Besides memories, words also connect us to nostalgic moments that we embrace once in a while.

Paisa is one word that entertains me with the pleasures of the past. As a school-going kid receiving my daily allowance, the paisa pitched my coin power. To be precise, I got one ‘takka,’ a bronze coin worth two paisas. Later the pittance was raised to ‘anna,’ ‘duani’ and then stopped at ‘chauvni.’ On special occasions, the spending received was ‘utahni,’ and the euphoria was ‘rupiya.’

These bitcoins had value in buying childhood street food like chaat, bair, jamun, amrod or the gannerian. And in the winter months, lightly warmed ‘mungfali’ (peanuts) in shell, deposited directly into my pant pocket (making sure not torn from inside) from the scales of the vendor.

In my teenage years, the paisa and its denominations were enough to order a ‘mitha’ or ‘lachi-supari addictive from the ‘paanwala.’

In memory lane, the loud calls of Kaliwala stay fresh. The magic of kaliwalas turning old brass plates, pans and pots look new with the shine of ‘Kali’ always fascinated me. The callings of ‘raddiwala’ and the service of presswala are my stopovers along the memory lane

My reservoir of nostalgic words takes me to mela, jalsa, jaloos and ‘mushaira.’ And going to the ‘cinma’ was a total ‘paisa-vasool’ entertainment in the company of Dalip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Nargis, Madhubala, Mina Kumari, Tun Tun and Jonny Walker. Kishor Kumar’s: “Eena meena dika ………” is a joyful evergreen rock-n-roll hit from the nostalgic pit.

After all, journeys to the past sometimes are pleasures of the present.

-Promod Puri

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