City Food – Pappu’s Popcorn, Subhash Chander Bose Garden, Gurgaon
Taste of a life.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Popcorns are addictive. You eat one, and then you go on to eat all. The super-pricey popcorns you get in multiplex snack counters are truly delicious but please don’t deny yourself the popcorns that come from a more modest setting. These super-cheap popcorns (10 rupees for a packet) are more profoundly personal, deeply entwined with the life of people who make and sold them.
That’s why you ought to try Pappu’s popcorn. In his late 40s, the gentleman launched into the life of a popcorn hawker in Gurgaon, in the Greater Delhi Region, just two months ago. “I spent all my years as a daily-wage labourer,” says Pappu, explaining that now his body has grown frailer and unable to continue with a mazdoor’s hard work. “I would always see those popcorn-sellers walking around the street with home-made popcorns so finally I decided to do the same.”
Pappu bought a popcorn machine from Patiala in Punjab for ₹5,500, along with a cotton candy machine for the same price—he sells both. “And now I wander around the city selling my stuff.” He has a brass bell that he keeps ringing to grab the attention of passersby.
A native of Shahjahanpur in UP, Pappu doesn’t regret quitting his earlier profession even though his earnings have reduced by half. “I used to make 500 rupees daily as a labourer; now I barely manage to make 200 rupees, but this work is far easier and is especially good at this age when my hands and feet ache so much.”
While it is nice to support an honest hardworking person’s new business, you are recommended Pappu’s popcorn solely because they are delicious. It’s not easy to locate him for his rapid mobility in and around Sector 14 but around noon you can spot him in Subhash Chander Bose Garden. On entering the garden, just follow the sound of the bell.