Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to take a day tour of my beloved Bombay thanks to a couple of my dearest friends who were visiting the city and wanted to see it from the eyes of a couple of Bombayites.
We began from Chembur and reached CST Station (formerly known as Victoria Terminus) in about an hour. Our driver then drove around the different landmarks in and around the area. We were on a road when I suddenly squealed like a child and told the driver to stop. I was grateful for the drivers reflexes and the magical appearance of a parking space due to which I could relive a fond childhood memory that had been buried with the passage of time.
The source of my excitement was the fact that for the first time in my life, I saw the legendary Parsi Dairy Farm store. I glanced down the road, almost expecting to see Appa there. Instead I saw Marine Lines station and finally understood how Appa would have discovered this store. You see, Appa’s office was on Princess Street for the longest time, and he would take the train from Marine Lines to come back home to Andheri. Parsi Dairy Farm was and still remains a stone’s throw from Marine Lines station.
In those days, and I mean the 80’s, Appa would transport the awesome “Malai Kulfi” from Parsi Dairy Farm all the way in Marine Lines to Andheri, and the best part was that the kulfi would be in perfectly frozen condition. Before I explain how, a word about “Malai Kulfi”. I is a traditional frozen dessert made from milk that was patiently boiled down to a thick and creamy consistency to get a fudgy flavour and consistency.
You see, even back in the 80s, Parsi Dairy Farm used dry ice to pack the flat round discs of kulfi which were wrapped individually in butter paper. The exciting result of it being that even after a journey of over an hour that would include a couple of buses and a long train journey, the kulfi retained its consistency as if by magic. For us, at the time, it was really a magical experience.
All those decades later, standing outside the store where Appa would have come and picked up our special and rare treat, I could not move on with our tour without tasting that amazing malai kulfi once again, and of course get my friends to taste it too. The first spoonful in my mouth evoked memories of enjoying cold kulfi on warm evenings as a family. I closed my eyes and let the memories wash over me.
Memories of Appa are like that. Sometimes, all it takes is a spoonful of delicious, cool, heart-warming kulfi for yet another fond memory about Appa to tumble from the recesses of my memory and get stringed into words and yet another story about the man that I was proud to call Appa.