Balle Balle !Punjabi oye!

A few kilometers from Sydney, as we reached its Indian dominated suburb, Harris Park, and we could see the surroundings change dramatically acquiring a typical Indian touch. The flashing blue-green lights greeted our eyes. In the hub of Indian eateries, we found a number of Indian restaurants and eating joints selling Indian street food on both sides of the narrow lane. Indians could be seen thronging the place to get the taste of India, to relish Indian cuisine and to savour Indian street food-samosa, chaat, jalebi, tikki, kulfi with faluda. You name the street food , it’s there to tickle your taste- buds.

The ambience of the place was so much Indian that one could easily mistake Harris Park to be Pandara Road in New Delhi or Lawrence Road in Amritsar. Well! If you feel the semblance was limited to the Indian food and the presence of large number of Indians, then you are mistaken. Similarity was visible in the way the cars were parked haphazardly and also evident in lax hygiene standards that reminded me of surroundings back home.


The  aroma  wafting from the shops was irresistible and the sight of Indian food tempting. Hungry and desperately missing the taste of India, we headed to Haveli restaurant for savoring Punjabi food. Haveli may not be a patented food- chain like KFC or Mc Donald; nevertheless, it is quite common to find a Punjabi Dhaba with the name Haveli / Sher-e Punjab from Kashmir to Kanyakumari at any hill station or a place of pilgrimage within the country and also abroad. Where ever you go, whether Bangkok or Paris, you are bound to find a Punjabi eatery with these generic signboards.

Coming to my experience at Haveli in Sydney suburb, it was most gratifying to relish Mah Makhani, Shahi Paneer with paranthas in a typical Punjabi environment. The sight of rustic Sardarji at the cash counter was reassuring. The familiar chatter in native language, the noise and din in a foreign land was truly comforting. Nothing could be more gratifying than desi food in desi style, the feel of apna desh in videsh.

I was surprised to see SUVs plying on the road with popular Punjabi numbers being played. I wondered if I was actually in a Sydney suburb, and not in Jalandhar , Ludhiana or Amritsar , for that matter any city of Punjab. Elsewhere in Australia, the order and discipline on the roads was astounding, but there in Harris Park, the Indian dominated suburb of Sydney, the unbridled Punjabi spirit was in full display. Of course, the music being played on moving jeeps was much softer as per Punjabi standard, but was loud enough to confirm the saying that a Punjabi is a Punjabi wherever he goes, loud and boisterous, difficult to tame.

The fact is you can take a Punjabi out of Punjab but not Punjab out of Punjabis. Balley, balley , Punjabi oye!!

(Published in HT Chandigarh on June 18, 2017)

6 Replies to “Balle Balle !Punjabi oye!”

  1. Punjabi spirit well captured and presented Rama. Title by itself is lilting enough. Exactly my sentiments when we visited south hall in London.

    1. Great to know Ranjana ji that we are on the same wave length. Thank you so much for reading and posting your take and comments on the articles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights