Jalebi and Philanthropy

Late last year, at my native place, I went out to buy hot samosas. One rupee 50 paise a piece. I have always eaten this guy’s stuff as he makes them hot, crispy, spicy and yum.


Standing there watching him fry them fresh, I happened to look around, and found this.

Can you even count the number of flies in there?


I asked him if he planned to sell the jalebis. He said he may if someone was willing to buy them for less. 5 minutes later, a poor looking old lady showed up and did offer to buy them for less. Now, since I had put some hygiene guilt on my friend’s mind, he gave it all away for free!

“Hmmm, philanthropy, as twisted a concept as jalebi“, I murmured to myself as my friend made the proud donation.


16 Responses

  1. Funny post. Are you sure there were no flies in the stuffing in the samosas? :-)

  2. Fila samosa!!! Wah wah wah

  3. Did u notice his feet placed right next to the samosa dough!!

  4. Guy, no kidding. Seriously, I left those types of observations for (NRIs like?) you. The funny thing is, last few years I have gone there, my increased sense of hygiene makes me look at the very same things I ignored say 10-15 years ago. But then I remember that I have eaten the same stuff made the same way (not the flies laden jalebi!) for ages, and nothing ever happened. So far so good. Dont know why, but when I am back in the environment I grew up in, my hygiene “line” drops to the same old levels.

  5. actually, pranav, my quasi maDivanta granny would frown at these. her reasons would have been firstly it is kardiddu(fried) next holsu.
    ‘you want jilebis? i will make it for you’, would have volunteered my amateur cook granny. (grampa was the master cook in the family).

    my experience here has been that maDivantige ain’t so unique to ajjis.

  6. Pranav: Good pics.. I usually do not look at these things as they take the joy away from eating… (I use the famous “Ostrich head in the ground” theory)…

    Tarlesubba: My granny used to be the same… “yakappa angadi saamanu.. naanu manele madkodtheeni”.. always ignoring the fact that it is this “holsu” that makes it tasty ;-)

  7. TS and Vijay – you are right. On few ocassions, some 20 years back, the lady chefs at home tried churumuri claiming that the churumuri gaadi and the guy are not hygenic. But they could not match the taste. But street churumuri wasn’t (and isn’t) as bad as these jalebis look like.

  8. This man gave away disease to the old lady, wonderfully assisted by Silk Board or whatever. I bet he was more than happy to see the flies, so that he could take a picture and show it around.. look look i have fly jalebi picture.. is there such a thing as shame?

  9. Aha, the NRI is back. Biraadar, let me tell you what happened next. I advised that lady to not buy those jalebis. She said I shouldn’t bother, she will take care to wipe them clean of flies. Asked her what if I buy her some cleaner food. She said give me the money instead, I will look for similar bargains everyday and make your aid run longer.

    The incident reminded me of this may-be not-very, but somewhat similar event 23 years ago. Winter vacations, with my granny in her village, the year Indira Gandhi died. Dinner or Lunch leftover from previous day or older – my granny used to give it away to the maid. I had asked her, “why do you give it to her when you think we can’t eat it ourselves”. Answer, “If she is okay eating it, I see it as help for her. If she wants to, she can always throw it away”.

    Good answer, or no good, I have still not concluded on that.

  10. Arun talking on that subject, I still eat gaadi chaats and churumuri. Vijay, yes, thinking too much about it takes that fun away (though these jalebis were a bit much). Tarle, I think we all know what makes them tastier than “manele maadkotheeni” stuff!

  11. Arun: Yeech.. I thought I was the only one who had gone thru the “Churumuri at home” torture.. good to have some company… :-)

  12. ok this is going to be sacrilegious but hey here goes.
    I am a heretic. I pray at the altar of mane churumuri. And I must say my family, does too. Infact, my bhaava makes mane bhajji while I make mane churumuri.

    I am not even aiming for the beedi churumuri. Once that is clear, once I know where I stand in relation to beedi churumuri, then I am free. No two makes taste the same. No two makes have the same ingredients. So I have tried all – voggarNe, with arshina, with black pepper, mangLoor style with voNa kobbari, with chakli with the various residual chutney from the afternoon ooTas, chutney puDi and menthe puDi based, solpa beLLuLLi and so on.

    Back to beedi ones here are my recos..
    #1. Car Street udupi. Udupi on car street right in front of that famous hotel (mitra samaj?) try coastal churumuri
    #2. Durgad Bail Hubli. this one is called girmiTT. Now in HD girmiTT loyalties are fierce. They eat their girmiTT with mirchi and bhajjis. Very potent combo. (We have regular sabhas of these at home.) But believe you me, you want, to try the durgad bail hubLi girmitt. He serves them with succulently marinated chillis. Bar none this has to be the best take on manDakki – and I have eaten churumuri all over the place.

  13. I had really liked those churmuri pics that you had put sometime back.. These were somehow not-digestable-ones! It reminds me those colorful miTaayis in the jaatre! :-)
    OMG! Next time when I eat Jalebi, pls bestow me some good memory loss ;-)

  14. Silkboard,

    Probably u should have not let the old lady buy those infected stuff. U could have compensated the guy by paying probably just Rs. 50, and told him to throw that stuff and see to it that he redoes the jelebis and covers them properly with maybe a plastic. U could have advised him about the ill effects of flies sitting on jelebis and how it could spoil people’s health, maybe his own friends’, relatives’ health. Given that u were the more literate guy, u could have done something. Maybe u might have thought of it but felt shy to do this. But small things count, and in this case could have saved someone health and the guy might have learnt something for life.

  15. Bangalorean, I did try (see a later comment). That was my point about philanthropy, it isn’t as straightforward a thing. You go to the hinterland (my fav word for poor centers), you see them drinking water from dirty ponds, you see folks eat things like this, and you go, let me save them from getting sick. Well, they prefer something to nothing, as long as the cost they are paying isn’t too high. When you get into the situations like above, tell me how it goes for you!

  16. probably u r right silkboard, cant tell much to people especially when they dont want ur advice. I tried to tell a chat person (in rajajinagar) to keep a cleaner jar for drinking water, but as a regular visitor i still find that he hasnt changed it. probably he doesnt want to spend on cleanliness, maybe its his shortsightedness. but people still drink from it, even students from a nearby college (and we talk of literacy). the only thing i could achieve out of my advice was to get my gang of friends to never drink the water, though they were cursing me after having hot chats (khara). now the knowledge has spread and still today, after 8-9 years none of them drink water at hinterland, and they remember me everytime. they also claimed that they could maintain their health just by not drinking such water even though they eat at such places.

    “its hard to make 1 person follow me instantly, but if i just walk, 1000 people follow me after some days”. SO I WALK ALONE.

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