Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>

Memory files - Of sattuwallahs and rickshaw pullers

At the corner  of Purna Das Road and Lake View Road , a man used to set up camp every morning at around 11 am . He would set down his woven basket , crammed with bell metal thalis and lotas , all highly polished with a sheen that would make my mother sigh , under the tree at the corner , near the tubewell . Next , he set up his dusty  black umbrella mounted on a tall stick ,that served as a sunshade in winter and a cover from the rains during the monsoons . A jar of pickle, salt , a horlicks jar of a powdered masala, chillies , onion  and a stainless steel container of chutney followed . Last he would bring out a  rectangular aluminium tin which contained chhatu or sattu , the mainstay of Bihari bhaiyyas for lunch .

He would pour out the chhatu , mix the salt and masalas and knead it to a fine golden paste which he would cover with a clean rag . Around noon the first csutomers would land up . Parking their hand drawn rickshaws , these rustic men from the interiors of Bihar , raw  boned , muscled and yet scrawny , with unshaven faces and gamchhas wound around their heads , would wash their hands, feet and faces at the tubewell and then with a sigh , settle down on their haunches while the chhatuwalla doled out the food on the pristine thalis - a mound of chhatu , an onion , a couple of green chillies and the chutney which was a peculiar translucent green - possibly made with garlic, chillies and coriander . Each man would get a lota of water .

Oh   the relish with which the rickshawallahs and thelawallahs wolfed down their meal - there was something so soul satisfying and the belch after the water was gulped down summed it all up . There was a peculiar discipline too - people arriving late would squat patiently , nearby , no jostling , pushing , shoving or asking the eaters to hurry up even when they were all so evidently hungry- so symbolic of the great Indian watch and wait for their turn

Mealtime over , the chhatuwallh would then wash up with great care , accept a gob of tobacco or khaini from one of his customers , load up and waddle off .

Now of course , the chhatuwallh at the corner is gone . Instead there is a bhelpuri walla who sells his wares to the schoolchildren down the road , which leaves me wondering where the rickshawallahs go for lunch .

This post first appeared on Eve's Lungs, please read the originial post: here

Share the post

Memory files - Of sattuwallahs and rickshaw pullers


Subscribe to Eve's Lungs

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription