Bhelpuriwallah – Mrinalini Harchandrai


Illustration – Illisha Millind Dhond

His tripod stood there

balancing a thali

full of music

he wielded a peeling knife

like a plectrum

flecking aloo and onion

into a conical newspaper horn

he deftly strummed them

into the puffed rice

mixing it up like a DJ

who scratches in a tart crunch

with tamarind chutney,

we stood as audience

letting his notes

dance on our palate,

I passed by today

where he played his solo

to the residents

now it is as bare

as a non-hawking zone,

we look for similar strains

in AC restaurants

where the music that plays

is manufactured.



Mrinalini Harchandrai is an independent copywriter and faculty for copywriting at Ecole Intuit Lab in Mumbai. Her poems have been printed, performed and featured with gallery artwork in India and abroad. Most recently, she was invited as poet delegate at the Goa Arts and Literary Fest, 2016.