Friday, Jul 01, 2022
Close Encounters

Of Aflatoons And Djinns

Bad djinns may offer fodder for films, but it was through the help of good djinns that the author saw aflatoons produced from thin air

Blissful camaraderie The Djinns, miniature from an Ottoman manuscript dated 1582, Bibliotheque Nationale de France Photograph by Getty Images

My memory of witnessing the magical powers of mythical entities called djinns is inextricably linked with an incident in what seems like another life, another time. It was in my early adolescence that I first savoured special aflatoon from Suleman Usman Mithaiwala, the sweetmeat shop on Muhammad Ali Road in Mumbai, which has now come to be known aro­u­nd the world squarely, some say, on the popularity of its unique and fortifying speciality.

Aflatoon fills your mouth with its soft, mellow richness. Made from dry fruits, crushed mawa (coagulated milk) and sooji (semolina), it is swathed in ghee; the latter’s flavour will swarm your tastebuds upon the very first bite. The fact that we, a clutch of boys and girls, had got to relish the prized delicacy without having to pay for it, which anyway nobody could have, felt like a luxury.