Just a few minutes ago, I had this urge or a kind of an obsessive compulsion to drink coffee from the new CCD vending machine. Of course, my mind and heart did not sing the same notes. My mind was mindful of the calories in the cup of coffee but my heart was with the pleasure in the sip. Just when I was leaving my seat, a conversation picked up and a while went by and I was again in two minds.
I thought aloud about my coffee thoughts and immediately, my friend offered me a box and asked me to snack it.
I looked the box-and-spoon setup eagerly. The spoon was lying supine on the chill steel box. It was resting stylishly, with its lower-head and mid-torso touching the box. The face of the spoon had some white particles and it deceived me into believing that it was a popular South-Indian snack called Puttu—not the piped version, but the powdered version. As opposed to the folks who know the Puttu that is cylindrical, I have always known it only by its powdered form. At least that is how my parents prepared it. For the unknown, whatever the shape of the Puttu is, it is primarily a steamed dish, with its main ingredients being coarsely powdered rice, grated coconut, and my version had sugar as well. If it is a rich man's version, then it had cashews sautéed in ghee.
So, I separated the couples—the spoon and the box, and went into the separation act a further beyond. I removed the lid of the box and in front of my eyes was something that looked very much like Puttu, but it was not snow-white. It was mid-way between white and cream, glistening, and it also had speckles of black sparsely placed.
As is the nature of anyone, I was first devouring the snack with my eyes, wondering how it would taste. Then, immediately, I spaded out a portion with the spoon and passed it on to my mouth. It was hard, like the cold truth as against the soft Puttu, which was like the sweet lie.
For sure it was not Puttu. But then, the glistening part was sugar and the black speckles were that of the coconut skin. So, with most of the constituents figured out, I now delved into understanding what the main part was. It was an enigma in a true sense!
As I was ruminating, the suspense was spread across, as the box travelled to the nearby bays—word-of-mouth marketing! More eyes and taste buds were now examining the make of the snack. The most common guesses of the eyes were that it was Puttu. Some of the buds said it was stale bread powered and garnished with coconut and sugar—that was certainly for the comic reliefs! More guesses came in and none came close to the actual. Finally the hands and mind that made it revealed that it was powdered Murukku (a snack made for Diwali with primary ingredients being urad and rice flour) mixed with all other constituents that most of them rightly guessed.
Later on, I checked to see how many Murukkus were powdered to make a box-full of snack. They were 25. In fact, it would make a good puzzle—how would you fit 25 Murukkus in a medium-sized box?
Altogether, the snack break was a success; kindling all the elements—break from monotony, food for mind and stomach, mild satisfaction for the taste-buds, humor, and all in the right mix.