The past few days my Facebook timeline has been filled with friends and relatives in Odisha relishing a glass of Lassi. Now Lassi is such a colloquial term to be writing about when it’s readily available in every street corner in the country. But this kind of the Lassi is a special one that sure has to be told about.
Back during my childhood, I’d cycle back from school and with the pocket money given to me. With the small amount jingling in my pocket I had to choose between either spending on the vendors standing outside my school or cycle back to my favorite Lassi point. I’ve always been a picky person with a knack for discovering right from the time I was a kid. Not boasting of it, but it was just that my friendship revolved around people who’d come to for recommendations.
The burning 46C temperature didn’t matter as I wizzed past in the traffic for my glass of Lassi. Let’s also face it that having got the preparation of chenna right hundreds of years ago, Odisha was going to be come up with something creative it’s Lassi. While Punjab and Varanasi variants are talked about across whole of India, you haven’t had a Lassi until you’ve tasted the one at Lingaraj Lassi. But Lingaraj Lassi had never been my favorite but rather the ones in Cuttack.
The other day I was reading a humorous take of one of my fellow Odia blogger who felt who’d been swindled by having a lassi in Delhi. Yes, I do too feel the same everytime I want to have one during the summers. Rest of the seasons in India, you’d not find me complaining, but the summers are kind of special time for this. In fact the Lassi in Odisha is so thick that you’d ever find any blended dahi (yogurt) in them.
Let me take you over the entire process of how one is made in a typical stall. First comes crushed ice, syrup, curd and essence in each of the tall glass. As the person makes upto 50 glasses at a time, each of the glasses are hand-mixed at high levels. This is then topped off with a thick layer of rabdi (condensed milk), nuts, raisins and cherries. A glass of the Lassi and you’re set until your next meal. They are super heavy.
So the next time I order a glass of Lassi while sitting in a restaurant all I’ll feel is a dampness in my soul of missing a part of summer I liked. The summers in Odisha have been cruel but this was a respite. Best Rs 10/- spent once upon a time has now been hit by price rice. The last I remember they’d sky rocketed to about 40 bucks. Others might think that it still isn’t much. But for us Odias when eating in our state, anything costing beyond or nearing 50 bucks is considered pricey.