These days in India there are two ways to enjoy street food. On the street – with all the dirt, grime and thrill of not knowing how you are going to feel the next day. In restaurants and kiosks at malls that use mineral water and gloves to handle the ingredients to create them in a hygienic way. Die hard off the pavement ‘gourmets’ like me will never agree that the mineral water golas ( ice cones) or pani puri tastes anywhere as good as the real street thing. But on the other side of this rebel is a mom - of two semi delicately raised kids- who worries about the many diseases that linger on the ungloved hand as it dunks into the spiced water at a roadside pani puri stand.
The kids needed a haircut so we decided to take a walk to the mall. On the way Ankit and I stopped at a pani puri stand and for the first time in his life he joined me in eating them. In the past I would tell him it was spicy and he would back off and watch me down them. Not last night. He said he was fine with spicy – he is getting so Indian. An internal fight ensued– the kind parents have where your guts and heart fight it out violently FFC style while you keep a straight smiling face. I was going to eat it, but I was strong and used to it, whereas he was my American born filtered water bathed baby. He already had taken a bowl and was ready. I know I will be chided by many for letting him but I did. I joined him too and placated the internal fight with the words “it is good for his immune system”.
Our walk ended at a mall. After the haircuts were done with I noticed a Gola stand. It proclaimed that the ice was made of mineral water and I saw gloves on the man handling the crushed goodness. Both Ankit and Ashvin wanted them. We chose our flavors and sat down to enjoy them. I had had a gola in Delhi last week. It was from a non-mineral water shack and I must say that one tasted so much better. This one however went down easy, way easy as my guts were not wrenched up watching my kids eat them.