It rained during the day. It being a Sunday, I had a huge-ish lunch and took myself off to snuggle under the covers with my book in the natural air-conditioning of Bangalore during the rains.
I woke an hour later with a yearning for phuchka. I lay in bed and fantasized about being passed a medium-sized phuchka stuffed with aloo and dripping with tamarind water. I would open my mouth wide and force the entire thing in my mouth whole. When I bit down it’d explode with a crunch and the sweet tamarind juice would flood my mouth. After wrestling to not choke on the whole thing for a panic-stricken second or two I would turn to the none-too-clean phuchkawallah again to await my turn as he went around the circle of hungry customers. And the whole process would repeat again.
After braving death-by-choking some 12 times (2 plates) I would wander off, burping hideously and wondering if I would dream of clowns chasing me through sinister streets all night.
But it’s ALL worth it, there’s nothing like a good phuchka, I say. The best ones are in Calcutta of course, but one makes do with what one has.
Unfortunately, I don’t even have access to a local one today. It’s been hours since I woke up from my nap and I still pine for it. Other snacks have been brazenly used as substitutes so I can slake my terrible thirst and forget it for a while.
But it haunts me still, the way the sweet and red-hot liquid rushes around your mouth and makes you splutter…how sometimes if you breathe wrong it goes up your nose, or dribbles out your mouth the days you forget to bring a handkerchief…the way the brittle edges of the broken puffed bread cut into your food pipe, scouring the skin as it forces its way down your gullet…
ENOUGH…I’m-I’m getting the shakes…for the love of God, someone get-get me the name of a good phuchka excorcist…!