Probably one person who is not exactly happy about the brief respite from the summer heat over the past few days is Shakunthala, who runs a ‘Sambharam’ stall near East Fort here.

With the summer heat announcing itself very early this year, her little ‘thattukada’ is populated throughout the day by flocks of dehydrated workers, students and travellers who prefer the traditional buttermilk drink over other fancier ones.

Though her stall draws customers all though the year, it is during the three summer months that her preparation runs out in no time with customers often ordering more than a glass.

Across the city, even small stalls selling fruit juices are doing brisk business. Bolstered by the demand, shop keepers are willing to experiment beyond the standard lime, orange and pineapple juices and create the strangest mixes.

Unusual concoctions

There is arguably no fruit juice seller in the city who has mastered the art of experimenting and coming up with unusual concoctions as well as Suresh Babu of Chithira Juice Bar Thekkumoodu near the Law College junction. He has achieved nothing short of a celebrity status with his skills in mixing and serving multiple complicated recipes at the same time.

The walls of his store are pasted with newspaper clippings about the store and him, but the fame has not slackened his resolve or diminished the quality of the drinks. There are over 300 varieties of drinks and he uses a startling range of ingredients for them. He makes use of all kinds of vegetables, even bitter gourd, but the end result is always a pleasant surprise. All kinds of condiments also find a prominent place on his shelves, be it pepper, turmeric or salt.

In fact, as Suresh likes to point out, his drinks are packed with every ingredient a nutritionist can possibly come up with. The ice he adds is made of filtered water and the milk is never a day old, he says.