Monday, April 17, 2017

A Déjà vu Moment in Mumbai

Some years ago in Mumbai, on a morning like today, I pined for elusive haladi patra (turmeric leaves) to celebrate Prathamashtami with enduri pitha. The much desired ingredient did not reach my hands in time, but the fall out of the failed search was an article I wrote then, which you may visit by clicking this link:
I had a very similar experience today morning. The Whatsapp chats were choc-a-bloc with wishes and greetings for Odia New Year, also known as Maha Vishuv Sankranti or Pana Sankranti or Chhatua Sankranti. The last two mentioned names have culinary association. The beverage Pana is a nice concoction of many tasty ingredients, the most important of them being bela (Hindi-Bel, Sanskrit-Bilwa, English-Wood Apple). For a pana worth its name, you can manage in the absence of any of these ingredients but for the bela pulp.
The other essential food preparation on the occasion is chhatua or sattu gruel. Chhatua is a flour consisting of a mixture of ground pulses and cereals, in which water, jaggery and condiments are mixed to prepare the yummy gruel, so popular with Odias. Both Pana and Chhatua have their symbolic significance for the celebrations of Maha Vishuv Sankranti, hence I started looking for them frantically this morning.
I consulted Google and scrutinised the maps to locate possible places to find these two items in Mumbai. At last I narrowed my search down to a vegetable market, and headed towards it. I scoured the whole market for the two items, but nowhere could I see any hope of finding them. Exasperated, I asked the last fruit seller I met, if he could tell me whereto find those items in Mumbai. "Dadar" was the prompt reply, and that was my Déjà vu moment.
Going by my previous experience, I didn't try Dadar and headed for home. Idea was to try shopping online . My search for bela drew a blank. But I was lucky to find chhatua (sattu) listed for home delivery. I promptly ordered that and felt happy to have at least one of the two items on the festive day.
My joys evaporated at the time of check out, as I was notified that the earliest time my item would be delivered was tomorrow morning, that is on the day following Maha Vishuv Sankranti.