I don’t care what you call it. In different parts of the country, people call it by different names. The only name that’s correct is the one grandma used when she took the sputtering grains out of a sand filled earthen pot. That’s the origin story for me, it never came out of a packet. Ma would put the pot on fire with a little sand at the bottom and thrown in rice. We watched them puff and it was the best magic tricl for years. And, it had a beautiful smell.

We grew rice and we grew peanuts. And, we ate them together. Evenings would start with two heaps – one of peanuts in their shells and one of mudhi. Sitting in the dim lamplight or dimmer bulbs of those days, one would chat, watch nana play cards and munch. By the end of the evening, these two heaps would vanish and a third one would appear – of peanut shells. That went into the chullah as firewood. We were forbidden from drinking too much water after these sessions as that would make us full and skip dinner.

Then, there was mixture or chanachur as it was colloquially called. Onions, chillies, mixture, coriander leaves and mustard oil with mudhi – if Madonna knew of this she wouldn’t have undertaken those popcorn diets! The North Indians, like many other good things in life, don’t know much about mudhi. But so long as I can find my fix in a few markets here, I don’t really care if they remain in the dark about it. We have it with chai, laal chai, dalma and many other things, but I don’t want to see the day when someone has it with rajma.