The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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The sweet game.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
If you want to taste summer-time Delhi, grab a kulfi, the Indian-style ice cream that comes in flavours like pista, rose, cardamom and saffron. Unfortunately, eclipsed by brightly lit ice cream trolleys, kulfi-wallas have become rare, and the ones with something called game-carts still rarer.
Gone are the days when children would run at the first sound of the kulfi walla’s ghanti (bell) to wake up mothers from their afternoon siestas and pester for a rupee. So don’t let the opportunity go if you see a kulfi cart fitted with a desi-style roulette wheel. Drop a coin in the spinning wheel to win as many kulfis as the number on which it comes to rest. If it is the pinball game instead, pray the kancha (small glass ball) lands into the highest value square. So if it's number five, you'll get five kulfis.
One hot summer afternoon, The Delhi Walla discovered such a game-cart in a Bulbuli Khana bylane in Old Delhi. The neighbourhood’s children had surrounded Mr Sumit's cart to play pinball. They were hitting the kancha by pulling a spring attached to a wooden block. The kancha would shoot up, strike the boundary wall and roll down into an array of pins where it might fall into one of the spaces marked with numbers.
Amidst much shoving, I too gave a coin and waited. My kancha reached close to a square that was numbered four but then it refused to move. The kind Mr Sumit discreetly pushed it inside and produced four kulfis from his wooden ice-box. The winning trophies, dipped in milk, were cool, creamy, and sugary. I felt like a champ.
Three times delight
Who will play?
What's your lucky number?
Taking out the trophy
All eyes on the kulfi
My smile is sweeter
And for the sister?
Mr Sumit, the kulfi walla
And one for you