Some like it hot, some like it cold… what matters is to keep yourself hydrated.
It's so often repeated that it almost loses meaning: The advice to drink specific drinks when the heat becomes dehydrating. I understand that fluids need replenishing, that cold liquids are going to please and refresh, that some foods, like khus, are inherently “cooling”, but the advice seems empty when you're wilting from the heat.
Once I was travelling long distance by car, motoring from Chandigarh to Delhi, in the days when cars were not air-conditioned. We left at the crack of dawn to beat the heat, but by about 11, the dry heat and scorching sun made the trip a nightmare. Opening the windows brought in the loo, your hair and lips became as dry as straw; and closing them baked you into a Marie biscuit. Midpoint, at Karnal, we stopped because the driver wanted a cup of tea. This old saying, “Garam chai garmi mein thandak pahunchati hai,” I have never understood. Anyway he wanted his cuppa and we went into the restaurant. My cousin, whose car it was, suggested I have salted nimbu pani. I would have preferred iced water or plain nimbu pani, but he insisted. And voila, it worked. Quite magical — half a glass down and I was feeling human again. I realise that heat is one thing — it causes acute discomfort, but salt loss is quite another — it debilitates.
Iced tea wonder
A cuppa that does work for me, though, is a tall glass of iced tea. If it's thoroughly chilled, it tastes delightful of course, but it also quenches thirst that no jugfuls of plain water can, however many trowels of crushed ice have been added.
In my list of favourite cold summer drinks there are many criteria: Looks (the strawberry cooler wins hands down. Though the sight of a tall, misted glass, with chilled amber coloured tea, ice cubes clinking, a green lime leaf floating, can give the red a run for its money — but then it could be the association); taste (they all tie for this one); and efficacy in beating the heat (panna and iced tea). Khus ka sherbet? I could live without it, but that's entirely my idiosyncrasy because, to my mind, khus should be inhaled, in an ittar from Kannauj or in the fresh breeze of an evaporation cooler through pads of khus, vetiver roots, not consumed. That's like eating Patanwala's soap. In the hot summer months, sometimes a muslin sachet of vetiver roots is tossed into the earthen pot that keeps the household's drinking water cool and, like a bouquet garni, lends a distinctive aroma to the water.
In summer, with non-stop demands for cold drinks, keep a bottle of sugar sherbet in the kitchen. (Boil one litre of water with one kg sugar and simmer just until sugar dissolves. When cool, add one tsp lime juice to prevent crystallisation.)
Keywords: diet tips