Summers are on. Dash out if you hear a ghanti (bell) ringing in the alley. It could be the kulfi-wallah. Is his humble cart fitted with a desi-style roulette wheel?
Eclipsed by brightly-lit ice cream trolleys, kulfi-wallahs have become rare, and the ones with game-carts still rarer. So, if you’ve spotted one such antiquity, grab your chance. Since hockey and cricket are the flavours of the month, this is not just about kulfis but also the sporting spirit. If the cart indeed has a roulette wheel, drop a coin in the spinning wheel to win as many kulfis as the number on which it comes to rest. If it is the pinball game instead, pray the kancha (small glass ball) lands into the highest value square.
We chanced upon a game-cart in a Ballimaran lane in Old Delhi. School children had laid siege to kulfi-wallah Ramveer’s cart to play pinball. They were hitting the kancha by pulling a spring attached to a wooden block. The kancha would shoot up, strike the boundary wall and roll down into an array of pins where it might fall into one of the spaces marked with numbers.
Amidst much shoving, we too gambled. Our kancha reached tantalisingly close to a numbered square but then stopped. The kind Ramveer discreetly pushed it inside and took out four kulfis from his wooden icebox. The winning trophies, dipped in milk, were cool, creamy and sugary.