A Jhola(satchel) bag with mirror work, a colorful umbrella, junk jewelry, a few books in hand, a confident stride over…..the ‘potholes’ on the road to save her favorite pair of Kohlapuris(a particular style of sandals named after the place of its origin).
Yes!! That’s your quintessential college or university going girl. Every girl who has ever studied in an Indian university or college can connect with that imagery, and at some point of her journey, these worldly possessions defined her existence.
With the end of the school life, everyone starts anticipating the thrills and frills of a college life. I did that too, and it was indeed filled with absolute madness. But it would be incomplete without my gang of girls who I met first for the love of dance, but the strand of friendship was stronger than just a shared passion that drove us together. We shared our secrets and food and also fought each other’s battles.
There was this one incident in college which I recall at the moment: I was immersed in a novel or something as our professor couldn’t make it to the class. It was too late to go anywhere, so we stayed in the room for the next lecture. I was lost in my book when suddenly someone shook me and said “Your friends are fighting won’t you say something?’. I got up and immediately shouted at the wrong person. “Right or wrong,” was something we decided later but we always had to stand up for each other, was the unwritten rule in our friendship. We were each other’s shield, and that’s all that mattered.
Come Saturday and all of us would switch on our ‘fun mode.’ It was a half working, day and our university provided us with a bus that took us to the nearest town. Jorhat, being a small town, it didn’t have the luxury of a mall or a multiplex. Going to a Disc was a far fetched dream. And God forbid if you miss the bus, every jeans pocket or purse needs to be frisked, with the hope of finding at least one coin. You see money was always in short supply, and scholarship money would never be enough. Hence, eating in a restaurant or a shopping center would usually be out of the question. Blessed are these street vendors selling the most finger licking food in the world at such an affordable price. We would still bargain with the seller for an extra puri or some spicy tamarind water.
Every weekend we would go out in a pack of hungry wolves, attacking our neighborhood’s street food. Even though chaat always topped the list, we also craved for roles/wraps/sandwiches from a local bakery cum fast food stall.
Honestly, I miss those carefree college days. There is something about chaat that brings bring back a lot of memories amidst friendly banter. Having chaat becomes an even more memorable experience when shared with people who bring in that carefree laughter.
There can be numerous variations of chaat. The one I am sharing the recipe below is a simple chickpeas chaat enjoyed during one of our chaat expeditions. The usual chickpeas chaat doesn’t use curd. For a vegan version, you can leave out curd. It tastes equally good.
Friendship is almost like a chaat – a crazy mix of sweet, tang, spice, crisp and refreshing memories you can never have enough. Hope your student life was equally exciting if it was, drop a word in the comment section. Happy friendship day everyone!!!!
Quick Chole Chaat
Preparation Time: 15 Mins
Yield: serves 2
Chickpea (1 can) 400 g
Coriander (chopped) ½ cup
Chaat masala ½ Tsp
Red chili powder ¼ Tsp
Curd 2 tbsp (beaten)
Sev (crispy noodles made of chickpeas flour)
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl
- Finely chop onion, tomato, chilis and add them to the chickpeas along with coriander
- Add the powdered spices and juice of half a lime
- Mix well and place in serving bowl. Top it with curd, tamarind chutney, mint chutney and sev .
For a vegan version don’t add curd. The recipe for the two chutneys is in an older blog post.