People C. Kathiravan offers his customers a way to cool down with his honest-to-goodness lassi
Sweet lassi with malai icing …. I drink it in one shot. It is delicious and so refreshing. Next is the badam kheer. “Please try our special badam drink too,” urges C. Kathiravan. Made with pista, badam and cashew, the drink is wholesome and has a home made flavour to it. Chillax Impala Lassi has been making nutritious lassi drinks for the last 25 years.
“My brother Suresh learnt about lassi making when he was in Bangalore,” recalls Kathiravan. The brothers are from Pavoor Sathiram village of Tenkasi taluk in Tiunelveli. “We worked at tea shops, sold sugarcane juice, and grilled corn, and butter milk. But we lost money in a communal clash,” he says. Kathiravan returned to his village to start a milk business. His brother moved to Coimbatore and set up his lassi outlet. It was a push cart at R.S. Puram signal on Thriuvenkatasamy Road. “When I faced losses in my milk business, I sold the cows, and joined my brother,” says Kathiravan.
In the beginning, Kathiravan would sell only sweet and salt lassi to customers at Saibaba Colony, at Edayar Corner on Oppanakkara Street, and Raja Street. “Business at Edayar corner was good as the North Indian population there loved lassi. But, the auto drivers and rowdies created trouble. So, I moved out and set up a shop at Sukrawarpet,” he says. He struggled for over a year, but soon business stabilised. “Now, we have customers coming to our shop for generations. Members of families keep coming back for more,” he smiles. It’s the friendship, he says, which he shared with his customers that helped his business grow. And, quality. Kathiravan now runs three outlets and employs six people. His outlets Nellai Suresh Impala Lassi on Thriuvenkatasamy and Sukrawarpet are named after his brother who died.
Kathiravan has now introduced new flavours. Special lassi is made with extra thick curd and more malai. And Chillax Deluxe special comes loaded with ice cream, nuts, and seasonal fruits. Rose milk is a big hit among his customers. “Testing and tasting of new flavours is totally in-house. We don’t copy what is available in the market. We churn the lassi with butter churners to retain the taste. There’s no machine involved in any of the process” he says.
Madurai’s Jigarthanda is the latest addition, based on a customer’s request. “I went to Madurai to taste the drink. We use the same ingredients, the nannari herb, jamja seeds, milk and kadal paasi, but our jigarthanda stays fresh long after it is prepared. That’s a secret,” he smiles. His mantra for success is, “Stay honest and confident. Discipline and cleanliness are important. And, think big.”
On that note, I drink the masala lassi (ground pepper, cumin seeds, jaljeera and asafoetida, made in-house) and keep the jigarthanda for another day.
Chillax is at Shop. N0.3, West Arockiasamy Road (near Rathina Vinayagar temple), R.S. Puram. It is open from 9.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m on all days. For details, call: 99943-66676/ 82205-07925.