Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Kulfiwallah

On warm summer nights when the air is as still as those Tussauds wax statues, and you can hear the crickets go chirp chirp in the backyard. When those orange stalked fragrant prajakta flowers spread their achingly sweet fragrance through the still warm night air, and you can hear a lonely frog go croak croak from a dark corner.

Suddenly you hear that awaited - 'Kulfiwallahaaaaah'...and you leap, much like that sulking frog in the corner and make a dash to the gate. 'Aeeeee Kulfiwalle'...you yell....Kulfiwalle....idhar idhar....right here, cant you see?... You meanwhile get battle ready, as you get the youngest of the lot to quickly scout for his/her slippers, hurry hurry them on, and urge him to go...go get him here before he slinks into the night with that red caped basket of his...

All that commotion and sudden activity gets the Kulfiwallah's attention and that apparition in white comes closer, with cool respite of milky kulfi hidden in the folds of the red cloth. He gets the basket down and as he unfolds the cloth you see a dozen aluminium cones shining in the street light, nestled on a bed of salt and ice.

The Kulfiwala '...sssssk' opens the rubber vacuummed cones with his knife, pushes in a wooden stick and coaxes the creamy kulfi out for an eager audience, one by one. The Kulfi tastes slightly salty, creamy and milky cold with bits of cardamom. And while most of us go slurp and lick with kulfi dripping down in savory urgency, someone always will want their kulfi diced on a green leaf. We are left holding a wooden stick and the lingering aftertaste, while they neatly dice up their kulfi further and make it last longer.

The kulfiwallah meanwhile counts his loot, and silently saunters away, a little lighter, taking his wares to other neighbourhoods to spready milky joy and some summer cheer. And you wait till the next week when the summer air is still warm and your tongue remembers the milky taste of cold kulfi.

6 comments:

manju said...

hey thats me!!!!!! the person calling out to the kulfiwala :) its amazingly wonderful :D

RLS said...

wow... brings back some memories from the past. We used to visit the nearby garden and after a good couple of hours of running around... we gather around the kulfiwallah and look at dad/mom to reach for their approval and then the wallet :)

Loved that line 'and you leap, much like that sulking frog in the corner...' but still wonder why would you leap like a sulking frog? Long faced amphibian attacks lonely kulfiwallah... :D sorry couldn't resist that one. I think u need to further draw out ur style humour which is your trademark... but very visual and descriptive so could actually graphically imagine what's transpiring in the writer's mind. Keep it on...

Anushka said...

Awesome Kas...keep it up :)
I never knew that the kulfiwalla's had salt and ice in their basket ...eye for detail huhn?

Kasturi said...

@RLS: Hey the frog is sulking in the corner and going croak croak coz he aint found a mate yet...or maybe coz it hasnt rained yet....but yes point noted...and yeah i love your trademark style of humour too - long faced amphibian attacks kulfiwallah :-)) keep it up RLS...always..

Kasturi said...

@ Ann: I always wondered why the kulfi tasted slightly salty and also it is always the right temperature...to tell you the truth i am figuring it is salt and ice - salt to keep the ice from melting...

and thanks annie, love to hear from you here :-))

Kasturi said...

@manju: yeah but Dad doesnt let us have kulfi na anymore :( - god knows what kinda milk, what kinda stick and whether the kulfiwala has had a bath in the last few months and whether he washes the aluminium cones ever, and if he washes them...with what kinda water...wait a sec....is that dad speaking or is it me??

 
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