I thought I would finish whatever I had to do before it got unbearably hot. But alas! I had not taken into account the hurdle that was to come before me that day. Every step threw me behind schedule. At noon, worn-out, hot and miserable, I still found myself on the road, looking for respite among the shops. During these hours, my clothes got wet with perspiration and dried up so many times that I made quite a clumsy figure. During this period, I had drank water like a fish. But the sun wasn’t merciful and it made me crave for something more than just water.
I thought once again to refresh myself with a cold drink. As I strolled down the street, exhausted to the point of collapsing, my eyes were more than happy to notice a shop named ‘Cane-o-la’ which served fresh sugarcane juice. It was like finding an oasis in the desert. It was in the perfect spot. I savoured this moment of satisfaction and hastened my approach towards it.
My initial thoughts were a presumption that it served regular sugarcane juice. However, I was wrong and never had I been happier for being wrong. My eyes brightened up and marvelled at the creativity of serving a traditional drink prepared in different flavours. Unconventional, innovative and a replica of my personality. Might sound cheesy, but as a foodie I believe it was made for me.
I was excited to know that the traditional cane juice, which originated in New Guinea about 10,000 years ago, is now available in so many different flavours. The available flavours were mint, lime, ginger, salt and pepper, chat masala and the classic plain one.
I wanted to try something different, bored of the same old patterns of my life. So I ordered for a minty cane juice. It appeared rebellious to me, I found a projection of me in those ingredients, as they showed a blend of the classic old sugarcane juice along with a dash of the new rebellious mint flavor.
In a span of five minutes, the service boy bought a Styrofoam glass filled with the juice. As I brought it near my mouth, my nostrils inhaled the smell of fresh mint essence. I took my first sip and as soon as the liquid embraced my taste buds, I felt a pang of freshness. This cane juice was totally different from the classic plain or the traditional cane juice we have been drinking for ages. I gulped the drink down shamelessly due to the unsatisfied thirst that had caused me turn into a blind man searching incessantly for the light. I knew that it already tasted different, but there was something about the flavour.
The corners of my lips let the juice escape as small strings of minty green goodness made their way across my chin. I am sure whoever could see me right now would come to the conclusion that I never had cane juice in my life. Yes, that was right, I never had THIS cane juice in my life. The juice was over before I knew it. I wondered how this shop had always been in front of me but I never took its existence into consideration. However it was worth it, this was the perfect moment.
I came back to the present when the service boy said, “Madame should I bring one more?”
I smiled at him; the boy was smart. Well, it was obvious that I wasn’t satisfied with just one glass. I wanted more but then I realized I wasn’t Richie Rich. I came to my senses and gazed at the prices with a sense of apprehension. My thoughts came to a screeching halt when my eyes adjusted to capture what was in front of me. The price was 15 rupees for ALL the flavours. This has to be a joke. Maybe I was overreacting but I can assure you, something as good as this should be sold for a higher price or at least the price that should be reserved for something as good as the ambrosia that I just had.
Just to confirm that I wasn’t hallucinating I asked, “How much for one glass?”
He looked confused as if thinking along the lines of “was she illiterate? Didn’t she just stare at the price for too long?
He answered anyway, “15 rupees for all flavours.”
I grinned displaying my pearly whites and I knew what I was about to do next.