Me: Can you get me a packet of Pani Puri Masala? Making Pani Puri for the evening snack.

Husband: Sure. Any specific brand?

Me: Everest or MDH

Husband came back from the shop and kept the packet on the dining table. Being busy with work, I didn’t see what he had got. I was drooling since the previous evening when I got the puris, every time I looked at it.. All just visualising eating Pani Puris the next day. Anyway, after completing my household chores, I took the ‘Pani Puri Masala’ packet and looked at it, only to find that it was ‘Pav Bhaji Masala’.. Oh Man!!! (No pun intended:-))

Me: I told you to get Pani Puri Masala. Why did you get ‘Pav Bhaji Masala’?

Husband: Oh, is it? I heard it as ‘Pav Bhaji Masala’.

Me (To myself): Duh!!! No use saying “You didn’t listen to me when I told you what to buy.” Redundant statement as it was clear that he didn’t listen..

Me (aloud): Will you go exchange it?

Husband: Now? Is it urgent? Can’t you keep this Pav Bhaji Masala at home?

Me (to myself): The next few months, once a week will be Pav Bhaji at home, whether anyone likes it or not..

Husband: Well, if you really don’t want it I can go and exchange it at 4 in the evening. (Well, his 4 is my 6 :-))

Me: What if the Pani Puri Masala is not there? It will be a waste to get everything ready and this main ingredient not being there.

Husband: No, no.. It will be there.

Me (to myself): What confidence when we haven’t even seen the packet!!! Any way, one more day of drooling to go.. (and then aloud, so that the boys could also hear it): Ok, so pani puri only tomorrow, everybody..

So that evening, when he sets out to walk our pet dog at 5. 45 (I told you!!), I set out for my walk.. I don’t know what made me say “You check out in the shop and if it is there, exchange the Pav Bhaji masala and I will wait here with Daxter (our pet dog).” He comes back a few minutes later shaking his head as though to say that there was no Pani Puri Masala packet..

Taking a heavy breath, I started on my walk and ‘In Search of Pani Puri Masala’. It was 6 PM and in an hour, shops will be shut down as per government regulations, in respect to Corona Virus.

The first shop I asked in was one of those little shops. Never underestimate these little shops, they may have what the big shops don’t . The shopkeeper nodded his head enthusiastically when I asked him for the Pani Puri Masala. His nod gave me an indication that he had stock of the Pani Puri Masala and so I beamed a smile.. I was eagerly looking at him and as he came to the end of the search I knew that the nod would become a shake..

My mind went on a overdrive in my walk (such an oxymoron!!) .. My walk route changed to roads where I may find shops.. And my smile dropped a little..

The next shop I went to, the help in the shop confidently took me to the shelf that had these masalas arranged; and even more confidently took out a packet and gave it to me. The moment I saw the colour of the packet and the picture on it, my antenna went up. It wasn’t Pani Puri Masala but some Chutney King Masala and the recipe list did not have Pani Puri in it.. The first thought was “What would my husband have done if he was given this packet, by the confident helping hand?.” Well, your guess is as good as mine!! I will have a Pav Bhaji Masala and a Chutney King Masala at home.

The next shop I went to, I was told, “Sold out, madam”. Seriously, lock down period has so many people making Pani Puris at home?

My mind went whirring figuring out what other shops were on the way.. Time was inching closer to 7 PM and I was slowly getting anxious. I could see shutters rolling down in many a shop.. As I reached the Main Road, suddenly I realised that there was a big supermarket nearby. My prayers were in all earnest that the super market should be open and that I would be able to get Pani Puri Masala. No barriers to what we pray for!! Anything can become important to merit a prayer, even a Pani Puri Masala:-)

My first prayer was answered – the supermarket was open.. Went looking for the shelf that contained the masalas.. Many masalas were there except for the one that I was looking for.. My heart missed a beat… And I peered into the shelf.. Is it there? No.. Then I told myself that I will look one last time.. I looked slowly at one line after the other.. Suddenly my eyes landed on one brand of Pani Puri Masalaand then another and then another. I did a little dance and said a whispered a “Yes”. What an achievement!!!

That typical mind which wants more, when it gets what it wants, after a long search. I was tempted to pick one more Pani Puri Masala packet, just in case the first one gets over.. Had to stop myself from doing that..

I walked out of the supermarket beaming a smile and a jump in my step.. As I walked back home, all the while making sure that the packet was safe in my hand, I went back to the journey ‘In Search of Pani Puri Masala’..

What even made me hunt so much for the Pani Puri Masala? I realised that I had got the puris to make Pani Puri at home on a particular day.. It couldn’t be made that day or the next. But then it can’t be kept for more period that that without being consumed, according to me.. Seems to be one kind of instant gratification..

It suddenly struck me that if something had to be got, the mind sets itself in motion to pursue that.. We are quite unconscious of the determination that has taken root in the mind. That determination sets the wheels in motion thru the various steps that are taken.. When what was determined for was achieved, big or small, there are those few moments of satisfaction, contentment and joy that makes us a little more softer, a little more flexible and a little more smiling.. And of course for me, a blog!!!