Flavours of a memorable childhood (A Matri-RoohAfza Tale)

Matri, ketchup and bachpan

Growing up in the 80s-90s, many a Sunday as a child was spent snacking on matri, as us kids huddled in front of the television to catch the Ramayan/Mahabarat/cartoon series. The matri was always had with ketchup (Maggi tomato sauce – if I remember correctly) and washed down with a chilled glass of RoohAfza. It was a ritual of sorts and something that is intrinsically linked to some rather fond memories of peaceful, happy time.

Matri – I don’t know how else to call it. Typically made of maida (refined flour), it also has ajwain, salt & oil, with some carom seeds thrown in for added flavour. Rolled into discs or shaped into small windmills/sticks, they’re fried into a delicious snack. I didn’t know all this as a child. Back then, this was a yummy snack that a friend’s mom would make and keep in her dabba. I don’t recollect when I had it for the first time as a kid either. All I know is that I was hooked onto that snack for life.

Last year, a chance meeting with that friend and her parents brought back all those wonderful memories of times past. I don’t remember if I told them, but I’d tried to find matri that tasted just as nice as it did back then, but had turned up blank. Recently though, I discovered them at this delightful piece of savoury-sweet heaven named Gulati’s. Based off Sher-E-Punjab in Andheri East, opposite the Gurudwara, they’re famous for their mithai, Samosa and Chole-Kulcha’s. Given their pedigree, I couldn’t help but pick up a packet of matri from them.

I took a piece, dipped it into some ketchup and I went into instant flashback mode, a-la, Anton Ego from the iconic 2007 masterpiece – Ratatouille. The memories of those amazing time, with all the other associations returned in a flood. The warm smile on the face stayed late into the night. I was happy at being reunited with this memory and wished that the RoohAfza memory too could be relived someday.

RoohAfza back then, was had in a steel glass, narrow at the bottom & wide at the top. But it was the way my friend’s mom made it that was special. They had this Kelvinator refrigerator, with the ice-trays made of aluminium and removable grid of plastic separators. The ice-cubes that came out of them were square, not too tall and rather small in size. The flavours, the sound the ice-cubes made as the trays were flexed to coax them into falling into the glass resonate just as fresh as they did back then.

A snap was clicked and shared with my friend, resulting in some warm, happy messages and a flood of memories separated by a few thousand kilometres. Sleeping off later that night, I couldn’t help but smile at the flavours of a memorable childhood…

I wonder if you guys might have such memories that you’d be willing to share… Hit me up if you’re interested, would love to learn of, and celebrate…

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