Off we go on our evening walk. It is drizzling. We head out towards 8th Cross, the “M G Road” of Malleswaram. The Margosa trees keep the drizzle away, but only until 9th Cross. I hear him before I see him. Tan tanna tan tan. And repeat. As we turn the corner onto 8th Cross, there he is. A kerosene lamp on his cart burning bright. Swish, swosh, swish, swosh are the sounds made by his ladle, as he sends the peanuts scurrying from one side of his pan to the other, and back again. Hot, fresh, salted peanuts. Heaven! His deft and experienced hands make three of those long, but thin paper potlas, cones, neatly folded in at the top, in quick succession. My potla is empty in a flash. Hands held out , and to my left and right, get me a few more more peanuts, and these are then savoured, one by one.
This is a brief recollection of just one of the rainy May/June evenings in the 70’s while visiting Bangalore. A lot of my time was spent in my grandmother’s home on Margosa Road. The transition from getting to play cricket, hockey, football, pithoo, eyes-pais – late into the evening in the Delhi summer to rainy evenings every day in Bangalore was quite frustrating for me. The kadlekayi made up somewhat for it! 🙂
Final word: Well, the evening rain is back in Bengaluru (the North-East monsoon), and I got to sample the wares of one such kadlekayi vendor yesterday. He seems to have mastered the art of holding the potla while filling it such that not a single peanut makes it past the middle. His way to make more profit from the Rs. 10 that he earned from the sale. 🙂