Delhi Summers: Cucumber losing its cool quotient

While the heatwave is keeping several people locked inside their air-conditioned homes and offices, vendors have to spend the entire day outdoors to earn a meagre livelihood. Delhi’s locally produced summer drinks and food offer passersby much-needed respite.

A vendor selling cool cucumbers near Jama Masjid in old Delhi (Photo credit: Shruty Yadav)

As the temperature has crossed the 40-degree mark, different summer food stalls have popped up across the capital. Despite the low prices, there are few takers of popular food items like shikanji, or kheera which provide a cooling effect.

These food items are being sold at the same price, regardless of inflation. A shikanji vendor at the bustling Amar Colony market continues to sell glasses at Rs 10 and Rs 20 even when lemon prices are seeing an unprecedented hike. He says he cannot increase the prices as there are very few customers now.

Local coolers and summer special food items have been a part of Delhi’s culture for ages. Lemon juice, soda, sharbat made of different fruits, cucumber garnished with salt, ‘Mohabbat ka sharbat’ made from Rooh Afza are just some of the Delhi specials sold at minimal prices for everyone.

Despite their attempts to beautify their stalls to attract customers, local sellers are now gradually getting overwhelmed as more and more cafes offer easy-on-the-pocket coolers and several people prefer to sit in air-conditioned places. 

As summer temperatures rise in the coming weeks, these foods will continue to help people fight dehydration and summer-borne complications immensely. 

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