Everyone keeps asking me what amazed/thrilled/amused/enthralled me most about India. The culture? The colors? Extraordinary sites steeped in ancient history? The traffic? Usually I say traffic—I mean, lawlessness barely scratches the surface of describing the bright yellow rickshaws and motorbikes triumphantly steered by sari-clad women.
And oh, the honking. All that melodious, soothing, blaring into the eardrum of your soul honking. Discovering new depths of sound saturation has been crossed off my bucket list, yay.
But naturally food reigned triumphant over all. Despite the family emergencies and various stresses that cropped up while there, food was my saving grace and ever-nurturing companion through thick and thin. And once I uncovered the presence of chaat, my fluttery soul tethered its wings in satiated bliss. You see, as far as I can recall, chaat (a sweet and spicy mixture of yogurt, chutneys, and/or potatoes, garbanzo beans, crispy fried dough/bread/noodles, onions, and so on) has been a coveted treat in my household. Whenever we made a trip to the “Little India” hotspots in southern California (shout out to Cerritos! Holla!) or even to our local Pakistani/Indian vendors (India Sweets & Snacks, I still ponder over your choice in paintings), chaat always found a way into our sights, mouths and tummies. Occasionally in the car ride home too. Continue reading