The Summer Chills
The Summer Chills
The night is sultry, with no whisper of the breeze. Trees stood in strict attention. The electric fan making countless circles, doing nothing to dispel the scorching heat. My face is soaked, the drops coming together to run into my eyes and drip from my chin. The bed feels like a hot tawa, with fire simmering under it.
Right now, I would sell my soul for a bowl of ice-cream. I opened the refrigerator to absorb cold chills. But the moment door is closed; my body is drenched in sweat.
Imaginations, weather, giant sundae all started playing in my mind at 3 am as I was hopelessly roaming in the kitchen. I sipped a full bottle of water. With half-opened eyes, I pulled the freezer door. For some time I delved here and there and then took the thin layer of ice from the chill tray and poured on my face and neck. It felt like the summer was robbed by icy chills.
To my pleasant surprise, a giant bowl of raspberry sundae was waiting for me. Before I could gather myself, I started scooping the frozen beauty from all sides. The first bite melted my soul, the second triggered my cold blocks and in the third, the bowl was over!
As kids, I remember fancy ice cream parlour was an alien concept. There was no Oreo swirl, blueberry cheese, chocolate peanut butter, raspberry ripple, marshmallow or tin roof sundae.
Barf ka gola, kala khatta, ice gola call it what you may, this was our only summer dessert to slurp on. And after finishing the tangy ice cone, the sight of showing tongue to each other was an act of innocence.
Amidst the scorching heat, a bunch of friends gorging on a dollop of snowball was a common scene.
For the very first time in my life, I marched to the golawala who had parked his cart outside my school and demanded a Kala Khatta Gola. Icy, sweet, with a squeeze of lemon, it is the perfect antidote to a vexing day and the perfect act of rebellion against my parents who had warned me of the gola's attendant perils of diarrhoea and typhoid. But who cares about hygiene? When the choice is between a gola and a scolding...
Going out of home nonchalantly, I assumed my secret would be safe. Alas! I had failed to notice a huge splotch that had stained my white uniform...
My penchant for Kala Khatta Ice Gola stems from the fascination I hold for black plum but of course, other gola flavours are equally delicious. Lucid orange, mango, rose, pineapple, strawberry, guava, watermelon, chocolate, paan, falooda — you name it, they have it. My friends have told me about intriguing Malai Golas that are served with dry fruits, and sound like a royal treat of sorts.
So I ponder, summer days can be red flags in many ways but the nostalgia it brings along makes me feel young again.