Picture this: A crowded Saturday market in Belagavi’s busy Ganpat Galli….anytime in March-April-May. Hang around the corner from the fag end of Ganpat Galli towards Kambli Khut and take a deep breath. An infusion of smells hits your nose that makes you crave for all that is available there. Walk further across Rajpurohit Dry Fruits. Look out for those subtle hints of smell.
Yes, you’re right there, amidst the haute cuisine of Belagavi. Women, men, children squatting on the roadside and offering the summer delights , so exclusive for this area. Indian Blackberry – Jambhul, Cranberries – Karvande- both raw green and ripe black, Jackfruit arils- gare, Dhamne ( Don’t know what it’s called, but it resembles red buttons shaped like the figure 8), Chare ( the Buchanania fruits whose seeds are the nutty Charoli or Chironji used in Srikhand), the invitingly beautiful Kairis – raw mangoes and gooseberries that stimulate your taste buds with mere mentions. Shahapur Market also offers fresh stuff from Yellur area. Station area is where you can find most of the Cashew apples – those orange fruits that leave a strong taste in your mouth. And most of this stuff is sold in eco-friendly leaves, something we must be proud of. You just can’t imagine these berries being sold in malls, carefully packed in air-tight plastic bags that you pick up and bring home, only to eat it like some disinfected stuff. There is fun in holding a leaf cone in your hand, get drenched in the juices, some stains on your dress for effect and a coloured mouth for company.
Many would recall an old lady who’d carry a huge cane basket on her head and go about selling her ware saying something like “Kanbargi Kavlihanne….SSSSSS”. Do you miss that clarion call that woke you up on those boring summer noons? One can still spot the hand carts selling Jambhuls and Blackberries.
A lot of children would still rue the fact that they invariably appear in the noons , sounding a very sweet bell, when the elders are in deep slumber and kids can’t buy this stuff. So is it with the Baraf-ka-gola, that sinfully colourful grated ice with slurpy syrup poured over it. What fun to watch the mouth turn a funny pink or red or yellow with its colour. Although branded ice creams have become the norm, there is fun in lying your hands on that butter paper clad white Femila ice cream sold on the push-cart that made a loud thud every time the seller closed its lid. One can spot that cycle riding salesman selling a tower of funky pink candy floss or Buddhi Ke Baal, and kids salivating at its sight. Even the memories of its melting in your mouth have the potential to bring a smile on your face. Whilst the Kheera – Valuk and the water melon still dominate the roads, it’s these humble cousins that rule our hearts, atleast for now.
Many of us have guests coming over for Summer Holidays and preferring these delights over the universal Pizza-Coke treats. They would never find all of these at one place anywhere else in the metros. If anyone wants some more reasons for not being able to lift the second leg from Belagavi, this is it!
Photo courtesy: Santosh Purohit & Team AAB