Nothing artificial about it

AFTER ALL that fear brought about by pesticide-laden bottled water, people, we find, prefer to drink either boiled "Cauvery water" or the fizzy colourful stuff. Pity really. No, not drinking of boiled water, but soft drinks.

As any number of scary e-mails have told us, the fizzy stuff is not good for the innards, our teeth, and general health.

What is more, it also makes us let out little burps for a long time.

That can get embarrassing. Still, there is something terribly attractive about those colours of carbonated water. Never mind the inane commercials their makers come out with.

And let us admit it, the bottles come in handy too. When it is sticky and sweaty, no one really cares about drinking wisely and well.

But really, when you come to think of it, summers are meant for "majjige" or buttermilk or "moru" as it is variously called in different regions.

Just think, there are so many ways to spice it up: a dash of mint, ginger, salt, curry leaves, coriander, chopped chillies, sugar...whatever tickles your taste buds, in fact.

And it tastes even better if served in "matkas". The drink then acquires an earthy flavour and feel. Unlike soft drinks, this mix never leaves your stomach in a fix. You do not feel uncomfortably full, plus your insides feel cool.

On train journeys during summer, the "chai-coffee wallahs" invariably carry packets of Rail neer (wonder if it has passed the pesticide tests!) and "moru". Needless to say, "moru" is delicious when chilled.

In our City, soft drinks rule supreme. You only have to go to a cinema to see this for yourself. This is despite the fact that cinema owners are notorious for charging at least Rs. 10 extra on the ticket price. Yes, we also have hotels, restaurants, and chaat centres that overflow with juices and shakes.

And sometimes, some places do offer interesting variations such as refreshing ginger lime. But it is usually the smaller eateries and darshinis that sell "majjige".

Maybe, "majjige" will become popular if it gets the capitalist treatment: promotions with snazzy posters extolling its virtues and free takeaways (suitably minuscule, of course), not to mention some loony advertisements.

Such things belong to an artificial market-driven world. "Majjige" is too real, too simple for that. Besides, it is nicest when prepared at home.

By Divya Sreedharan

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