Muhammad Habib, a cordial vendor would welcome you with a smile every time you step up in front of his stall near ITO metro station. This benevolent man would spend his time throughout the day serving his customers with bael ka sherbet and banta in the sweltering heat while chitchatting with some. “I have been selling banta and bael ke sherbet here for the past 20 years. Bael is good for the stomach and helps in digestion. It also keeps one cool during the summer. Banta, on the other hand has soda in it which helps one to survive the heat, and not get heat strokes, in the summer,” said the friendly and soft-spoken man handing out a glass of bael ka sherbet. Even he takes a few glasses of bael ka sherbet and banta to find relief from the hottest heavenly body in the solar system.
What’s summer without some vagabondish trails? How could anybody define summer sans cool drinks? The phrase “beat the heat” was not coined simply to make it sound peppy but rather it fits the scorching situation. One does seem to fight with the sun’s cruelly hot blessings in the day to survive. There are numerous ways to keep oneself cool during the summer, be it proper intake of food or proper ventilation in the residence or proper consumption of water. When gallons of water cannot do the job let the Vitamins and fruit pulps do it. To help you fight your personal war with the sun, there are several helpful providers of energy by the roadside, selling various forms of sherbets. These traditional drinks are cool, energising, refreshing and most excitingly cheap!
Bael ki sherbet, nimbu-pani (lemonade), banta, lassi, ganne ka juice’ and especially the summer favourites “mango shake” with a dollop of ice cream and “mango lassi” are all waiting eagerly to be gulped down with ease. Fresh mosambi juice and water melon juice are some more explorable options. Bael juice helps in controlling or curing constipation, dysentery, diabetes and cancer as it contains laxatives which clean and tone the intestines. Bael is also a key ingredient to healthy skin, as it treats skin rashes and acnes and also stimulates hair glands to help you grow bold and healthy hair.
“I am selling bael ka sherbet here for the past four years, everyday during the summer but Saturdays. Lunch time me sabse zyada log ate hai. Each glass costs Rs 10-20 based on the quantity,” said Kokil Kumar Shah, who sells bael ke sherbet on the footpath opposite to Delhi Police headquarters. This seasonal business survives only during the summer and helps these vendors earn.
No matter how alluring several aerated drinks look and sound cheap, the struggles that people have during the summer cannot be sufficed by them. Neither are these flavoured drinks healthy nor is it very helpful in tackling the summer blues. Even though various brands of aerated drinks come up with new luring advertisements and exciting flavours, nothings beats the helpfulness of desi solutions to the unbearable heat. Not only health conscious adults, but also youngsters tend to get drawn towards the traditional summer drinks to retain hydration and keep working in the hot season. Not only do these drinks provide you energy and a fresh feeling, but also you contribute to the traditional business and help raise the country’s economy, indirectly. Most of the drinks are available within the price range of Rs 10-Rs 40, an affordable bargain. “I have always loved fruits, and had fruit juices at home every day. But since I am living in a hostel now for my studies, I tend to drink fruit juices outside to keep myself hydrated and mostly out of habit. I find Mosambi juice and ganne ka juice tasty and helpful,” said Muskan Jaitley a chartered accountant student. Watermelon juice is considered to be an anti ageing element, a remedy for weight loss diet and a stress buster. It is also considered to provide healthy and glowing skin as it cleans the toxins from within the body.
Even though coconut is not abundantly available in Delhi, it is wise to try it a few times, as tender coconut not only comes with tasty water but also a soft flesh that as well meets one’s hunger. Coconut water has an adequate amount of sodium-potassium that helps you to maintain the sodium-potassium level in the body and hydrates you at once. Coconut water is also rich in Vitamin C, Calcium and Magnesium and further more it is low on calories. This natural drink not only hydrates you, but also boosts your digestive system and benefits you with spotless skin. Application of coconut water on dark spots for a few days helps in removing them. It is also said that coconut water helps you lose weight, as it has low fat content and satiates your hunger for the time being.
“Coconut water helps to hydrate the body quickly and provide energy,” said a vendor who sells tender coconut near Laxminagar Metro station.
“Sugarcane juice is very refreshing and healthy, it is only Rs 40 a glass and you feel energised for the rest of the day after having just one glass. Even though I dislike the taste of mint leaves mixed with the sugarcane juice, I tend to feel cooler after drinking it,” said Baishakhi Dutta, a resident of Laxminagar.
“I like Lassi and Sugarcane juice very much during the summer. They keep me hydrated and give me enough energy to work throughout the day,”said Ankan Kar, a journalist by profession.
“I drink mostly Pomegranate juice, to stay fit and to get fairer!,” laughed Deepti Lata Patra, a PR professional, “But I prefer to drink watermelon juice specifically in the summer to strengthen my immunity.” added Deepti.
“Lemonade is very helpful, just one glass before entering the office keeps us alive and energetic throughout the day,” said Indrajit and Koustabh, PR professionals. Keeping aside the positives of the traditional drinks during the summer, there is also one major drawback, hygiene. We are quite aware of the manner in which the vendors prepare the drinks. In a hurry, they often do not wash the fruits or clean the vessels they prepare the juice in or the glasses they serve in.
“Fruits like papaya, watermelon, sugarcane and wood apple (bael) are very helpful for the body in the summer, but consuming them in the open, is not very hygienic. The street vendors often do not clean the fruits properly, while preparing the sherbets and juices. Fruits cut and left in the open for a while are harmful and unhygienic. People should try not to consume them too often for the sake of their own health. Sometimes out of desperation and need one may drink fruit juices from the roadside vendors, but should also make sure that proper cleanliness is being maintained,” said Dr Basak.