Thursday, July 06, 2006

In the Rains …

The monsoon is here in all its glory.

Pearl shaped raindrops hit the earth with a gentle splatter. Their rhythmic pitter-patter disturbs the long settled dust, sleeping across the city. Everything is fresher now. Everything is green. And the air is scented with the delicious aroma of roasting corn.

Tempting you from every street corner is a monsoon-drenched cart. A tiny man in an oversized raincoat smiles at you from behind it. Pointing knowingly at the neatly displayed wares on his cart, a tidy heap of lime green butta.

As the skies open out, you run up to the cart and huddle under a dripping umbrella, watching tiny puddles gather to life in a circle around you. You peer through the curtain of raindrops at the tiny man. He smiles, a friendly smile, and strikes a damp matchstick to life. And with these tiny strings of fire, he lights his small coal stove. Instantly little bits of charcoal glow awake, angry red eyes glare at you, from inside the stove, like a monster waking up in a dark fairy tale.

As the stove turns into dots of red, the tiny man picks up a butta and then two, without once disturbing the heap. He rips off the bright green coats they wear and lifts their soft brown velvet veil. He casts a disapproving glance at the flame, not impressed by its progress, he fans it furiously, egging it on to rise. And rise it does, suddenly the air is full of slivers of fire dancing around fat-sparkling drops of rain; the coal is now bright red and the corn roasts to a golden yellow.

After a series of twists and turns, he lifts the golden yellow butta off the smoky hot stove. Yes, it’s perfect, hard enough to bite, soft enough to chew. He smiles. And proceeds to dress it in a melting coat of butter. He adds a touch of namak and a dash of mirch and then to this delicious mix, he adds the final touch, a generous splattering of lime.

You hurriedly grab the hot cob he hands you and greedily bite into this spicy-sweet monsoon delight. And you don’t stop till you rip off every bit of corn from cob. And somewhere between the first bite and the last a thought enters your head, ‘Should I have another one of these?’

And there in the background, stands the tiny man, still smiling, as the bits of coal shut their growling red eyes again.

1 comment:

n said...

i love bhutta too. esp on monsoon evening by the seaside.