Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One sultry Wednesday evening……………..

…… I stepped out on to my balcony the smell of fried fish drifted upwards from the road below. The vendor, a middle aged man who sports a Veerappan moustache, had conveniently set up his stall near the wine shop across the road from our apartment. The fish, five rupees each, came wrapped in old newspaper with some onions and a slice of lemon. If you are a regular customer you might even get an extra lemon. Although a bit on the salty side the fish is tasty, cheap, good value for money, and a big hit with the boozehounds who patronize the wine shop as day turns into night and shadows become relatively longer. I secretly wonder if the fish man and the wine shop fellas are business partners. Because, you see, the saltier the fish is, the thirstier one becomes, and with a wine shop at arm’s length all one have to do is ask for another bottle of whatever one’s poison is. And what’s the point in drinking if one doesn’t have snacks to keep the mouth busy, and what better snack than a good non-vegetarian one?

I see him now; briskly doing his business, taking less than a minute to wrap a fish, and exchanging conspiratorial smiles with his co-conspirators, the liquor barons. The wine shop will close at 11 pm, and he will push away his trolley and go home to his family, and will lie in bed and smile and think of another successful evening gone by.


  1. Hmmmm never thought of that. A conspiracy theory between a salty fish vendor and a liquor baron. How are you supposed to eat the fried fish btw? Just like that on the road?

  2. You make such a curious observation. Science zirmi ni la, i ril ngot ang :). Chhiar a nuam thin e.

  3. J, the world is full of conspiracies, if you take the time to look. Yeah and the fish should be eaten "just like that', right there on the road. It's India, you know, so anything goes.

    Vana - A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I studied science and all its complexities. But it never brought out the curiosity in me. I just needed time to be myself, I guess, not to have something thrown on you.

  4. Funny now that you've mentioned it, I've always noticed a guy with a trolley selling snacks next to a Wine Shop I frequent. he sells stuff like dalmut and the likes, those salty fried (or dried) green-peas, the red ones, Moong Dal aka babutea Hnapkhir (I think that is one of the grossiest names we Mizos have given to an eatable..:P).
    Maybe they do have a similar kinda arrangement, well.. to each his own, I say, cos' we all gotta pay the rent!!

  5. blackestred -babutea hnapkhir hahaha ... so long since I heard the term.. And how did I overlook that ever present chana vendor? Good that you mentioned it, because I think he too is a part of the conspiracy. And there is also that fellow who sells all kinds of chips. Let us also include him. The network may be even much larger than we'll ever know.

  6. What an interesting observation! :-)

    It is a known fact that the ciggy shop wallah and the booze shop owners are in cahoots with each other, because one supplements the other. Fish? Now that is something new. I personally dont eat fish with my drinks but love the occasional fish fingers at restobars. Nevertheless that was a good observation.

    You seem to have a lot of time to kill. lolz. just joking :-)

  7. Ah yes the paan-dukaan fellows, another vital element of the conspiracy, the backbone of the organisation. Without them where would wine shops be?

    I do have about an hour in the evenings before I start dinner and that's when you'd find me standing on the balcony enjoying the warm breeze and watching various disasters unfold below.