Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A yarn from memories with Tarmujer Sharbat / Watermelon Juice

Two young girls. Just stepped out of the boundaries of school and into junior college. Both came from very different schools and family backgrounds. Both as different as chalk and cheese.

They met. They talked. They liked each other. And became friends.
And with time, fast friends.

Both girls gelled into each other's families with ease and were treated just as the other daughter of the house. While S looked forward to the mutton dish cooked so lovingly by C's mom, C would often spend a night over at S's house during holidays ... easily a part of the huge gang of boisterous cousins.

Inspite of being a part of a big group of friends, there was a special bond between the two.
Both were a little idealistic and could never accept or justify anything wrong ... like bullying the old phuchkawala / panipuriwala by other girls ... who were ready to swipe a phuchka or two when the old man was busy with other customers.
Sometimes their serious academic discussions would spill over to young dreams of the future ... and what lay beyond the academic world ... and their sleepy little hilly town.

The college was just a block away from S's house. During the hot summer months, whenever they got a chance, they would walk down to her house for lunch and some rest and respite.

During summers, Tormujer Sharbat or Watermelon juice was a regular at her house. S's Ma would make them by the pitcherfuls and stock the fridge. Anybody coming in from the hot sun would get a couple of glassfuls of this soothing and simple drink. Sometimes it would have the tang of lemon and a slight salty taste, at other times plain and naturally sweet.

As soon as the girls would walk in, S's Ma would hand them a glass ... sometimes two.
The first time C came, she was offered a glass of this watermelon juice. She demurred and refused. S insisted. C again shook her head.
But S's Ma came along and said that she need not feel shy and go ahead and have the drink.

So it became a ritual. Inspite of C always hesitating a little before taking a glass, summer became synonymous to glassfuls of watermelon juice that both girls had many an afternoon all through their junior college days, sometimes when cramming for exams or when just yapping away about nothing. :-)

Cut to adulthood.

S, just married, is visiting home. C, married a while back and staying in the same town has come over to meet her ... just as she did every time S was home for vacations.
A lot of water has flown under the bridge. Both girls now know life from a very different plane. And so naturally love to reminisce about the olden days.

Both go "Remember when we ...", "Remember when that girl ...", "Remember ..." ... and so on.

And C says "Remember how we used to walk down in the hot sun just to prove we were all grown up and do not need rickshaws or cars to drop us?"
"Yeah", S makes a face. "How I wish we were not so stupid. It would have saved us all that agony over tanned faces and arms".
Both laugh out loud.

Then C says " Remember how we had to have those BIG glasses of watermelon juice everyday?"
"Yeah", S makes a face again. "How I hated it!"
"What ??!"
"I just hated it."
"Yes, I hate watermelon juice."

"What?!" C, looking flabbergasted and laughing at the same time, asks.
"What whaat? "
"If you did not like it, why did you drink it ... everyday?!" ... C asks.
"Because you used to be so shy ... if I did not drink it, you wouldn't too. "
"But aunty? She knew?!"
"Yes, but she saw it a good chance to get some of that into me ... so never said anything", S says.

"Whaaat!?" C says again.
"Now what?"
"Why did you not tell me that you hated it?"
"Coz I hate watermelon juice too!"
"Yes. And I had it because you used to drink it up like a good girl and I would get aunty's glares!".

Both friends stare at each other for a while. And then burst out laughing. And go on laughing ... it took quite a while for them to soak in the whole thing. :-)

S and C are still fast friends. And never forget to offer each other a glass of watermelon juice when the other is visiting ... which of course is declined ... but not before a lot of exaggerated shocked looks, rolling of eyes and laughter. :-)

And whenever S makes watermelon juice now , a smile crosses her face when she thinks of those two young friends, happily enduring something they so dislike ... just so that the other is not deprived of it.

This simple Tormujer Sharbat or Watermelon juice is my saviour these days ... as am not allowed to eat or drink a whole lot of stuff.

Am sending this no frills glassful to this wonderful event going on ...
Of Chalks and Chopsticks by Aquadaze

... co-hosted by Sandeepa and Sra.

I hardly take part in events, but when unique ones like this are around, could not resist the temptation to be a part of it.

Need :

Watermelon, cut into biggish pieces

How to :

Run the pieces of watermelon in a juicer.

Serve chilled.

If possible, freeze some juice and add to the glassfuls when serving. It is better than adding plain ice cubes ... on melting does not make the juice watery.

You can also add a few drops of lemon juice and a very little pinch od salt for a different taste.

Sometimes a slight taste of ginger ( run a piece of fresh ginger with the fruit in the juicer) also gives a wonderful flavour to this juice.

And on a parting note, I thank all of you who have cared to stop by and leave good wishes for me here ... and also those who have regularly mailed me and have been anxious to know about my well being.

It is indeed heartenening to see so many lurkers delurk and so many non bloggers concerned about me.

I am still not fully well ... and still a lot of restrictions in diet. And still in pain ... albeit a lot less than before. So it will be a while before I can be back here ... though am considering making a post once in a while ... anything to get my mind off this trouble.

Till then ... thanks again folks ... and keep in touch.
Love ya all !! :-)