Swapneel Shah

swapsshah in dreams!!!

Chikki ghya… chikki… … Lonavala chi Chikki…

with one comment


Chikki

Chikki (Strawberry flavor)

I was sleeping… or well actually trying to sleep on the top berth of my compartment… It was raining steady outside… And I was shivering inside… Somehow the chaddar was not providing enough warmth… I heard the train leaving Lonavala Station… The irritating noise of on-station hawkers faded, and things were going calm… Could listen only to the helpless slow movements of the train in the Ghats now… And occasionally some in-train sellers… … …

Chikki ghya… Chikki… … Lonavala chi Chikki…” (Have some Chikki… Chikki… Lonavala’s Chikki…)

[Chikki is a traditional ready-to-eat Indian sweet made usually from groundnuts\sesame seeds\dry fruits\Coconut and jaggery.]

Didn’t sound like a regular seller… I gave a cautions ear…

“Chikki ghya… Chikki… Lonavala chi Chikki…”

Sounded like a old trembling voice… female… pause…

“Chikki ghya… Chikki… Lonavala chi Chikki…”

This time a bit firm voice… Looked like she took a deep breath for this sale call… I turned and then took a peek out from my Chaddar…

She was indeed very old… Carrying a huge cloth bag on her shoulder… Half wet… In a typical green Navvari Saree… The green looked to have lost shine and now looked more or less a dirty green… And a deep red Bindi in Kumkum floating on the waves on the forehead wrinkles… Thick and heavy spectacles… She now got the bag down from her shoulder… Removed few Chikki packets out… arranged them in her hand… Again…

“Chikki ghya… Chikki… Lonavala chi Chikki…”

None in my compartment seemed interested… She gave a couple of more calls and then turned to move… This time instead of lifting the cloth bag… she dragged it ahead… I got up and followed her form the iron mesh compartment separator… And then as she moved ahead I turned 180 degree to lean ahead from my top berth… She was dragging the cloth bag to each compartment… Managing her Pallu over her head and then the sale call…

“Chikki ghya… Chikki… Lonavala chi Chikki…”

She had reached 5th or 6th compartment from me, almost at last compartment of the Boogie…Thats it!!! I called her…

“O Aaaji!!!” (O Grandma!!!)

She didn’t respond… I gave another louder shout as I got down… The side lower berth guy heard me and got her attention to me… I was busy wearing my shoes so that I can walk to her… Saw her dragging her cloth bag towards me…

“Thamba Aaaji, me yeto…” (Please wait Grandma, I will come there…)

She continued to drag the bag towards me… I hopped in one shoe towards her…

With my regular Pune-Mumbai travels, I knew all the flavors of Chikki… But I let her complete her list of offerings… and then made my typical favorite choice… Bought three packets instead of one… She turned back to go ahead and I took the side lower seat to tie the lace of shoe and then wore the other one… Still watching her… as she turned towards the toilets to cross-over to next boogie… I thought for a while and then followed back… She had kept all the sample Chikki packets back in the cloth bag… re-arranged her Saree and Pallu… Stood still… Took a deep breath… And then lifted the bag over her shoulder…

I stepped forward…

……… Continued on Page 2

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One Response

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  1. I find your experience satisfying and reminds me of the best part of a train journey. I was thinking to day my train travel from Dadar to Madras in 1970. Chikki with its glucose sweetness and groundnut smell made me to remember Lonavla as chikkivla. From Lonavla the repacking operation and getting ready to get down at Dadar over shadowed the journey .

    I liked your experience. Thanks for reminding the good old days.

    S.Krishnan

    March 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm


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