The Dusty Track Saga Of Peda Chowk

Travel turns out to be an approach for accumulating experiences when you start capturing the portraits that you get to see may be on the halts or while speeding by during your journey. I generally enjoy road trips the most, as you have choices to stop by at the spots you prefer and take in the boons around.


Like every year, this year too the road trip from Patna to Darbhanga and back, for Chhath Puja, unfolded the sequence of stories related to food and places and brought back some exquisite childhood memoirs of the days I used to travel to my village with my parents.

While driving in between the hurdles of vehicles, all rushing to their roots to celebrate the treasured festival of Chhath Puja, on Gandhi setu; we decided to take break and have a tea pakodas on Peda Chowk, a horde of shops explicitly all of them making and selling pedas.

Peda howk falls in the district of Samastipur,  and is a small hamlet majorly dominant of the Bihari Brahmins . Our driver, who was the local of Darbhanga narrated us a very naive story about the progression of Peda chowk. The shopkeepers, now makes and sells pedas here (which is why this minute market hub is now famous as peda chowk), were the thieves in ancient days (not sure how ancient the driver meant by saying ancient days) and used to loot the travellers passing by at twilight. This road which was a mud track then and enclosed by somewhat dense forest. Due to unanticipated poverty because of drought, floods and corrupt politics of the state, the people of the hamlet had to choose the option of theft for survival. But one day a woman from the hamlet exhibited some courage and started selling pedas made of pure milk which she fetched everyday from her cow, to the travellers during the daylight. The pure pedas melting in the mouth of the travellers became a great relief in between the tiring journey and the pedas of the lady became well-known from Patna to Jhanjharpur. This gave a kick to the motivation of the thieves to rather go and do something legal and earn the alms of hard work and honesty. And no one wanted to miss the Sunrise, hence, the peda chowk with lots of peda selling shops along with some tea, nimki, pakodas was established for the passer by’s to take a break and refresh from the exhausting journey.

 


Although the story seems to be quite a saga, but still I am not sure how much certainty or what degree of spices has been blended till the time it reached our ears from the driver. That’s one thing I precisely love about village and the villagers, everyone in the village has some or other tale to narrate about the evolution or settlement of everything around, be it a family, area, roads, markets, etc. Whatever it is, the pedas are a real treat to your senses. You can walk inside the shop and see by yourself the complete preparation of it. The churning of milk in the humongous iron kadahis by long iron spatulas on the enormous mud stoves is an eye experience. The freshly made pedas infront of you from the kadahi and ready to serve mixture of condensed milk and sugar, all hot and soft is being packed instantaneously on orders . A Kg costs INR 350/-.

We alike other travellers, savoured thick tea (with lots of milk) along with kachri/pakodas and got one kg of freshly made hot pedas packed for the family at the peda shop of Jhaji Peda Bhandar. The hoarding of his shop said – Har Har Mahadev, Jai Baba Bholenath; all dedicated to Lord Shiva and Jhajhi Peda Bhandar also caters fresh milk, butter, mixture of condensed milk and sugar to stuff in other sweet delicacies in weddings and needless to mention The pedas , on order. Indeed Jhaji ji did not miss any sunrise or star to expand his business opportunities, which is legal and based on complete hardwork and honesty.

Whatever may the tale is behind the confinement of Peda Chowk, I only see and realize the affirmative and progressive approach towards problems and life. In fact, if surely making pedas and selling them to the travellers as per our super chatty driver, was an idea and initiative of a woman from the hamlet, all the shopkeepers of peda chowk and all the travellers including myself, who have relished the pedas should be obliged and indebted by that unknown brain who is now completely lost in the dust of time.  Either you turn to the immoral routes (thieves) or you create a new and constructive approach (the peda woman) to survive the odds and sweeten the taste buds of travellers J

 

Its an appealing story, just eat it.

 

 

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