Pakoras may have been one of the most popular snacks of India. But it has now been dropped from the menu of all the eateries across the country. Pakoras have also vanished from the shelves of even small time eateries as well as from street side push carts. All of a sudden, selling pakoras, or for that matter even eating this snack is being looked down upon. Hence this development.
All this, thanks to former finance minister P. Chidambaram who obliquely hinted that selling pakoras is akin to begging. In his over zealous attempt to demean prime minister Modi, he equated selling pakoras to begging. This was in response to Modi’s suggestion that even selling pakoras is a job.
Common people, oblivious to the happenings, are still ordering pakoras in restaurants only to be told that it is not available. Customers are accusing restaurant owners of denying them the delight of eating their staple tea time snack of crispy pakoras. Up-market restaurants, where too pakoras are popular and much in demand, have found a way out. They have introduced a new item called “Deep fried golden brown onion, potato or cauliflower fritters with mint chutney”. The manager of one of these restaurants in the capital spilt the beans. “It is just the same. But with the new and exotic name, the demand has gone up further. We have doubled the price too. It is now three hundred rupees for a portion”.
Situation in other places is interesting as well. Most of the small food joints have stopped selling pakoras too, out of their owners’ fear of getting branded as beggars. As one of them put it – “I have been selling pakoras since two decades. My shop is famous for crispy pakoras. I have built houses and accumulated lot of wealth only by selling pakoras. I am richer than many politicians. Still, I don’t want to be called a beggar and therefore am stopping selling pakoras”. When asked how he would make money in future, he said, “I will call them bhajji!”
Meanwhile, BJP is planning to assemble all pakora sellers in front of Congress offices to protest against Chidambaram’s jibe, which is now interpreted as the official point of view of the Congress party. At an individual level, Chidambaram is displaying withdrawal symptoms, as he has been unable to get pakoras, his favourite snack, from anywhere.