Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Delicious Love Story – “SPDP”

Short Fiction  Foodie Love Story

Here is an amusing love story from my Creative Writing Archives:
I started writing this story 12 years ago  in the year 2006  after enjoying a delicious SPDP at to my favourite Vaishali Restaurant in Pune  but I left the story incomplete. 

I wonder why I did not complete this story – but then that happens to many of my stories

Then  after a gap of three years  in the year 2009  I completed the story.

I am posting this delicious Foodie Romance once more for you to read.

Do tell me if you like this delicious love story...

SPDP – LIP SMACKING ROMANCE : A Delicious Love Story By Vikram Karve


That’s right – SPDP...!
You know what SPDP is  don’t you...?
You don’t...? 

Don’t tell me you don’t know what SPDP is...!

I’m sorry.

Maybe you are not a Punekar.

And  if you do live in Pune  and you still don’t even know what SPDP is  then it’s a pity – a real pity...!
SPDP = Sev Potato Dahi Puri – that’s what the acronym SPDP stands for.

Why ‘Potato’...?

Why not ‘Batata’...?

Well  I do not know – you’ll have to ask the guys at Vaishali – or – whoever invented SPDP.
Now  please don’t tell me you don’t know what Vaishali is...?

That’s being real daft and clueless  isn’t it...?

Well  Vaishali is the landmark restaurant on Fergusson College Road which serves the best and tastiest SPDP in the world – no doubt about it...!
And  talking about taste  do you know how many basic tastes there are...?
“Four...!” you will rattle out.

And  you will proudly tell me the four tastes  as if you were a know-it-all: 

“Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter.”
Well  my Dear Reader  you are wrong...

There are five primary tastes:

1. Sweet 
2. Sour 
3. Salty 
4. Bitter
5. Umami

You have never heard of it...?

Well – if you haven’t heard of Umami  I can tell you one thing: “Besides being a clueless lost case  you are no ardent foodie for sure...!”
Umami is the unique tingling ‘savouriness’ or ‘deliciousness’ of Oriental Cuisines.

Well  let’s forget all that mumbo-jumbo. 

If you really want to know what Umami is  just go down to Vaishali  order an SPDP  and gently put a portion of the SPDP in your mouth.

Then close your eyes  and roll the delectable SPDP till it dissolves on your tongue.

You will experience the taste of Umami’...
Now talking of rolling the SPDP on your tongue – have you noticed that as you roll your food on your tongue – the taste of the food changes  and the flavour varies  as the food interacts with different regions of your tongue...?

Does food taste different as you roll it on your tongue at different places?

The ‘Tongue Map’ – have you ever heard of it...?
You haven’t...?

Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of the Tongue Map...?

Hey  you are a real dumbo  aren’t you...?

Okay – let me educate you a bit.

Just try out this yummy scrummy mouth-watering experiment.

Take some spicy chatpata food  like Bhel, Chaat, or SPDP  and put some on your tongue.

Never heard of these things...?

I knew it.

But not to worry  it doesn’t matter. 


It’s okay. 

It just doesn’t matter...!

You can discover the taste of Umami’...

You can do this eating experiment with Chopsuey – Yes  Yes  the usual American Chopsuey you get at these ubiquitous Chinese eateries proliferating like hobgoblins all over the place.

Close your eyes.

Yes  you must close your eyes to heighten your awareness  your mindfulness.

Now focus inwards to accentuate your gustatory, kinaesthetic and olfactory sensations  and gently press the rich juicy scrumptious Chopsuey against your palate with the tip of your tongue.

It tastes heavenly doesn’t it...?

That’s Umami – Yes  the taste you are experiencing is called UMAMI...!
Now slowly roll the Chopsuey backwards to the right side of your tongue  and notice how the sweetness enhances.

Then move the Chopsuey towards the back of your tongue  and relish the tangy sweetish-sourness  the inimitable sweet and sour flavour.

Then roll the Chopsuey to the left  towards the back of your tongue  and experience a tinge of delicious subtle bitter flavour.

Then  you move the delectable melange forward on your tongue  towards the left side of your tongue  soak up the tingling vitalizing scrummy saltiness  till you once again experience the intense lip-smacking luscious flavoursome savouriness of Umami’...
That’s exactly what I am doing here right now  sitting on a lovely rainy evening at my favourite table in Vaishali Restaurant on Fergusson College Road in Pune.

I let the exquisite tingling mouth-watering portions of SPDP dissolve on my tongue  my eyes closed – my senses focussed inwards  luxuriating in sheer epicurean bliss, trancelike ecstasy, epiphany...

Suddenly  unwittingly  on the spur of the moment  I open my eyes  and I am totally astonished – I am shocked out of my wits  baffled and dazed  to see Priyamvada standing at the entrance.

Yes  it is her – Priyamvada. 
Instantaneously  I avert my eyes  try to hide myself in the SPDP in front of me  wishing, hoping against hope, hoping that it is not her, and slowly, furtively, with tremors of trepidation, I glance, through the corner of my eyes, a fleeting look, and my hopes are dashed, my worst fears come true, it is indeed her, no doubt about it.

And  the delicious zesty SPDP turns tasteless in my mouth  like cud  and I wish the ground beneath me opens up and swallows me in. 
I wish she doesn’t see me  so I look away – I try to hide.

I do not want to meet her.

Tell me  which loser wants to meet a winner...?

Have you ever seen a failure attending a reunion...? 

And  even if a failure attends a reunion – have you seen him enjoying it...?

At this stage of my life  I avoid people who are more successful than me.

Is it not true...?

The company of those who are less accomplished than you is always more comforting  at least for losers and “failures” like me.
Suddenly  I sense that she is near me.

Hesitantly  I look up.

We look at each other.

Priyamvada has blossomed. 

She looks exquisite  even more beautiful than before – radiant, slick, chic, booming with confidence – she is all the things that I am not.
“Hi Praveen,” she says excitedly, “what a surprise...!”
“Yes,” I say nonchalantly.
“Hey  what’s the matter...?  Are you not happy to see me...? Won’t you ask me to sit down...?” she says.
“Of course I am happy to see you. I’m sorry  but I was lost in my thoughts. Please do sit down and join me,” I say.
“Wow...! Having SPDP...? I too will have an SPDP...” she says cheerfully the moment she sits down opposite me.
“You like SPDP...?”
“I love SPDP. Especially the SPDP in Vaishali – it brings back nostalgic memories too...!”
“Nostalgic memories...?”
“Vilas saw me for the first time right here – while I was having SPDP with my college gang.”
“Vilas fell in love with me – love at first sight.”
“So he told his parents.”
“Vilas told his parents that he wanted to get married to me.”
“Vilas told his parents that if at all he ever got married  it would be to me  otherwise he will not marry anyone else.”

“His parents were delighted as he had been rejecting marriage proposals for years  he was avoiding marriage on some pretext or the other. So his parents found out about me from my college and they landed up at my place to ask for my hand in marriage.”
“And you jumped...?”
“Yes  you jumped with joy at the golden opportunity. And so you dumped me without a thought  and you got married to a man twice your age...!”
“Twice my age...? What nonsense. Vilas wasn’t twice my age  he was just 30.”
“And you...? You were just a teenager then. Bloody cradle-snatcher...!”
“I wasn’t a teenager. I was 20.”
“It’s the same thing.”
“Praveen. Tell me  why are you still so bitter even today...? Just forget it...!”
“Forget it...? How can I forget it...? You broke my heart.”
“Broke you heart...? I broke your heart...?”
“I was in love with you. We were in love with each other.”
“Love...? Come on, Praveen. It was just infatuation – one sided inchoate infatuation.”
“One sided infatuation...? I am sorry to hear that. I am really sorry to hear that. And then it was not only that. You made me the laughing stock of society. Not only me – you caused embarrassment to my whole family – you made them look like a laughing stock too...!” 
“What do you mean...?”
“You have the audacity to ask me What do I mean’...? You know what I mean...!” I say.
“What...?” she asks.
“You know how it was then. A boy rejecting a girl is okay  but a girl rejecting a boy...? And that too in Madiwale Colony – you can’t even imagine the unimaginable agony I suffered. I became the laughing stock of town – not me alone  our whole family had to suffer the embarrassment. I couldn’t even walk the streets peacefully without sensing those unspoken taunts and unseen jeers. It was terrible – it was really cruel of you...” I say.
“I am sorry. I did not mean to hurt you. But I never wanted to marry you,” she says.
“Then why did you say ‘YES’...?” I ask.
“I don’t know. My parents were in a hurry. They showed me your photograph – it was all so confusing,” she says taking a sip of water, “Please let’s talk something else.”
“No. I want to know why you ditched me for that richie-rich IT Czar tycoon. Was it just the money...? Or was it the lure of a luxurious life in America...?”

“See  you cannot accuse me of ditching you – we were not formally engaged – I had just informally said ‘YES’ to my parents – I just told them that I like you – that is all – and then Vilas proposed to me...”

“And it was his money  and he being an NRI from America  that settled the issue  and you dumped me.”
“No. It’s not that. You were too mediocre...” she says.
“Mediocre...? I had passed out from an IIT...!” I protest.
“So what...? Remember when I asked you what your plans were – and do you know what you said...? The way you told me your philosophy of life...” she says.
“Philosophy of life...? I think I just said that I never plan anything  that I just flow along  and I take life as it comes...” I say.
Priyamvada looks at me – and she says: “Oh yes  just flow along. No ambitions. No aspirations. No dreams. No desire to achieve anything in life. Well  I always wanted to get out of the middle class – I wanted to have success and prosperity – I wanted to see the world – I wanted to enjoy the good things in life. I did not want to spend my entire life going nowhere with an apathetic husband like you with no plans in life – and I certainly did not want to waste my life listening to your sermons on thrift and frugality.” 

Priyamvada pauses for a moment  and then she continues speaking, “I am so sorry  but in life one has to be rational  isn’t it...? One has to have plans in life.”
“Oh, yes. Plans in life...!” I say caustically, “And looking at you it is evident that all your plans seem to have worked pretty well…”
I stop speaking at once  because  seeing the sudden transformation in the expression on her face  I instantly know that I have said something terribly wrong. 

Priyamvada does not want me to see the tears well up in her eyes.

So she looks down into her plate  and she tries to eat.

For some time there is silence. 

Grotesque silence. 

Then Priyamvada looks up – and she says: “My plans did not work out...

“What...???” I look at her dumbstruck.

“I have left him. Vilas and me are divorced. I have come back to India for good. I was wrong. I did not belong there. I realized I still belong here...” Priyamvada says.

She pauses for a moment.

Priyamvada composes herself  and then she says, “And this SPDP meeting is no genuine coincidence – I contrived the coincidence. I knew you would be here in Vaishali at 6 in the evening after spending your Sunday afternoon reading in the library.

What...? You came here to meet me...? Why...?” I ask.

Praveen  I want to ask you something...” she says.

“I know what you want to ask me 
 and my answer is YES...” I say, looking deep into her eyes.

Priyamvada looks lovingly at me  and she says: “Thank you.” 

I knew you would come back to me. I was waiting for you to come back...” I say.

I pop some SPDP in my mouth.

I let the SPDP disintegrate on my tongue  and I savour the delicious zesty Umami taste.

The zesty SPDP tastes awesome  and I relish the SPDP like I have never relished it before.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This story SPDP was first written by me Vikram Karve 12 years ago in the year 2006, revised in 2009, and earlier posted by me online in my creative writing blogs a number of times including at urls:  and and and etc

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