I am often conscripted into taking my better half to Murree Road on shopping safaris, designed to help some extended family member put together their daughter’s wedding trousseau. I perform this duty with an outward show of reluctance, whereas I actually look forward to these trips, thanks to the old man who sells a mouth-watering spicy snack called Channa jor garam in front of a well-known cloth cum wedding dress outlet. There was once such a man, who patrolled the length and breadth of Anarkali Bazaar during the golden fifties. He could be heard before he was seen, since he sang a jingle in a loud baritone that reverberated from the tall closely packed buildings of the bazaar. His voice had a charisma that forced people to stop in their tracks and listen to the refrain, which ran thus:“Chana jor garam baboo, mulaiyam mazedar, chana jor garam.”“Mera chana bara hi aala, usko khai Madhubala, Nargis lagay hai us ki khala,“Chana jor garam.”Soon his diminutive, thin figure would become visible, pushing a bicycle that sported a tin container fastened to the handlebars. This container was an oven, larder and showcase rolled into one. It contained an ample supply of fried chickpeas or chanas, a small oil burner that kept the peas warm, lemons, an assortment of tins turned salt and spice sprinklers, another tin that acted as a shaker-blender, a small scoop and some old newspapers rolled into small cones that stuck out geometrically from the tin box.The man would take a scoopful of peas, sprinkle them with salt and spices, squeeze lemon juice on top, pour the lot into the shaker and blend flavours by shaking vigorously. He would then pour the spicy concoction into a cone made from an old newspaper and hand over the finished product to a satisfied and thoroughly impressed customer.Another unforgettable character on the Lahori scene was an under fed individual, who sold choorans and had adopted Hall Road as his domain. Now anyone, who has not tasted a chooran has wasted his tender years and needs to immediately set out to find a chooranwala (if this breed has not gone extinct) and redress this wrong. My chooranwala carried his wares on a large cloth covered tray and had a cane pedestal slung over one shoulder. On reaching one of his designated spots (which happened to be outside my school gate), he would set up the pedestal and then affix the tray on top. He would lift the cloth with the flourish of a magician to reveal a potpourri of mouth-watering confections. His creations consisted of sweet and sour spicy pastes made from tamarind and a bluish looking tangy powder. It was this last mentioned treat that was a great favourite. He would measure out a helping and then dipping a metal rod into another bottle touch the tip to the stuff. The powder exploded into flames with a sizzling sound leaving, behind something indescribably spicy and delicious baroodi chooran.In summers, the above mentioned choorans were replaced by tasty chat, the likes of which was available nowhere in Lahore. A plate of this chat cost one anna (one sixteenth of a rupee) and consisted of boiled potato wedges, fresh onions, radish, yogurt and spices rolled into one. I have time and again tried to find this snack across Lahore, but have yet to hit the jackpot.My temporary consolation, however, lies in the fact that chana jor garam is alive and well in Rawalpindi, but as stated regretfully by the old character, this recipe and its artful preparation will, perhaps, die with him as none of his descendants appear to be willing to carry on with the family business.The writer belongs to a very old and established family of the Walled City. His forte is the study of History.