More often than not, we have heard ourselves and others say “school days were the best days of our lives”. Hell yeah! There is no refuting that.
From creating wonderful memories and bunking classes for the first time to unlimited naughtiness and laughter, we have been through it all.
On recollecting our school days, one of our favourite memories are those of eating during class hours, finishing everyone’s tiffin before break time and waiting for the school bell to ring at the end of the last class so that we could run to the school gates, outside of which stood the ‘forbidden’ churan wala.
Do you remember digging your fingers into this sheer decadence served on small pieces of newspaper/magazines right after school or on your way back home?
Many a times our Principals and parents had warned us about the ill effects of these digestives while we would nod our head in agreement and pay a deaf ear to their concern because our taste buds refused to accept this accusation on our beloved ‘churan-wala’ bhaiya who would make our mouths water with his assortment of addictives that had a whirlpool of enticing colours and flavours – tangy, sour, sweet, pungent, spicy as we took it with a pinch of salt. Quite literally.
We were his dedicated customers who would sometimes eat on credit when our pockets ran dry but our tongue was still salivating at the mere sight of his basket of achaars, chutneys and churans.
We couldn’t help but give into our tingling tastebud’s demand for Aamsat, churan, aamrah, various kinds of pickles, hing peda, imli laddu, khatti imli, macchli goli, amrak, gila churan, chaalta and kaccha aam, kool that was generously sprinkled with kaala namak (rock salt) and chilli powder. Along with these, we would also regularly purchase packets of fatafat, aam pachak, hajmola, magic pop, phantom cigarettes and khatta meetha aam papad.
The base of most varieties is the same – a combination of lime juice, jeera, black salt, sugar and aamchur (dried mango powder). These are mixed with the main digestive ingredient – generally ginger, asafoetida or pepper – and kneaded together with dried fruits such as mango, tamarind, dates, pomegranate seeds and berries (bor). It is then served up either powdered, in balls or slices.
Beware: the mere thought of these delectable digestives might make you crave for some.
Though most of these items are still available yet you will miss out on the joy of eating them with your dirty hands just outside of school, with your best friends.