Where there is a pining Indian, there is Haldiram’s

22 Jan

Here’s giving a big hand to Haldirams. How much I underestimated the joy your Alu Bhujiya would give, and how much I underrated the small spheres of your Rasgulla in restoring  fading memories of mother-country.

Indeed, Haldiram’s has been a saviour to a lot of us. In fact, it has walked hand in hand with us as we, assured by its constant (motherlike) presence , have fearlessly traversed the world.

Even when I was in boarding school, years ago, it was Haldiram’s that always came to the rescue. No matter if there weren’t any sweetmeat shops close by; never mind that they had never heard of “ghee”. Haldiram’s was always available to remind you of what was true and fattening.

I had a similar experience a few days ago when a family friend, Ravi Uncle,  recently returned from India dropped a little box of Haldiram’s Soan Papdi on my lap (like Santa!). Much to my (now) shame, I wasn’t too keen on them. Or maybe, just maybe, I had lost my taste for Indian sweets. But a few hours later, when the mid-night-chow-monster struck, I thought I’d give it a go.

I cannot describe the first bite as anything else but a sugar bomb. A sugar high ensued. I was dizzy and dangling off the furthest edge of the glucose scale. And boy was it great!

But what struck me more was the sheer genius of these six golden cubes of sunshine.  They had traveled hundreds of  miles, unspoiled, perfectly arranged and packed with a punch that would leave your head bursting with memories of home. And that’s when I realised that Haldiram’s had seriously got it down. They knew, before anyone else, that it was these small things – the sugar and the ghee when it came to sweets or the crunchiness of the sev when it came to namkeen that really tugged at our hearts. And they delivered it to us in neat tin-foiled packages. Not a whole bunch. But just a few things, done well. Things like Alu Bhujiya and Soan Papdi that became your ‘chaddi-pals’ and forever part of your experiences.

Thanks, Haldirams, for being there.

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