15 March 2008

Yesterday's News

Eating snacks out of newspapers is common in Pune. During my first time, I was fortunate that the contents were good enough to distract me from the questions that plague the foreign mind: Are they using vegetable-based ink? Am I eating off the front page of the issue that was touching the street when piled the papers up? Was someone reading this when he was on the toilet? Am I eating off bad news or good news? Was my puffed rice in someone's picture's nose? All these worries were eased out by the simple goodness of the bhel puri.

Bhel puri is a common snack in Maharashtra. Puffed rice, fried lentils, sev or crispy noodles, potatoes, and other supporting actors are served with spice powder, cilantro, and raw onions. And chili! Slices of green chili that only the brave don't toss out.

How does one eat these tasty bits off a daily? I was given a scooper that was cut out of a magazine cover. It was not easy to use, but stopped me from pouring the stuff into my mouth and getting indigestion. The serving must have been as large as a small cat, but I managed to get it all in, and even be a bit covetous of my friend's.

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