A conversation over jhaal-muri took me years back

A couple of weekends back on a bored Sunday evening, I texted my new neighbor and now friend (the root is the common link that binds us). In an hour I was in the couch in #dwitwiyaardho , my nook in #secaucus , #newjersey , sipping tea and chatting over #jhalmuri that I made for her. Its during this discussion , I realized that if I have to think “what was the first thing I cooked?” The response is “jhaalmuri”.

For those who don’t know this dish, it’s also known as #bhelpuri in other parts of our country. Those who still don’t know, what it is , it’s puffed rice with chopped onion, tomato, green chillies, cucumber , ‘chanachur’ or casse-croute , peanuts , with dash of mustard oil for that pungent kick and a squeeze of lemon too. Now that’s the basic , lot more things can go in like peanuts , sliced coconut etc. The ones we get in the long distance trains , are the best relished ones , from my memory.

I suddenly remembered that in class VI , we were all gripped by the idea of a picnic with no fire cooking in the school and this is how we made it come true. Each of us carried one or two ingredients and during lunch time we mixed it all and went out in the open ground in the sun and proudly had that ‘girl gang made’ jhalmuri. All my friends Sudeshna, Shruti, Chameli, Pooja, Puja , Pushpa , Deepmala, Rashmi, Kavita, Rashi, Rashmi, Priyanka, Neeti and several others. We were all partie to this …

Sometimes we don’t design our ways, but it happens. Just like that evening, brought back my first memory of cooking, without any parental help.

This has infact now won me another friend from a far away land. Both of us were born in different countries , with another country as our root and now chatting over this in another part of the globe.

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