon I had money change in my hand, I stepped ahead close to the vendor.
Never knew he was the same guy who was selling paan! He was in a mood to converse with me I guess. He said seen you after a real long time. I was shocked to surprise as I did not recognized him from no where, and he knew where I came from. He continued saying you live there right. Had been seeing you since you were a little kid, you use to pass by on a bicycle going somewhere like a tuition class. I said yeah that was like some 15 years back or so! He himself said yeah it's been long! Well sudden things at times make you blush when you get to know that someone somewhere knows you from somewhere, down the memory lane!
I said yeah I used to come, and still come at times. Since there is no fixed vendor for the same, I keep getting it from anywhere I can find one! I said to him there was a bald cycle repair wallah guy in here who use to sit at times when I use to bring in my cycle for repair, He immediately replied yeah he still exists, and then I could not resist asking him, does he still sits under that tree across the road, to which he said yes he does!
How does time flies and we still have all those people, all those memories just here and there somewhere as part of our lives, stringed and latched!
Now I knew I have made a Paan Wallah 'friend'! So I would be getting some discounts! LOL kidding! hehehehe!
I asked him to give me a pack of cigarette and some tobacco to chew. I took more than the ones I planned though! Well to avoid one more extra walk a mile again another day. Saving on a breathless assuming walk to a Paan Wallah with a sigh, finally I got what I came for!
He asked me bhaiya (brother) wont you eat paan, try it out! I nodded - what I meant was no,though I loved Paan, used to eat it when I was a kid, my dad used to get it for me. He thought I said a yes, and he packed one for me. To my surprise I almost forgot what I came to get for a moment & said o.k in my heart! Let it be! Lemme have one! With I smile I happily made an expression as if I was been given an extra bonus!
I could not help writing more on this one!
This is how you eat paan in India, it has been written.
'Go to a favorite restaurant and stuff your face till you can barely stand. Saunter down the promenade, lulled by the moonlit waves, tropical breeze and twinkling stars'.
Stop when you see a paan wallah, or betel vendor, ringing his bell as he pushes his truck.
“Sada or Meetha?” he asks – plain or sweet?
“Meetha,” you reply.
(that's exactly what he asked me and that exactly what I replied to him)
'He smoothes a tender betel leaf. With lightning dexterity, his hands fly over the containers crowding his truck. A little roasted fennel seed, some cloves, cardamom, betel nuts, tobacco paste, coconut flakes and rose paste are all stuffed into the betel leaf, which he folds into a triangle and nails together with a clove.
Without a word, you pop it in and chew. The sweet juices burst in your mouth with a tantalizing mix of flavors and textures – the refreshing cardamom, peppery betel leaf, biting cloves, tangy fennel and sweet rose paste. The experience is as seductive as a stolen kiss, as relaxing as an after-dinner cigar'.
On my way back home, I knew it, that this one was going on my Facebook status! though it never made on as a FB status to be precise. Then I almost forgot about it, and 3 days later I shared it. & yeah thanks to a friend from FB for letting me know the English name for Paan Wallah, after I had posted the status as 'What's a Pan Wallah' called in/know as in English?. - Anonymous' Male,34, Delhi,India