Update as of 6 April 2010
When the temperatures soar, many of us reach for coolers. And Indian summer coolers come in different shades of green, the cool colour! So if most of North India loves the tangy twist of raw mango, sweetened with sugar and spiced up a little with saffron or cardamom; the south swears by the green, tender coconut water which is drunk neat from the fruit – topped up by scooping out some white soft flesh from within the nut. The universal cool drink of the season title is however reserved for the buttermilk – a cool white colour, but try and spot the greens that embellish it. This is drunk differently in different parts of the country and preferred with differing pH levels of acidity. So if the Tamilian likes his neer mor really sour and diluted with lots of water, curried with curry leaves, and tempered with a hint of asafoetida; the Malayali loves the sambhaaram – prepared similar to the Tamilian mor, but zingier with some crushed green chillies and ginger. The Telugu palate loves the Majjigga served salted, their Kannadiga neighbours dont mind their Majjigge without the salt. The Marathis love corriander leaves in all their dishes and don’t forget to add it to their Thaak, slightly salted, less sour and refreshingly cool. The Gujarati penchant for sweet however does not cross into the its buttermilk; so the Chhaas is salted and at times sprinkled with some roasted cumin powder. The Punjabis love all milk products and dont like to dilute their buttermilk or divert the taste – so for sweet afficianados – they add sugar to the curd and beat it to a pouring consistency to make thier favourite Lassi – retaining its thick robustness and for those who dont like sweet drinks, they just salt it enough to cut the tang and serve it as thick and robust mattha in tall brass glasses. The Hindi speaking Ganges basin serves up Chhachh – plain salted buttermilk while closer to the Ganges delta, the Bengalis add sugar to it and call it the Ghol! Cool drinks that are predominantly white and drunk around the country to keep cool!
The heat on D Street was searing and the thermals got the SENSEX to float higher and higher in the first few days of April. So if the D Boyz celebrated the rising SENSEX, they kept cool with their preferred Indian Summer coolers – ensuring that enough green was peppered over their drink. There was no fooling the D Boys on April 1 when they saw the SENSEX rise about 200 points and 250 points on 5 April – almost touching a psychological threshold of 18000 points. A flat Tuesday saw the D Boyz sipping their favourite coolers and resting the SENSEX flat to previous close – 17941 is where it stays for the night, even as D Street sizzles in the summer sun.
Some people in UP, Bihar and Bengal also make a cooler with the bael fruit – also known as monkey fruit – the orange flesh that resembles a ripe mango is squeezed into glasses, sweetened with sugar and served chilled – this aromatic drink smells of the exotic sandalwood. One of the names this fruits has is also curd fruit!!
Which is your favourite summer cooler?