Been born and raised in Jaipur, Rajasthan, which on the map of India is a desert and my beloved hometown, I grew up in the land of torrid summer where your melanin shines in full glory in the day and a pleasant breeze blows across your face through the evening. Well, now you can never tell me, “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
Reminiscing the good old summer days takes me to a feeling of loo(hot summer wind) on my face, oodles of chilled Aam Panna down my throat, and breezy clothes to relax an otherwise sweaty body and to top it, electricity cuts.
While I sipped chaas in Bombay and having a fair share of sultry summers, I guess one thing that was common at both places was a parched throat 24*7 and sweaty tanned body.
And that made me list down a few necessities for a great and tolerable summer.
One of the most vivid joys of summer was gulping down that tangy Aam Panna, a sanctum sanctorum of Indian summer, made of unripe green mangoes. My mother always had her jars filled so that when we come running from school or playground, our souls are never parched.
Beautifully dressed in her mulmul Indigo kurta, she happily prepared this recipe and filled two big jars for us to finish it off in a jiffy.
The recipe is simple and artfully made by my very own mother. But if an amateur like me can think of making it, you could too. Just boil unripe green mangoes until they become soft. Peel them and let them cool down. By the time, mix with sugar, roasted jeera, roasted ajwain, black and white salt as per your taste( I probably would screw up when it comes to adding salt) and kalonji. Grind the mixture with the mango scrape. And voila, your Aam Panna is ready to be served chilled. Of course, top it with a copious amount of ice cubes.
A great book to have your back
You know they say, “One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” Undeniably, undoubtedly.
I remember how my parents used to move to the farm during summer. Both my brother and I enjoyed splashing in the pool while my mother and father laid down on their respective charpoy with a book in their hands and a summer cooler that made the heat bearable I guess. I know now why they religiously followed the ritual of going to the farm and not caring for a dime. Yes, it’s the book.
A great book can walk you through any weather. Especially summer with a parched throat, burnt skin, and an awakened mind.
Also, I just finished reading ‘Flights’ by Olga Tokarczuk. And this book has my heart.
Unnecessary extra information, the book is available on Amazon.
Easy-breezy mulmul clothes
Roaming around in the house wearing loose and utterly soft mulmul kurtas is something that I have seen my mother do. Walking around in pastels and florals in scorching hot summer and still at ease is what she is best at. I used to happily look up in my tank tops thinking about her boring clothes. In hindsight, her decision seems a wise one when I’d now substitute my leggy tights and ganjis for a butter-soft XL cotton kurta any day.
Minimal jewellery for minimal hassle
Oh, can we ever picture our lives without jewellery? I can’t. From my childhood to this day, my maa wore her ring, studs and two sturdy bangles that she kept changing time and again. Maybe to refresh her style or mood that swings by silver or sometimes gold. I used to think that if she wore too many accessories, it would come in the way of cooking and other household chores. I grew up to wear beautifully carved silver handcuffs and only to realize that it’s the weather too that limits your sanctuary. Finally, fell in love with barely-there pendants and rings that can be worn out and has become a part of my every day. Gladly, my insatiable appetite for jewellery began while the sun shines in its full glory.
No sun without sunscreen
I truly and most genuinely adore my melanin. And I hope you do too. But we want suntan, not sunburns. Well, you like to be raw but everything does need a little TLC from time to time. And your skin too. How generously we care for our silver jewellery, precious gemstones, clothes, we got to care for our very own skin too. With all the ubtan and skincare you do at your home, unwanted guests are waiting for you outside and you don’t want to meet those visitors. Yes, UV rays and great skin do not go hand in hand and hence the sunscreen.
And proudly and happily, taking after my mother and taking the legacy forward with Aam Panna, minimal jewels and unfiltered kindness, is something that makes my summer, summer. While sipping on nostalgia each day, I’d perhaps want to ask her if she’d want to live her summer days any other way. While she is at it, I’d like to tell her that she did give me the best of summertime to live a lifetime.
Share your thoughts on what do you think is a summer essential. We would love to hear from you.