Skip to main content

The Pani Puri Wala

Who doesn't like to eat Pani Puri, firm round yellow crispy puri made up of fried maida, filled with spicy mashed potato with tart water.... Wow!! only the thought of it fills mouth with water. Standing around the vendor with a small leaf plate in hand, waiting for the turn to be served again is something that everyone must have experienced. Generally called as Pani puri Wala, they are also with due respect referred as 'Bhaina' (Meaning Brother in Odiya) by college going girls. If given option, these girls will choose to live on only and only Pani Puri for life long, happily without any complaints. Boys too like it but not as the girls do. As a matter of fact I too had a great affinity for Pani Puri.

I have tasted many a times form different Pani Puri Walas in Bhubaneswar. But specifically I remember of one who sold in the market complex near our residence. His name was Basu. He was a fair lean and tall young man around 23 years. I was his regular customer and regular customers are always given special treatments by him. And special treatments included extra two puri with masala toppings and free bowls of tart water till one is content to heart....eer... Stomach.

He had a special kind of charm in his face to attract customers and above all he was the neatest Pani Puri Wala in the locality. One can never question the kind hygiene he maintained in his portable four wheeled Pani Puri stall. Due to all above good qualities, Basu had a hold in the business in the vicinity whereas fellow vendors suffered like anything. Unknowingly he cultivated enemies.

It was in 2007 I left Bhubaneswar for higher studies, I lost contact with lesser known acquaintances. Basu was among them. I used to remember of him during my visits to home in semester breaks or festival holidays. During my 1st and 2nd visits after I left Bhubaneswar he was doing well in his business. He even asked about my sudden disappearance. He said he was sad to lose a regular customer. I smiled and wished him luck, and told in jest that may his beautiful female customers increases by ten times. He laughed and said," hope your 'thus spoke' becomes true". After that I completely forgot Basu. Thoughts of Career, Job & future made me forget everything what were once things of beauty and joy for me.

In June 2012 I again remembered about Basu. Then, I was in Bhubaneswar and was on a leave to meet my would be wife as arranged by my parents as prospect for my marriage to her, which later happened in December of the same year. It was the day after I made the visit, I was very happy. I thought to celebrate with my younger cousins and the treat was to begin with Pani Puri. I remembered of Basu again, I was skeptical whether he would be there or not.  He was not there, some other person were selling Pani Puri at his Place. And on one side of  stall it was written "Basu Bhaina spesal Pani Puri" and the Pani Puri he served was nowhere equal to the taste Basu used to prepare. I enquired about Basu to the Pani Puri Wala. He said he died two years back and he was his brother in law who is taking care of the stall.

I was almost in a shocked state. The cheerful face of Basu flashed before my eyes.
With deep condolence in heart I asked his brother in law," What happened to him?"

'He was murdered'

'Murdered!! Why? How?'

He said, Basu was very badly beaten down by a group of drunkard people while he was returning to his house after daily business. He was newly married and was very happy with his life. He is survived by his old mother, his wife and a year old daughter.

I asked who were those drunkards.

He said, "Who else..., those who didn't liked his growing business."

"Are they behind bars?"

"Yes, they were, only for a day or two. His case is closed and I have to take care of his family."

I asked no more as he indicated me to leave as customers stood around his stall with the plastic plates waiting for their turn to be poured with Pani Puri.


Very touching bhaiyya. This is our current state anybody can be killed for such foolish reasons.
sareeta said…
Mmmmm yummy Pani puries....the very name sets my stomach on a hunger pang. I had a wonderful encounter with a pani puri bhaina too. I was horribly hungry while running from pillar to post for my PhD work in Vani Vihar. Then I rode all the way to RD front to have Pani puris. That pani puri bhaina went on serving me and I went on hogging the pani puris till my heart's content. When it was time to give money I realized that I was short of ten rupees! I asked him for forgiveness and told him all the truth.He was soooo sweet. He said, "no problem sister, its ok". He gave me two puris more. The next time I visited him and offered the 10 rupees, he never took it. I learned a great lesson that day......"Even if a rich person is loaded with jewels and money he thinks twice before giving it to a poor man. But, even if a poor man struggles for his daily living , he never steps back in sharing his bread:) "....Thank you for taking me down the memory lane through this lovely story Gyan. With good intentions and noble thoughts this world can be made a better and safe place to live in.

Popular posts from this blog

Telling Tuan & Tuin story To Mili

Last time during Durga Puja, when I was on a holiday leave and was at Bhubaneswar with my parents, one of my cousin, his wife and their 3 yr old, Mili came to see me. Mili is altogether an innocent packet of joy, a lovely little girl and have a very sharp mind. As we all elders did our chitchatting, she seemed enjoying one or other object in the house. If she happens to touch some fragile kind of things, her mom use to give a occasional warning like............
No Mili No No...............wooo baya.
For almost every things in the house, her mom started saying wooo Baya (common phrase to frighten any little kids in Odiya Households). Poor girl didn't find anything to play, break or tear. She missed all the privileges she is used to at her home. She was then so bored that, she stared making faces and pinched her papa and said ,"Papa, Lets go home" many a times.
I felt sorry for the poor little angel and thought to cheer her up. I asked her,
"Baby want to listen a story?…

Hand Pump Ka Pani

Hand Pump Ka Pani - One Act Play in Hindi Place: Any Indian Reserve Forest Time: Present Age, Early Winter, Day time.


    Yamini (Protagonist):  Age: 34. Is a house wife and but a botanist by passion. She loves nature and flowers. Dressed:  Kurta and leggings.

Dr. Bhaskar:  Age 31.  A Phd holder in English literature. He is a boastful person who thinks himself as Mr. Know all. Dressed: Track pant and T shirt.

Anju: Age. 25.  Is a modern girl. She is a Techie. She thinks herself as very beautiful. Dressed: Jeans and T shirt

Naveen: Age 27.  Is a sportive man and is a former body building champion and is a trekking guide. Dressed: 3/4th & T shirt

Sambhu: Age 21.  A college student and an admirer of Naveen. Dressed: 3/4th & T shirt

An Old Lady:  A mysterious woman. She is dressed in white, her hair dishevelled.
Props: Hand Pump. Image of an abandoned temple, forest Back Packs. (5 Nos) Scene: I Five of the characters enters the stage. All are tired and thirsty. They are lost in a deep …

Hunting Jankha

People In the villages of odisha, specifically of those in the coastal regions, strongly believe on 'Jankha'. Stories of existence and exploits of such creatures are heard with utmost curiosity. From street side gossip to bed time stories, Jankhas are popular everywhere.

What actually Jankhas are? In stories and gossips it is described as a short glowing monster made up of gold. It is said that they originate from the age old unclaimed treasures hidden beneath the ground. At night it emerges from ground and travel in search of other hidden treasures and make them as their part. They are harmless to all creatures except human, as humans try to capture them and convert them back again to lifeless gold and gemstones. It is said that if one successfully hunts down a Jankha, should drop freshly cut self blood over it which will then turn into a heap of treasure.But Jankhas have some kind of mysterious power by which they can fatally injure human. But Human beings are adventures, …

Murchana – The Melody of the Hills

I Murchana was the most silent girl in the engineering college. Hardly anyone could notice her, when she would pass by. Although everyone liked her, but she avoided company and preferred to remain confined to her melancholic world. She was a short innocent girl from a tribal district of Orissa and was fairly average at studies. She was never the subject of discussion in the college or in the hostel, as she was nowhere near the realm of those categories of students who were always the point of discussion, gossip or admiration. It was only in the 3rd year, she started becoming free. Though it was very rare, to see her face lit up with a smile. But whenever she did, I couldn’t help admiring her beauty. More or less I started secretly liking her and always searched for an opportunity to start a brief talk with her. Every time I approached her for anything, she would welcome me with a smile. By the beginning of 4th year we became very close friends and batch mates tagged us “The Silent Pai…

Mandan and Ubhayabharati

It is an extract from Ubhyabharati By Nabakisore Raj. Originally written in Odiya Language I have tried my best to reflect the thoughts of the author in English. Wish all of you a nice reading.

Mandan Mishra & Ubhyabharati were renowned figures during the times of Sankaracharya and were known the for their peerless knowledge on vedic scriptures.

Everyone in the family was happy in the proposal of the marriage for Mandan. 
Mandan has never perfectly seen Ubhayabharti. She occasionally comes for a visit to her brother’s house and returns after staying for few days. It was strict instruction from Gurudev. A brahamchari should never see a woman’s face. And Mandan strictly followed the instructions.

He has only seen her hurrying feet under the beautiful pink or blue ghagra. Those beautiful pair of feet painted with red alata, decorated with a pair of paaunji, makes one think of…

In Love with a Monk

It was month Sravana, the city of Mathura was looking like a young maiden as if blushing at her own beauty. The night sky was lit up with a crescent moon, playing hide and seek with the dark clouds. The moist sweet breeze from east blew the tender branches of the trees. But that doesn’t make any difference to the saffron clad, hair shaved, tall young monk. He only knew what the enlightened taught.
‘What ever be the situation treat it equally, for nothing lasts for ever. Behold Dhamma, it will show you the path’. And he held it above his esteem. Where ever he went, the crowd admired his words, respected him, showered flower in his paths. But the enlightened had taught him, ‘Upagupta never ever remain in that place where you get much respect’. So he has traveled so long to this city. The city, which was new to him, so as he to the city. He have walked for days with little food. Though tiered physically, but his conscience was alert and active. He thought to rest for a while, and began …

Hotel Kabristan View

What??!! Hotel Kabristan (Cemetery) View? Yes it’s true, when I got down from the bus at Hyderabad at 4 am in the night, a cheerful autoriksaw driver was there at the doors and asked “Auto Sir?”“Yup”“Where?”“Some hotel nearby, any budget hotel.”He gave me a ride to a hotel in Afzal Nagar. It was like any other, standard hotel. I booked a room and the room was No 303. As I have opted for a non A/c room, so no sooner I went inside the room, than I switched on the fan and opened the window. As I opened the window, what I see, was huge cemetery, with small big tombs of dead souls visible under the mercury lamp post. I became restless. Although I was not afraid; a grown up man am I; but I was.I thought people opt for hotelsWith lake viewBeach viewValley ViewBut my hotel gave me a Cemetery view, and that was not incredible.It was still dark then, I was just wanted to leap on the bed and sleep. But sleeping was impossible, with a closed window, and it was also impossible with an open window e…