It has been raining not cats and dogs, but tigers and ware wolves in my part of the world. I was staring at my laptop, trying to figure out exactly what I needed to and didn’t need to put in a technical document I was supposed to be preparing. Confused that I was, and having missed my evening tea, I felt a little cranky (as I always do by evening) and it took me some time to realize that the bangs I was hearing were those of thunder, and not of some AR Rahman fan playing “Jai Ho!” outside. (I didn’t like that song very much, by the way, did you?) Rain! This was a sure indication from god that a break was in order; so I decided to brave the mini storm and ventured out hoping to catch hold of the lady who serves hot chili bajjis outside my office.
As I stood munching on the bajjis (which were quite nice), I saw a group of kids splashing and squealing in the water, and it reminded me of my son saying “Jumping in the water, splish splash splosh!” every time he managed to get rid of my hand holding his, and wet his feet in the puddles formed by the rains. I had a sudden urge to join the children, to let the wind carry away my umbrella and to look right up to the skies, arms spread out (the way the ladies do in Bollywood movies). But at my age, that would have been inappropriate, so I did not act on my fantasy, but continued to munch on the bajjis in a dignified manner (or as dignified as one could appear standing on the road side eating bajjis).
On my way back to office and the dreary document, I mused about those days in the past when a rainy day would have been an excuse for long, lazy drives and holding hands and stealing quick kisses. (I was under the effect of the rain and “Ho gayi hein muhabbat, tumse” on the radio!). But today, whenever it rains, I fantasize about oiling my hair, a nice warm bath, some hot bajjis, a cup of tea, and a cozy nap under the blanket (ahem, by myself). Guess age does that to people or do we become old simply because we stop playing in the rain and going on long drives (what did the lady put in the bajjis, I am getting philosophical here?) Either ways, I am just thankful I am not yet old enough to start complaining about body aches when the weather gets chilly.
If you have walked the earth as many years as I have, you probably like to enjoy bajjis and a lovely nap on rainy days as well. To make bajjis,
- Mix together all the ingredients except chilis and oil to form a smooth batter.
- Make a slit along the length of the chili. Remove the seeds inside so that the bajjis are not too hot. Or else, divide each chili into two, lengthwise.
- Heat oil in a wok. Hold the chili by the stalk,dip it into the batter so that it is coated thoroughly, and transfer to the hot oil immediately. Fry till it is brown in colour.
- Remove and drain excess oil on absorbent paper.
- Serve hot with chopped onions, chaat masala and lemon juice or with chutney of your choice.
- You can also fry round slices of potato, onions and even hard boiled eggs this way.