Should the Viral Video of the “Toilet Water” Pani Puri Wala Really Surprise Us?


Should the Viral Video of the “Toilet Water” Pani Puri Wala Really Surprise Us?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Pani puri fans have faced multiple setbacks during the pandemic. Outdoor eateries had to be shut for a while and there are also concerns around safety and hygiene, keeping people away. And now, a new video has now come to light that could possibly ruin one’s appetite and love for pani puri.

A street vendor selling pani puri in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur was caught on camera using toilet water for the dish. In the video, he is seen filling a can with water and then mixing it in another vessel that is used to make pani puri.

The vendor’s cart is named “Mumbai ke Special Pani Puri Wala” and is usually found near Kolhapur’s Rankala lake. For locals in Kolhapur, this is one of the popular outlets for pani puri. Not anymore. According to Indiatimes, when the video went viral and people found out about it, they attacked the cart and destroyed everything.

This is not the first such incident. A few years ago, a video of a pani puri vendor from Thane, urinating into a utensil used to serve customers had gone viral. Post that incident, MNS workers took to the streets and closed down pani puri stalls in different parts of the city.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had then initiated an enquiry into the incident and had also issued a public warning against the usage and consumption of such water for preparing food.

Social media users were understandably disgusted by the incident. One user on Twitter pointed out how there is no licensing, regulation or inspection for street food vendors in India so none of this should surprise us.

For many, these were signs that one should stick to making pani puri at home and avoid roadside vendors.

One user aptly pointed out how “these people are destroying the livelihood of other  honest street food sellers who strictly follow at least basic hygiene.”

Strict inquiry and action has been demanded, along with some regulatory mechanism that ensures hygiene standards across the board for street vendors.

Thank you 2020, for ruining another thing that is dear to us. Guess we won’t be able to ever enjoy roadside pani puri again.