Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spreading the Cheer

There is a State Beverages Corporation outlet right across our office. The outlet has a long queue of most well behaved customers. They are pillars of patience. They wait in burning Sun, pouring rain, closing dusk for their share of bottles for the day. They always have short change and never push in queue. And if there is a holiday or hartal round the corner, they stock up to last the difficult times.

And the just on the footpath by the road is a Chilly Baji, Pakodas, bondas cart which opens at 4pm and does brisk business till the BEVCO outlet is open. Run by a couple, many vouch for the tasty fare they have.

RGB and myself had tasted the chilly bajis and agreed with all and sundry that it was the best we ever had. So, when the monsoons got active, we wanted to have the bajis. We peeped through the window- No cart, No BEVCO. Why, we wonder and like our brethren, we wait for next day. Same scene- No BEVCO, no cart.

RGB is more solid material. I could not take it. My left chest started to ache. To make sure twice over, I went to the balcony leading fire escape and looked for the magic cart. But Alas! No such wonderful sight. Two guys on a bike were also surprised to find BEVCO closed. That made three broken hearts.

As I was walking in from the balcony, I passed the cabin of our office administrator. A man in late forties, he was a dedicated worker. Few spoke to him unless necessary. He seemed to be tense about some job and was sitting looking down, cradling his head in his hands, one of them holding his specs.

I entered the cabin and asked, “Boban Sir?”
“Huh?”, he said looking up bewildered
“The Beverages shop…Why is it not open?”
His lips broke into a smile,”Why? You needed something?”
“Eh?”, he asked amusedly
“ The baji cart is not open. We wanted bajis. No BEVCO. No Cart”
“Oh”, he was laughing relieved and continued. “Don’t know…BEVCO has been closed for two days”

I walked back to my place having spread the cheer.


  1. These cart chaps invest some magic in their preparations.The oil used may be the used one bought from a hotel nearby, the dhall and ingredients may be second grade but the taste and flavour they bring are unbeatable.I cast my covetous eyes at the fare in the cart but walk away shy of buying from them.
    Nice writing.

  2. How does the cartwallah know that the BEVCO shop would remain closed for 2 days? I sense some conspiracy here.

  3. The mallu gentry that queue with discipline at the BEVCo door are sentinels of patience. Ask the mallu gentleman to fetch some ration from the fair price shop and he would fume back at the unfair demand made on him.
    And you are certainly right - the push carts that thrive with their condiments at such places are special. But to me I wonder if my bowels would accept those great fares after all these years .
    Nevertheless long last the Bhajis, bondas and vadas.

  4. I missed the amused look on Boban sir's face. It is the loss of a lifetime...

  5. Once i found myself in a q outside bevco just ahead of my lecturer for mechanics of machinery. ;-)

  6. Spreading the cheer is priceless. :)
    Have heard of many stalls which sell yummy delights and people giving them 10/10. But somehow, I can't bring myself to even taste a bite!! I know, it's my loss!! :D

  7. hmmm oh yes
    we had this stall, in panchkula next to chandigarh, he use to ahve a stall which opened about 5:30 or 6ish in evening and all he made was non veg and by 9:30 / 10 pm it would be all gone ..

    I dont know what he put or was it actually the best But you had to go early to get something to eat there

    These stalls are sometimes really yummy :) I went back to india after 5 -6 years and thats where we went the same night... though i must say my stomach revolted the very next day .. but i did enjoy :)

  8. Aaawwww...I pity you ladies. I think the worry over the cart missing was much more than the guys who felt sad about the shop being closed.


  9. Glad the aaj tak news team never came to know abt it...otherwise they would hav made it a half an hour prog :)!!

  10. finally monsson has entered delhi after a long wait and your post is just what I wanted to read on a lovely rainy day :) Thanks for sharing kk, keep spreading that cheer always!

  11. K Parthasarathi
    You must try some of those

    BEVCO is the cartwallah's daily bread. He must know

    Anil Kurup
    A bite once a while is OK

    Destiny's Child
    Just let you know what you are missing:P

    Scarlet Pimpernel
    And none spoke:P

    Shilpa Garg
    As long as you have a good doc in neighbourhood to consult, you must be adventurous and trying these bites.

    Anyway, we can't keep whatever we ate for forever. So, wayside stalls zindabad!

    Come to my arms. You read the lama's mind:)

    Thank You

    Nazish Rahman
    " Aaj ka taaza khabar. Dekhiye kis tarah BEVCO ke band rahne par log tadap rahe the"
    Let's mail this to AAj Tak

    A New Beginning
    "Just doing my little bit", says shy lama

  12. heh, heh...for having amused Boban sir! Miss the spicy hot Chilly Bajjis:( And with Bevco gone, the cart is also gone for good eh?!

  13. RGB
    All these years, BEVCO was housed oppposite, we didn't feel like having those snacks from the cart during office hours and now they have shifted and we have this urge.:(