No summer in India is complete without the sight of a “chuski” or “gola” or “kalakhatta” man.
Bits of ice are deftly shaved off with a knife or a large machine with a handle from a large slab of ice which is usually kept covered with a dark red cloth. The ice shavings are then squeezed together either into a sphere (gola) or around a stick (chuski). Numerous brightly coloured bottles of sugar and fruit (not) syrup adorn the front of the cart and you choose your flavour which is then liberally poured on the ice shavings and handed over to you to be enjoyed and result in your tongue becoming the same vitriolic colour as the chosen syrup… No child from a “self respecting” family is ever allowed a chuski /gola as there is no guarantee where the water for the ice comes from and in my mother’s words carry “typhoid germs” .. As children, we had to be content making our own poor versions of this much coveted delicacy .. Our home made versions with sanitised ice and proper fruit cordial always remained pale imitations of the real thing and much to our sadness never made our tongues change colour. This afternoon in a little seaside town, I came across a “snow cone”. To my delight, it was nothing but a western version of the Chuski man ! This machine churned out ice shavings with a press of a button, which were then liberally doused with coloured syrup and handed over to Letitia who very kindly allowed me to take a picture… I’m sure her tongue will also turn a very interesting colour soon … My brief encounter took me down memory lane and for a moment I was quite tempted to get myself one. Until my grown up self prevailed and I got myself a coconut ice cream instead… #surreyspice #authentic #flavoursofhome #homemadehappiness #surreycaterer