My friend and me would visit the sugarcane juice seller after school. The drink helped us to rejuvenate and refresh our senses.
Stacks of sugarcanes piled up on the cart would entice us to enjoy a kulhar of the cold fresh, juice. To beat the summer heat, this was our favourite option! Not cold drinks, not ice lollies, but sugarcane juice was our weakness. For some vague reason, we enjoyed having it only from the earthen cups or kulhar as they’re popularly known here.
Kamal’s makeshift stall with the machinery installed and all the ingredients neatly arranged was a rather interesting arrangement. Kamal would manually extract juice from the sugarcane using the machine. A bell that was tied to the spokes of the wheel jingled as the sugarcanes were crushed with each rotation.
After about 8 to 10 such rotations, the juice was ready. Kamal strained the juice and filled up the plastic glasses. To enhance the flavour, he added lemon juice. You can also opt for masala and ginger. I preferred to have it with only lime and a little bit of ice.
Kamal ran his stall from 9 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon and then again from 5 in the evening till 9 in the night. On an average 100 to 150 pedestrians visited him daily during summers.
On one such occasion, I remember how my friend and me had forgotten to pay him and were so engrossed in our chitter-chatter that we did not even realize the oddity. As we began to walk away, we heard Kamal call out for us – Money, money! That is when we realized and headed back to pay him. Quite an embarrassing situation back then, it currently only makes me smile!
Kamal smiled and took the money acknowledging that it is normal to be forgetful or absent-minded at times. Even after all these years, the spot still serves as a strategic location to sell sugarcane juice and every time that I cross the location, I’m reminded of the afternoons and the yummilicious sugarcane juice treats!
Pic Courtesy: New India Express dot com