For me, the summers in my childhood was synonymous with chilling out with a variety of cool, yummy, and refreshing drinks. They gave much relief to all during the hot summers at any time of the day.
Whether it was the homemade humble neembu sharbat or the lime and lemony Limca bottled drink in those days, more than three decades ago. I loved both of them, apart from the bottled drinks of Campa Cola and Thumbs Up (this one is still a raze), but only during the travel trips.
As a child, I was never a foodie. Whatever my Mummy prepared at home, I relished my favorites, like halwa or aalu parantha for breakfast or chhole pulaav (cooked once in fifteen days). During the 80s decade, there were no junk or fast food stalls in any of the towns I’ve lived in.
So, there were no temptations for the kids in those times to demand stuff to eat outside the home. That apart, I’m thankful to my parents for inculcating healthy eating habits in me and my younger brother.
Even with the drinks, Mummy avoided the market-based sharbat daily. At most, she’d only give us on alternate days, a homemade lime sharbat she prepared herself. She had added preservatives to it for its longevity, after attending a workshop on sharbat in her ladies club.
But the bottles of sharbat, available in the market and bought once a year in my home, in the flavor of the orange, lichee, khus-khus, and Roohafza were too tempting and tantalizing to me. There was also the good old drink of the Rasna brand to relish.
(Image courtesy – Indiamart)
Whether it’s mundane evenings at home, a visit to the friends’ home, parties, or any occasion to the weddings in summer, to quench the thirst… ek glass sharbat toh banta hai.
I got the opportunity to taste at least a half-filled glass of any of them only when some guests arrived at our home, or when we all paid a visit to our acquaintances.
Believe me, in my childhood I hardly got to eat ice cream. Again, a habit given by my parents. They had heard of their friends’ children getting addicted to the lollipop ice cream sold by the street vendors. Plus, there weren’t any good brands of ice cream in that period.
Even to this day, I’d rather have a glassful of chilled, light and refreshing sharbat (compared to thandai or lassi) to beat the heat than eat a scoop or two of the yummy ice cream of a well-known brand.
After my marriage, in my in-laws’ home, chhach (buttermilk) and aam panha are made, depending on the availability of the curd and the raw mangoes. My mother-in-law also loves making aam ras (by grinding a ripe mango’s pulp, a little bit of sugar, and a cup of milk in the mixie jar), and then serving it with fried chaawal paapad.
Of course, the seasonal fruits like ripe and sweet mangoes and lichee, both of my favorites, have always been there to enjoy, but an hour after the meals.
Mummy never made juices from any fruit by grinding them, as she believed that all kinds of ripe fruits must be chewed thoroughly. As the fruit fibers are useful for digestion and proper functioning of the intestines in our bodies.
Lastly, anything in moderation or at balanced levels is always advised and recommended for good health. Mummy would cook for all, bitter gourd or karela ki sabzi every other day and insist me and my bro to eat it at mealtime. This was done to keep our stomachs germ-free and to counter the overdose of the sweet drinks.
If we deliberately avoided eating that sabzi, then Papa used to force us early in the morning to drink a cup of the juice of bitter gourd. He’d order us.
“Chupchap yah karela ka ras piyo, nahi toh dinbhar koi sharbat ya aam nahi milega.”
Well, I won’t end this writeup on a bitter or sour note, but surely on a sweet note, as sweet as any of your favorite sharbat. Till then enjoy your drink… Cheers.🍹
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