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Not so cool

TAHIR ABBAS
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TREND Earthen pots, once a popular water storage cooler, are slowly getting erased from our memory

Cheap refrigerationRoadside vendors selling clay potsPHOTO: G.N. RAO
Cheap refrigerationRoadside vendors selling clay potsPHOTO: G.N. RAO

For Umar Aslam, an earthen pot maker, life has taken a cruel turn. A profession which was practiced by his ancestors is slowly but steadily losing steam. The potter has been witness to the change in the world of pots. The sales have gone down by almost 40 per cent in the last 3-4 decades. “The number of people who purchase earthen pots has decreased. Maybe people take hygiene into account and abstain from purchasing such pots”, says Umar.

The technique of evaporative cooling is the operative force in the pot that keeps the water cool. This is a natural process in which water seeps in from mini-pores in the pot and evaporates. This cools the water inside the pot. “The slow process of cooling is what makes such pots less popular these days as people prefer instant refrigeration,” adds Sunder Kumar, another potter from Chattarpur. The cost of a pot varies from Rs.50 to 250, depending upon its shape and size. Earthen pots are a rarity in houses these days in summers. Only those few with a penchant for old practices and customs, keep it at home.

Rashmi Gosain, based in Delhi, remembers how such pots were a common thing during her childhood. “My grandmom used earthen pots to store cold water. I used to get refreshed after drinking the water,” adds Rashmi. From the health point of view too, it is a good option. Water stored in matkas or surahis is cooled to about 14 degrees Celsius, which is ideal to have. Traditionally, it is believed to be gentle on the throat and any day better than drinking chilled water from the fridge. Constant dip in the sales often has potters thinking of diversifying or switching over to new professions but the lack of knowledge and education prevents them from doing so.

TAHIR ABBAS

The technique of evaporative cooling

is the operative force

in the pot that

keeps the

water cool

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