Today, I had my first gola.
Gola is an ice candy made of crushed ice and flavored syrup, not very different from an American Snow cone. Kala Khatta is the name of the tangy syrup that was poured on the gola I had today.
I thought it tasted like a weird but satisfying mixture of uncarbonated coke and chat masala.
Golas are a Mumbai thing. Every Mumbaikar, who was ever informed that I had never tried a gola, launched into a sermon about how that was an absolute shame. It was part of the Mumbai culture. If you are a true Mumbaikar, you should have the guts to eat something off a roadside stall and live to tell the tale. If you die, you were never meant to be a Mumbaikar.
I had never tried a gola before, primarily due to the fear of diarrhea, death and similar things. But today, I faced my fears.
I'd gone to Girgaum Chowpatty to shoot for a short film project for class. One of the scenes involved my classmate buying a gola and that incidentally turned out to be our last shot for the day.
We got the shot and while everyone returned their caps and cameras to their bags, I was left holding the gola. Now I had seen how the gola was made, all the while twisting my face into many comical shapes and making various "eww" noises, but when I held it in my hand and felt the gola stare at my eyes obsessively, I was a goner.
It truly was the taste of Mumbai and standing there and eating it the Mumbai way, knowing that I might not survive to tell this tale made me oddly excited. The gola was ultimately yanked out of my hand and I was left giggling like an idiot, a little high on crushed ice.
If you come to Mumbai, try a gola. If you don't die, promote the product and publicize it. Only Rs. 5.