During our last meeting, he seemed to be happy and cheerful in spite of the terrible odds stacked against him. But I haven’t seen him since then. I am worried about him and I wonder if he is okay.
On Friday this week, 8 July 2016, I tried to find some clue about his whereabouts from the idols he had placed so lovingly under the tree near the temple close to my house. I got a shock of my life when I reached there. The idols were in a very sorry condition . Some of them had broken feet and were lying helplessly on their backs…It was a very depressing sight, All kinds of frightful thoughts crowded around in my mind. Maybe Golu was thrashed heavily by abusive parents; maybe he was maimed and forced into begging by a gang of criminals; maybe he’s turned into a drug addict, etc, etc.
I was not in the best of moods that day and the sight of these broken Gods only intensified my feelings of helplessness. A person whose own future depends on the whims and fancies of rich and arrogant people can’t do much for another human being. This was the thought that hit my soul with a resounding slap that day.
But life has go on and you have to remain afloat…I consoled myself with the thought that beyond these man-made Gods, there is another divine power, which is supreme, omnipotent, and universal. This higher God will take care of Golu…
If you ever happen to be walking on a dusty street of Delhi, just stop for a moment and look around you. You will most certainly find a couple of culinary heroes. They are generally migrants who have come from far-flung towns and villages in UP, Bihar, Haryana, Darjeeling, Nepal, Mizoram, etc. From morning till night, they cook, toil, and sweat, and sell their stuff to the locals with the hope of earning enough money for themselves and their folks back home. Their grit, courage, and determination are really admirable and that’s what makes them little Gods in their own right. The items they sell may not qualify for Michelin’s 5-star status, but they carry that special touch and feel of the land they have originated from. This is what makes Delhi a melting pot of so many cultures and cuisines.
Let me tell you about 2 such people.
Raju: You will find him at Uttam Nagar Bus Terminal, near Uttam Nagar East Metro Station. He has come from Uttar Pradesh. From morning till night, he fries cocktail samosas in a little karahi and sells them to the passersby. His price is Rs.10 for 4 samosas, that is, Rs.2.50 per piece, which is damn cheap if you compare it with a standard samosa in Delhi which costs Rs.10 per piece. His low pricing is his way of fighting competition.
A few days ago, it was raining when I passed by his shop. I usually avoid street food, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation and I bought these samosas. I was pleasantly surprised to find them very tasty and the spices were very balanced too. During the rainy season, he puts up a tent and carries on because sales are much more when it rains. Considering the amount of plastic that goes inside a packet of Kurkure of the same price (Rs.10), these samosas are, I think, far safer and more nutritious. Try them whenever you are passing through this place and you feel like eating something crunchy and spicy.
Tashi Sherpa: Tashi works for a living at Mini Market, AG-1 Vikaspuri. He has come from Darjeeling and lives in Uttam Nagar at present. He began his business in Vikaspuri about a year ago. His daily routine begins here at 4 PM.
His most significant contribution to this locality has been the introduction of ‘Buglet,’ a recipe which he has brought from Darjeeling, and 2 new varieties of samosa, chowmein samosa and macaroni samosa.
Samosas with fillings other than potatoes were earlier associated with places like Moti Nagar and Paharganj. Thanks to Tashi, we get them now in AG-1, Vikaspuri too! He is doing quite well here, he says with his characteristic smile, especially with his buglets and samosas.
Buglet is a kind of roll made from maida stuffed with chicken or vegetables depending on the preferences of the customers. The roll is fried in a karahi and sliced into two before serving.
Here are the photographs.
Raju @ Uttam Nagar Bus Terminal
Tashi Sherpa, AG-1, Vikaspuri
Buglets being deep-fried…
Before serving/packing, each Buglet is sliced into 2 pieces.
Tashi, busy with his customers…
Here are a few more heroes and Gods. These pics were all clicked near Uttam Nagar Red Light…
Seller of luscious and colorful fruits
Guptaji’s Faluda Kulfi…
Pawan Tikki Burger
Selling Shikanji (drink made with lemon juice, water, sugar, ice, and spices)