Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Madam Greedy Guts

A humid summer afternoon had given way to a gentle breezy evening in South Calcutta. I decided it was time for a pleasant evening walk. I roamed around the streets, taking in the sights and sounds of this city that have always so enchanted me. I stopped at a street-side stall where tea and samosas were being sold.

And that was when I spotted her.

She was barely 7 years old, wearing a white frock with pink roses delicately embroidered all over. Her chubby cheeks pointed to a love for food. Tightly clutching on to her dad’s hand, she was inspecting the options that lay sprawled out in front of her. What should she indulge herself in? Of course, the evening must start with that puchka-waala bhaiya (the vendor selling paani puris).

As I took the first sip from my cup of tea, I was captivated with her innocence as I observed the little angel leading her dad to the puchka vendor. She greedily eyed the fellow as he readied the preparation of potatoes, salt and chilli powder along with imli paani (tamarind water) which would be used to fill the puchkas. Taking hold of the leaf-cup from the vendor (after a struggle with her dad who unsuccessfully tried to explain to her that he would be able to handle the cup more stably), her eyes lit up with every puchka that was placed in her cup. Madam Greedy Guts would then gingerly pick up the puchka, her hands trembling with anticipation. She would proceed to take a bite and more often than not, the puchka was too big for her little mouth and the water would stream down her cheeks. She didn’t seem to mind at all as she gleefully looked up at her dad, who acknowledged the feeling with a smile.

Three puchkas later, it was time to move on to ice creams. As I ordered another cup of tea, she had decided she wanted a chocolate ice cream. Her father paid for the ice cream, and madam wrapped her little fingers around the treasure-cup holding the very substance that made up heaven. As she passed by, she looked up and with a cherubic smile told the tea stall vendor, “Kaaku, singhara kaal ke khaabo” (Uncle, I’ll have the samosas tomorrow). The ageing tea-stall vendor beamed back at her.

As I walked back home, I was wondering what purpose kids serve. Of course, procreation and all that nonsense about taking civilization ahead to survive another generation. But what that little girl taught me was the simplicity of man’s needs. Not 15 rupees (little less than 30 cents) had been spent on her outing, and yet she had had the time of her life.

Man’s needs are simpler than what the grown-up buffoon makes it out to be. It is the attitude that matters.

11 comments:

How do we know said...

:-) Kind of true.

ani said...

mommyy... puchkaaa!!! n then ice cream!! :) tat lil princess sure has her foodie senses in the right place!! (from one foodie to another!) the next time u ever happen to see her plz do give her a biiiig jhappi frm me!! :D

arpana said...

u forgot the greatest complication of all there ... Love. Me thinks that F***s up things pretty badly and makes things complicated.

Shaily said...

lovely post :)

Priti said...

very true ...
and beautifully conveyed ...

Raam Pyari said...

waah!!!

Shekhar said...

how do we know: :) Thanks for visiting.

ani: ~laughs~ Yeah, she almost looked like a miniature Bengali version of you.

arpana: I don't agree on the f***ing up business, but yes, love certainly complicates matters. At times, even though it may feel wonderful, love makes you pine for that which may not be the best for you.

shaily: :))

priti: Thanks. :) Welcome to the blog.

raam pyari: ~bows~ shukriya

arpana said...

* smiles * how true is that! and thats what I call f****g up ! :D wat the hell is wrong with the word verification? it always gives me difficult stupid jumbled letters to type :( this time its Zwwvzbl

Senti Indian! said...

so very true... innocence, which disappears with time...

I see so many 'childish' people around me.. among whom not a single one is child-like.

Thanks for admiring childhood..

Garam Bheja Fry said...

that was one mouth watering description..!! ..of the puchka of course..[:o]

Shekhar said...

arpana: ~laughs~ Really don't know what to say to that. :)

senti indian!: //innocence, which disappears with time...

innocence, which always remains hidden somewhere... innocence, which is waiting to be tapped...

~smiles~

Welcome to the blog.

garam bheja fry: LOLZ. You have no idea what a difficult time I had while typing that part.

Welcome to the blog, senor. :)