The Healing Powers Of Camy Wafers

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THE HEALING POWERS OF CAMY WAFERS

WORDS BY MEHER MIRZA AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY SURUCHI MAIRA

Meher Mirza tells a tale of healing a broken heart with Camy Wafers’ potato chips.

This is a story ostensibly about Camy Wafers, but it is actually a story about my poor, beleaguered heart. This story begins, say, seven years ago, when I ended my relationship with my first boyfriend for the last time. We had been together for many years, although the glue that had held us close at first had unpeeled many, many times. The fights were plentiful and long, and we careened sickeningly from one end of a torrid argument to another; it felt as though we were gliding irrevocably towards a crash, and neither of us had our hands on the steering wheel. Well of course the crash came, as we both knew it would, and it would be fair to say I crumpled completely – I cried all the time and couldn’t focus on work, on anything that was outside my cloud of grief. Worst of all, I couldn’t eat. I had become that giant cliché, a heartbroken girl.

Alarmed at my rapid weight loss and permanently red-rimmed eyes, my friends and family brought home packets of this and plates of that. My mother cooked up biryanis and dhansak and my dad came home drowning in boxes of lemon curd tarts and hazelnut chocolates, all desperate attempts to restore my flagging appetite. My colleagues took me to Kailash Parbat for pani puri and office chat, and my friends floated in and out of my house with wine and cheese and pav bhaji and hugs. Day after day swam by.

And forever and after, whenever I plunged myself into my dark cocoon, I remembered my little wafer packet, a ridiculous, absurd, embarrassing little beacon of hope.

One day, my mum phoned me at work to ask me to bring home puris from Camy. I passed the Colaba Market store every day as I motored my way to and from home, and she was going to make me a plate of sev puri that very evening. At Camy, still drenched in my miasma of misery, I bought the packet of puris. “Kucch aur chahiye?” enquired the cheery fellow behind the counter. The answer was of course, yes, I wanted many things – an unbroken heart, my boyfriend back in my life, a little peace and a lot of perspective. But I couldn’t tell this gent that. So, instead, I bought the entire store, more or less. This included: 1. Plain, salted wafers 2. Pudina wafers 3. Tomato-flavoured banana wafers 4. Cheese wafers 5. Lime-flavoured ruffled potato wafers 6. Criss-crossed sali potato wafers.

I staggered out with my burden and was immediately stymied by the lack of taxis willing to drive me home. So I walked from Colaba on towards Marine Drive, towards Babulnath, towards Peddar Road and finally home. Somewhere along the way, I tore open a packet of Camy’s plain, salted wafers (caveat: I have always loved them best of all wafers) and took a tentative nibble. I tasted every grain of salt on that beautiful skinny, crisp wafer. In fact, it was so good that I finished the entire packet by the time I had reached my building. And there, covered in tiny shattered, shards of wafer, I had a glimmer of a revelation. It had been three weeks since my break-up. I was tattered and unravelled, but I had managed to claw my way out of the gnarly thicket of my unhappiness. I have no doubt I would have reached this point anyhow, perhaps the next day, perhaps while eating a samosa in a bus or while watching Frasier. However, it was the wafers that did it this time. And forever and after, whenever I plunged myself into my dark cocoon, I remembered my little wafer packet, a ridiculous, absurd, embarrassing little beacon of hope. But a burly one nevertheless.

Camy Wafers, 5-6, Oxford House, Near Colaba Market, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai 400 005.

In addition to its Colaba shop, Camy Wafers has shops at Gowalia Tank, Khar, Andheri, Mahim and Byculla. You can find the other locations on our map.

 
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