Chintan – Idli/Vadai wallah.

This is Chintan. Another one of Pune’s Pheirwallah entrepreneurs. He is a particularly important contact for me as he supplies home made stape food for many people from the South of India living alone in hostels, and fellows like me, too lazy to prepare the two vital items that my father simply adores.

In the picture, he is doling out idlies. These are steamed rice/lentil cakes.

He also supplies Medhuvadais.

He plies his trade on bicycle and announces his arrival with a bicycle air horn

He supplies accompanying coconut chutney and sambhar free of charge!

The two stainless steel vessels that hang from the handlebars contain sambhar and chutney. Behind him on a side saddle, he has his stock of vadais.

Chintan comes from deep down Tamil Nadu. His clientele however is eclectic as, though idlies and vadais are South Indian dishes, they have now become ubiquitous throughout India. Chintan grinds the dough for his dishes every evening in an electric wet grinder.

The grinding is actually done with a stone grinder and it is quite an engineering feat to have developed a modern equivalent to the old stone grinders that I have seen my mother use to grind dough.

Purists would still insist on using the old stone grinders!

Chintan’s wife steams/fries the idlies and vadais early in the morning while Chintan prepares the chutney and the sambhar. By 8.00 am Chintan is off on his bicycle and normally sells his entire stock off by around noon. He then returns home, which is about five kilo meters from our township to rest and organise for the next day.

Chintan is the third from his family who have been supplying me with idlies and vadais. His cousin and his uncle before him handed over this beat to him and moved on to other townships in an ever expanding city. There are now six of them vending the same stuff in different localities.

I would be hard pressed to satisfy my father’s craving for these dishes without Chintan playing his role in my life.

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