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Sunday, May 11, 2008 

Juicy half volley!

Summer is not my favorite time of the year. Although this winter was quite bone chilling, and I would like to take some stern measures to evade it near the year end, it is a touch better than the summers as a poor man can afford 3 sweaters but ill afford an AC. To add to that I can not have my favorite 'gud poli' (jaggery stuffed chapati) as it is harmful in warm conditions. But what is truly a delight in this season is the taste and sheer fragrance of ganne ka juice. Ahhh…even the mention of this name is such a calming influence for me, and it reminds me that there is still peace, harmony and goodwill in this world. Ganne ka juice is the perfect thirst quencher, all coke (which I like), pepsi, slice (has anyone seen the latest ad?...ooohh), fanta etc are put to shame my this amalgamation of supernatural elements and the king of all fruits, sugarcane.

In middle class families, juices were never and would never be, a part of daily consumption. Juice was an ultimate delicacy that was only had if you were severely ill or unbearably insistent on having it. Needless to say, the latter seldom happened. Juice as the word entails is the fruitful take away of something, which means you get only the good without the bad and this is perhaps an absolute antithesis ff the middle class values where the good and bad coexist. And therefore, maybe, juice never quite entered the psyche of the common man as a common drink. Even coke and pepsi are common drinks these days, I always find a bottle in my home when I go back. But never seen a packet of juice.

My oldest memories of the ganne ka juice (or what I call GJ amongst other things), take me to a time when I must have been 4 or 5 and I had a beautiful illness, where the doctor asked my father to have me drink one glass of juice everyday. Dr. Sethi his name was, and you wouldn’t expect me to forget him. Every evening I would wait for my father to return on his Lambretta and then I would hop on to the back seat, with an air of sheer smugness towards not just my sister, but to every kid in the colony. My father used to take me to a juice wala in jhilmil about a 500 m ride which used to feel like the NH8 in those days. The juice wala used primitive methods for milking the sugarcanes as it were. As many of you would have seen, there were 2 buffaloes moving in a circle for around 15 minutes as we waited impatiently. I could never quite make out where the juice was being taken, but I imagined it would be somewhere in the centre. Also because once the buffaloes stopped, the juice wala would go to the centre and take out the patila full of juice. The process after that has not really changed in the years since. The chhannees are still dirty, honey bees are aplenty, the glasses are considered washed with a small gush of water and masala still feels like the gravel below. But the taste remains unbeatable. It is the same sugarcane afterall and nothing can possibly beat it.

I have seen rates of glasses graduate from Re1 for bada glass and Rs.0.50 for chhota to Re10 for bada glass. But still very less has changed, which is good. The buffaloes have long lost out to machines, which suck every drop of juice out of the sugarcane and makes it feel something that rupak huda once told me – ‘tu paida hi kyun hua…mar kyun nahi jata’. But every life that the sugarcane gives up is worth every bit of juice that it gives out. Everytime I see a ganne ke juice ki dukaan, I feel like I am at home.

Juices are quite easily the flavor of every summer and as temperatures rise across the world it is going to stay. But for me and many of us, juices will still remain exotic variations to every day eating. The juice embodies a belief that we have missed the bad part and are straight up to the good things. That is of course one real reason why juices are slightly costly, but it is only up to us to accept it and endorse it like we have done with milk and to an extent soft drinks.

It is not a coincidence that till about a year ago, me and my flatmates celebrated the 1st of every month (salary day) by buying 2 packets of Real orange juice. It was almost a protocol, that the first spending of the salary will include juice. Since then, of course, credit card bills, rents, petrol bills, phone bills have been so high that the 1st is no more a day to celebrate. But then again when it comes to ganne ka juice, I have endorsed it completely and anytime I can find it, I’ll have it. Even if it is the 30th of a month.

I have not seen anyone who doesn’t like juices. Although there aren’t many who are as much as in love with juice as I am, but still everyone likes it. But I have never seen what an over dose of juice can do. Can it kill interest in the juice? Can someone find the juice unattractive if he had a lot of it for a significant period of time? Come the first week of June, the IPL will probably answer those questions. It may perhaps also tell us that if the overdose of juice has a side effect, does that mean that people stop liking the fruit or maybe even the tree that brought the fruit to life?


u do the nostalgia posts well :) and im amazed how u remember things such vividly..
here in b'lore at our house.. we are a total sucker for juice.. and we get these real/tropicana thingies every few days.. and for almost 2 years... havent got 'used' to it.. it still feels great!
and for more.. ask the TP abt how we f*** the sunday morning breakfast when he's here.. aa aa aa
ganne ka juice.... i know what u mean when u say its the absolute thirst quencher... and u made me remember those days when i used to cycle back from school to home with my friends to catch the "Sharjah Cup" matches and wud stop to have a glass (or more) of 'GJ' ( it cost Rs 2 btw)..aah! amazing :)
epang opang !!

god! that was a long comment :D

one of the few people who share in your love with juices is avinash goyal "deva". until late last year, he would get one-ke-saath-one-free tropicana from big bazaar every few days; this summer, he decided these artificial juices weren't good enough, and now he drinks fresh juice every day he can, and makes us too (something we are all thankful to him for)

also, not only is he a consumer, he is also now planning to get into juice manufacturing and delivery to large offices of NCR to fulfil the needs of people like you

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