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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Summer Delights


The eyes opened with the melody of koel chirping on the nearby mango tree. The calm breeze was blowing as the children had started flocking in the park where a solitary fountain was sending a stream of jet in the air as the spray drifted in the ever changing direction of the wind. I looked up at the sky which was crystal clear and a distant overflying jet with a plume of white smoke appeared on the horizon. The summer vacations had commenced and the schools would reopen now in July. Such a nice feeling engulfed the mind. A quick cup of tea and we rushed out to join the fun in the adjacent park. The little girls waited for their turns on the swing whereas we rushed on the rickety merry go around as each new entrant gave a hard tug to maintain the speed as he climbed up with abandon !  Soon we would be sweating and hungry charging to the kitchen. Ice was crushed with a pastel to the ‘lassi’(sweetend yoghurt ) which was frothing after churning with a wooden handmixer called ‘Rai’ till there was a huge froth settled atop. Piping hot ‘aloo paratha( stuffed potato pancake) and lassi was’ heavenly’ to mark the start of the summer vacation.

In the days that followed we made frequent trips to the market to pick up the ripe mangoes. They would be then immersed in a huge tub of water and guzzled by dozens on the hot afternoon never to even think about the amount of sweet intake. Also, the water melons and smaller musk melons would be regularly devoured in the afternoon post siesta.

As the sun moved in the westerly direction the temperature raised and the air was soon similar to a draught straight from the oven. It was almost impossible to step out of the house so the best thing to keep us children occupied were a game of cards, or carom board, snakes and ladders and Chinese checkers. There was no TV program in the morning and only insipid ‘Krishi Darshan’ and some stray movies on weekends were telecast. A weekly program of select movie songs called ‘Chitrahaar’ was telecast for 30 minutes once in a week. Most of us kids would go to the nearby community center to watch this fare with glee!

It would be fun to help mother in slicing the raw mangoes once in a season to prepare the pickles at home and the tangy pickle was stuffed in an earthen ware pot, after covering the lid and the container placed under the sun for the pickle to season for another week  before we start using it with every meal till the throats got sore!

There were no refrigerators so huge earthen pots were filled with water every day for meeting the cold drinking water requirements of the day. The unbeatable aroma of the cold water coming from ‘Matka’( the round tummy pot} or the ‘Surhai’( The long necked earthen vessel) would satisfy the thirst almost instantaneously!

That reminds of the adventures of trying all kinds of colored ice candies (golas) from local vendors who crushed the ice on a contraption and squeezed it in a small glass and inserted a straw and pulled it out effortlessly. The colored sweet syrups would make them enticing. The ‘kulfi ’(sweetened milk candy with dry fruits) treat was always something to look forward to. In summer months certain berries ( phalsa) were available which had a lovely tangy flavor! Somehow, these are no longer available in the big cities but one can find them in smaller towns. Another wonder fruit was’ Bel’ which was very fibrous and the pulp of it produced an excellent coolant in the summer months! The other summer delights were the ‘Raw Mango Panna’ (Cold sweet drink from raw mango pulp),’ Sattu’( Made from roasted gram ), Khus Khus and Thandai( both drinks made with various spices and herbs and dry fruits).




Though the times have rolled on, many of these local delights have been gradually taken over by fizzy colas, sundaes and smoothies and assorted frozen desserts! Many of the outdoor games we played have slowly crawled back in pages of history to be taken over by a maze of video games like 'Angry birds'! We now have far more ‘Facebook’ friends than the real ones with whom we could play and fight and await yet another day of summer vacation to spend time with!
PS: Images Kind Courtesy Google

71 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Vishal! Welcome to my blog!

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  2. The food stuff was so heavenly. Nicely written!

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    1. A big thanks Deepa and am happy you liked! Welcome to my blog:)

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  3. Those were good old days. Now luxuries and branding has corrupted us. Playing, sweating and coming back home for nimbu pani. I miss summer vacation at my village where we used to pick mangoes from trees and collect tamarind to make pudina and tamarind chutney in the evening, such bliss!

    Lovely and nostalgic read.

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    1. Yes Saru, I missed mentioning about the Nimbu Pani and Imli chutney:) Thank you for always being there to make up:)

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  4. This took me down the memory lane! My mother still uses the Matka and I used to have it in my kitchen till last year! This reminds me, should get one tomorrow itself. :)

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    1. Shilpa I know thatMatka works best in the Jaipur heat and it is an asset in summer! Thanks for liking the post!

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  5. I distinctly remember those immersed mangoes in tubs and musk melons consumed by truckloads, playing ice pice in the scorching summer despite mom's entreaties. Oh yes the pickle making and having cold surahi kaa paani. Those were the days. Thank you for bringing them alive by this post.

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    1. We share quite a few things in common including playing hide n seek on summer nights besides devouring mangoes and musk melons:) Thanks a lot!

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  6. You reminded me of my own summer vacations Rahul . Oh yeah there were mangoes , musk melons and yes Chitrahaar :) we also have wonderful cucumbers in chennai to beat the heat :)

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    1. Jaishree..how did I forget about cucumber the ultimate coolant of summer:) Thanks a lot.... and yes those memories of Chitrahaar days!!

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  7. You just took me to my childhood!

    We too were eating 3-4 mangoes a day...no restrictions! Our place was famous for Jack fruit too! So our elders would sit and cut the huge fruits early in the morning. We used to 'help' them separate the 'sole', we say...the eatable part from the main fruit. It was said that we have to eat jack fruit in empty stomach and mango after our stomach is filled up!

    Yes, the limited TV time was interesting!

    We had a surhai at home and I still remember the taste of the water!

    Even if we eat the roadside colas nothing happened and nobody restricted us to eat them! I didn't allow my children to do that...eat them!

    I make lemon-ginger-jaggery juice and thandai at home even now!

    Yes, those days of visiting each others' house without calling, are gone!

    Very nice post, Rahulji!

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    1. Thanks Sandhya and it feels really good to see so many who have traversed the same road as self!The pleasure of those small things remain etched forever in our minds:)

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  8. I am craving kulfi after reading your post!!

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    1. So I did manage to create the craving for Kulfi:) Thanks a lot Divya.... so happy to read that!

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  9. This is a wonderful post. So nostgic!! Tub full of mangoes was consumed in a jiffy.No body was worried about 'calories' or 'weight' and enjoyed eating . And old songs of Jyonny Walker, Shamshad Begam and Geeta Dutt. We used to be crazy. Remember the games that we use to play? Kabbaddi, Stapoo, Kanche, and Pithoo. Those were the days!!. Thank you Rahul for reviving old memories.

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    1. Thank you Ushaji for those reminders! The list of fun things is endless:)

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  10. Hmm....I can almost smell the kulfi :O

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    1. Wow! So happy that I could make the mouth water of the master of satire:)

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  11. Dreamy description Rahul. Those days we did not think twice before eating kulfis or drinking water from roadside vendors--remember those huge aluminium tanks of refrigerated water?

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    1. So true Indu, never bothered about calories and only eating mattered:)

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  12. Ah, Summer delights.Yum yum :D

    Feels Good to be back and get such yummy posts to read. :D

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    1. Very nice to see you back Sunakshi! Happy you liked the yummy flavor of the post!

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  13. Thanks for triggering our mind to go back to good old days, what with matka ka panni, kulfi, and chuski, fallooda, bhalle, I am really craving for all those things right now.

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    1. Very true Rama! Those food delights can make mouth water anytime!

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  14. This post made me slurp. Who doesn't love summers and those vacations. I wish time goes back.

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    1. A great pleasure to see you baxk Pria and enjoy tghe summer treat! Thank you:)

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  15. Hi Rahul, you have painted a wonderful picture of summers gone by...delicious dishes that will always be part of ones memory. Everything you've mentioned sounds incredible. I am in complete agreement of the last paragraph...I wish we had less social networking and less processed snacks these days.

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    1. Thank you Sam for enjoying the Indian Summer treats!Hope you get a chance to try some of thes some time!

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    2. I hope so too! I would love to delve into some of these treats, all of which are new and exotic to me!

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    3. Am sure you would like them:)

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  16. In old Delhi,you can still get Matka Kulfi.
    In fact,recently,I saw a Kufiwalla in a Mall here in Gurgaon

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    1. Yeah Chowlaji you still get some of these savories in some mallls as well as in quaint old bazaars!

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  17. I miss drinking cold water from the matka. The earthy aroma and taste to the water was a sherbet in itself. Those simple treats of kulfi, cut fruits, chilled curd...nothing could beat them today. Thank you for taking me to the childhood days

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    1. I am sure everyone of us has some old memories associated with these small pleasures of life:)

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  18. What a picture you have got there at the top!! This is one of those posts that takes us down the memory lane.. For me Summers mean Jasmine flowers and mangoes. Coconut water, Not a big fan of melons :) Summers in childhood are the best.

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    1. True, Latha! The list of these delights is a long one but am happy the top picture enticed you to read this post:)Thanks a lot!!

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  19. OH MY GOD first of all those pictures made my mouth water :D so yummy they are :D and wow the post so much reminds of good old days :D though in our childhood we had luxury of TV at home :D other than that rest of the things like spending lot of times playing and enjoying the best of the season remains same unlike these days kids :D

    Superb "COOL" post Rahul sir :D

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    1. Ha Ha Ramya, the foodie in us wakes up the moment we see such pictures!I am happy that you could associate the memories of your lovely childhood with this post!

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  20. Those days when every little thing meant so much. And now that we have so much, it means very little to us.

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    1. Little meant so much, so aptly said Purba! These small pleasures of life are the ones we cherish most! Thank you!!

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  21. Replies
    1. Thanks Francesca for enjoying these stories :)

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  22. Those were the days my friend
    we thought they'd never end
    We'd sing and dance forever and a day! :)

    Sung by Mary Hopkins, an old time favorite!

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    1. Thanks a lot Deepak for reminding that lovely song of yesteryears!

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  23. Always wonderful to read your narrations...I miss all the summer foods and drinks that you get in India. :( This post made me so nostalgic.

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    1. A big thanks Ria, and am happy that you relived the nostalgia through this post:)

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  24. Ah! a lovely trip down memory lane, eh?! And what sweet and simple days there were, right?

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post.

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    1. So very true Divya! Simple and seet times they were indeed. Thanks a lot for having liked the post:)

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  26. Those were the days. And you are right about matkas. Not only was the water wonderfully cool and tasty, no electricity was necessary to cool it. Matkas have seen a revival in India as mitticool products - here's their link. http://www.mitticool.in/ Don't know if they are popular though.

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    1. KayEM in bigger cities The refrigerators have taken over most of the homes but the humble 'matka' still finds place in smaller cities and low income homes! I still love the water from 'matka':)

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  27. Such a delightful post that was. I am already in a reminiscing mode and your post heightened the pleasure by taking me back several years back. It is raining mangoes here at my home these days too. So in a way i am happy to welcome summer even when i am working. If it hadn't been for this scorching heat :(

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    1. Some of these pleasures of summer are unbeatable and so envy you to enjoy the rain of mangoes, Maliny:0

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  28. Very true. Was in India last week and ate alot of that delicious mangoes.
    www.thoughtsofpaps.com

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    1. Wow great! So you have been enjoying mangoes in India! My turn to enjoy some delicacies in SriLanka soon:)

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  29. my stomach is craving..its dangerous to give second look to this post.,;-)

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    1. Ha ha ... go ahead and enjoy,Arooj! No dearth of many such delicacies where you stay! Thanks a lot!!

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  30. Thanks for sharing your insight on my last post, have a great start to the weekend!

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    1. Thanks Sam and wish you a lovely weekend too:)

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  31. Really mouth-watering stuff.

    I guess change is inevitable and everything.

    Some time back my parents used to tell me about their 'fantastic' childhood(s) and I used to think they were boring. But now, its been just 2 years since I left college, and discussions with old friends seem to go to the we-enjoyed-so-much-today's-children-just-cant-imagine line. I feel like a hypocrite, but at least we had good childhoods :-)

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    1. Thanks a lot KK! Welcome to my blog:)

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    2. BTW a huge thanks for follwing my blog!

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    3. Such a good blog and the author himself takes the effort to answer each and every comment, no matter how many of them. How could I not follow?

      :-)

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  32. Sundaes and IceCreams apart, the flavour of the local stick Icecreams and fruits and Khulfis can never be matched :-)

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    1. Ha Ha... so have more Kulfi fans:) Thanks a lot Ashwini!

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  33. I am missing this kulfi..nevr get something like this here..

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    1. Yes Kulfi stands out :) Thanks Renu!!

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