Alu Moori wala
Blog Stories - People Called Shillong
It was a usual day for Tanisha, bright and sunny, with lots of greenery, surrounding the borders of Meghalaya, mesmerized her on her way to Shillong. She got admission in one of the reputed colleges in Shillong and therefore along with her luggage, she was going to shift in the hostel for her further studies. It was a new state, new surrounding and new people for Tanisha, who understood that she is obviously going to learn and explore the new possibilities and experiences here.
When she reached Police Bazaar, initially it was difficult for her to settle things down, especially the areas and places, but with the cooperation of the locals, it seemed very easy. Days passed like this, running around the nook and corners of Police Bazaar, because it was the centre point of Shillong and for her too. Every day after college, it was fun time to explore around. But one thing, got stuck to her mind, was the street foods, being foodie, it had always been her centre of attraction. Because they always had an extra twist in their recipes which those lavish restaurants can never produce.
It was her seniors from whom she heard about “Alu Moori” (potatoes and puffed rice with spices) which one should try if they had ever visited Shillong. So one day she with her friends, decided to try Alu Moori. He always used to put his stall beside the Hindi Medium School, where he had a large number of customers, starting from the younger children to teenagers like us. It was just 10 rupees, very affordable and very instant to meet our needs for tasty and spicy snacks. He never skipped any days whether it is raining or a usual sunny day, except for once in a while, which exhibited his dedication towards his work.
He had always been very fast in mixing those ingredients and serving it within five minutes was quite appreciable. Because street foods are meant for the purpose of how instantly and quickly one can serve to their customers. But one day, when she was on her way to college, she saw that a new Bhaiya was putting up his stall in that place, which actually struck her mind about those street vendors, who didn’t usually have fixed places to continue their business smoothly. So she went and asked him about the Alu-Moori wala, and he simply replied that this place is not owned by anyone and therefore, putting up his stall was not an offense. This actually made her sad for the fact that where he could continue to sell his authentic dish.
However, she was getting late, so she proceeded further, thinking of the incident. Bit after her classes, she thought to have a glimpse of the Alu-Moori wala bhaiya. And suddenly she saw that even though he was not in his usual place rather a bit far but the number of customers were the same as usual. This showed her how the taste had made people recognize him as the Alu-Moori wala of Shillong. So she too ordered one Alu moori and she began to ask about the morning incident regarding the occupying of the place. From his appearance, it was lamentable but it never appeared in his words. He told her that what is about the place, the main thing which we should be concerned about is our hard work and the determination to achieve it. This actually inspired her a lot because she could see in his eyes the level of determination, which he was carrying with such a grace. It actually became her first chapter in her book of experiences. He told her that he was doing this job when he was in his 30s, and he had so many changes and development throughout Shillong. He still remembers when he first thought to open such a stall, because Alu-Moori was something very new to the people of Shillong. Therefore, in this busy pace of life, there are people who can actually give us the most important lessons of life. They are not any politician, teachers, lecturers but they are a part of our day to day life like milkman (early risers), sweepers and garbage collectors (cleaners of our surroundings) and so many social workers. They all actually teach us that we should love our work and never consider the person to be a mere Alu-Moori wala, Doodhwala, or sweeper. Because what they had experienced in their life is something we never had thought about. And what Tanisha experienced is what we all experience but some members and others just ignore.