We had gone to our usual place … a slum where construction workers stay with their families in makeshift homes with plastic roofs. There are about eight to ten families living there, with around twelve to fifteen children among themselves. Or maybe more.
We often go there to distribute snacks, chocoltes, fruits, clothes or food materials.And sometimes ice cream too.
This time we went just a day before Diwali to give out gifts and sweets.
The children know us and know well that if they jostle or create a ruckus, they won't get anything.
So they quickly line up or sit down on the footpath. Some rattle off their names; some chatter on.
This time one boy of about seven or eight came up to B and asked for 'phatjhadi'.
B looked confused and asked 'what?'.
"Phatjhadi; phatjhadi". Said the boy , trying to be patient.
Still drew a blank.
Even I was confused.
These people are from other states …. so their Hindi is not proper.And the children are not fluent with the local language too.
After giving out the gifts, we started to return but the kid just would not give up.
He hung on to B's kurta and kept repeating the word.
And then suddenly he started gesturing with his hands and said "Flower pot! Flower pot ! Light! Boom! Charkhi gol gol! " …. looking up with his big eyes filled with hope.
He wanted crackers!
After all it was Diwali! And for little children, it isn't Diwali if there are no crackers to burst. 😀
We told them to wait and set off to buy some crackers.
We were still laughing at the new word the kid has coined …. "phat from patakha and jhadi from phooljhadi!!! " … we decoded. 😀😀
Both of us decided against any flower pot crackers as they would be too dangerous for the children.
And bought some charkhi and phooljhadi sparklers instead.The kids were overjoyed.
B appointed a teen, giving him the responsibility to oversee the whole thing and that the kids play safely. It made the child feel important and almost immediately, he started giving orders and organize everybody.
I remembered an old bag amongst the things to give away that had some of my old lipsticks ,nail polishes and bangles. Dug it out and gave it to the young girls.
The grins on their faces and the spontaneous clapping of hands at being overjoyed with this surprise melted my heart.
And as always, we came away smiling, with a feeling of warmth, that is so rare in the fast flying days of life right now.
And as always, we asked them what would they want to eat the next time.
And little girl piped "Poori".
So I decided to make the sukhi chana or this dryish dish with boiled black chickpeas to go with the pooris.
And remembered this photo languishing in my folder.
So decided to make them see the light of the day.
I make this very regularly …. sometimes without onions too.
This makes for a good snack for those in between meals hunger pangs.
Spicy, tangy and eaten hot, this is one dish that you can enjoy on its own or with Puris, Luchis or plain Parathas.
Kala Chana / Black chickpeas - soaked overnight and boiled with a little salt
Boiled potatoes - cut into small cubes
Onion - chopped
Green chillies - chopped
Black salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilli powder - to taste
Salt - to taste
Roasted Jeera powder - to taste
Chaat masala - to taste (optional)
Coriander leaves - chopped
How to :
Add the chopped onions and fry till translucent.
Do not brown them.
Then add the potatoes and the chickpeas and toss them well.
Add the rest of the ingredients and give a good toss on high heat till everything mixes well and comes together.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
You can skip the onions if you are fasting and enjoy on a vrat too.