Remember those steam engine trains with non-AC coaches of the India in the 1980s?
My sister and I were enrolled in its frequent traveler program. Every holiday, we were packed off to our Dadu-Dida’s (grandparents) home on the banks of Sone River, a small industrial town called Dalmianagar.
The only rewarding thing about these short-distance train travels were the hawkers and sellers who boarded the train, and did very effective marketing and selling and entertaining all at the same time.
In the last many years, I have replayed the image of that dhoti-clad man with a distinguishable gumcha around his neck many times, over and over again. Chopping and dicing, singing and hawking, balancing his basket of goodies on one knee, standing in the corridor of the train’s coach like an elegant stork. Doling out that heavenly mixture of sprouts and chopped onions with black salt and a squeeze of lemon. Spreading it out carefully on a leaf, which he would curl up to make a little bowl, and throw in a leaf “spoon” for you to scoop the salad.
Now which salad bar on this earth can bring you that same happiness? Not one I can think of.
I have spent many sleepless nights thinking and salivating about that same chana salad.
I was feeling particularly ambitious about making it for myself today as a light lunch. Yesterday’s horrid wetness had dampened my spirits and my salon-treated tresses. But the thought of chowing on a sprout salad and soaking up some Vitamin D cheered me up.