A very small, almost two-year old little boy comes out of his room in the morning, still rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
“Good morning, Shriram”, elicits a mumble “Gmum” out of him.
His eyes fall on a large and luscious-looking watermelon on the table. All sleep disappears and the eyes shine with excitement as he looks around for an adult provider of food – and fall on his aunt – me.
“Anu atha, I bhaunt, I bhaunt, I BHAUNT BHAUTTERMELON” – the words tumble out of his mouth.
“Come brush your teeth, Shriram and drink your milk and then we’ll have watermelon.”
“Please, please, PLEEEZZE! Can I have BHAUTTERMELON?”
I might have been able to resist the plea if it was for just a watermelon but a BHAUTTERMELON – no way! We arrive at a compromise – teeth first, the the watermelon, then milk.
Slice after slice disappears as he holds his tummy to say he is too full for milk. Offered another slice of watermelon instead, he gauges me carefully to see if I might be pulling a fast one on him – “what if I say yes and then she says I have to drink milk instead?” Never underestimate the bargaining powers of a two-year old!
One of the greatest pleasures of an otherwise unbearable Indian summer (the first being mangoes of course!) are these delicious, sin-free (try putting on weight on a watermelon!!) fruit and anything made out of them – juices and ice creams and sorbets and even gazpacho!
One summer, a couple of years ago, we had a ten hour drive and I made this juice which I froze overnight so we could drink it on the way as it melted. My dear friend Dipika (and her husband SN) with whom we were travelling, decided to subsist on just the juice and bypass all the eatables! Have also carried large jugs of it to innumerable sports meets for Kanch and her friends. Here it is.
- Watermelon – deseeded and cut into chunks – any size. The easest way to deseed is to cut thin, large slices and shake the seeds out while pushing the harder ones out with the point of a knife. – 4 cups
- Juice of one lemon
- Mint leaves – 1 tbsp
- Sugar – 2 tsp (optional)
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Kaala namak (pink Himalayan salt) – 1 pinch
- Tabasco sauce – 1/4 tsp
- Pepper – 1/4 tsp
Put everything into the blender. Cover with a cloth – in case stuff whizzes out – and blend well till the juice is smooth. A few chunks are great though! Freeze overnight if you are travelling and you can keep sipping it as you drive – definitely makes the Indian summer more bearable and is a far better option to milk! Please brush your teeth first though!