Monday, May 21, 2012

The Roohafza Social Revolution

Satyamev Jayate, the TV show hosted by Aamir Khan is just about 2 episodes down. I haven’t seen the show, but of whatever I’ve learnt from the facebook status updates on a Sunday afternoon, it seems to be hitting off pretty well with the audiences. It actually has the perfect ingredients to be a popular Indian television show viz. diced pieces of drama and emotion fried in a cup of self pity with a garnish of Bollywood on top. But it’s unfair how I at least have a choice of sauces to select for my pasta. Satyamev fails to show that kind of generosity. It just puts all of the above in a pan of patriotism and social change, and shoves it in my face.

No matter how closely you’ve all watched Masterchef for the past three years (and felt proud to have started watching something on “Star World” finally) there is an important ingredient you have failed to notice. And what follows will make you realize that Matt, Gary and George are not the best cooks that you’ve known. Baba Ramdev, Anna Hazare and Aamir Khan are! If you’re a 47 year old fun-deprived house wife reading this blog just so that you could gather the courage to send me an email after seeing my blog header that made you feel funny in your salwar, just forgive me for not taking good old Sanjeev Kapoor’s name, here.

The three cooks that I talk about have the ingredients that rank higher than turmeric powder for us Indians. They're called… *drumroll*… patriotism and social change.

Where do you think Baba Ramdev’s famous “yog-halwa” gets its taste from? How does Anna Hazare’s “Ann-Shann Milk Shake” get that beautiful Old Delhi flavor? How did the little dhaniya like garnish of a Bollywood star develop the flavor for his “Satyamev-Jayate Laddoo”? The ingredients, my friend, are *gives you the cue to say it in unison*… patriotism and social change.

For the past three years, these are the only things that the media has been feeding us on. They’re doing it ‘cuz they know patriotism sells more than the McAloo Tikki at Mc Donald’s, and that’s all we Indians wish to drool on. We’ll hog on the truck full of Dal Bharati that they offer, burp out loud on social networking websites, and then just forget it all after a fart, leaving people holding their noses and doing nothing about it again.

It’s time for the summer heat to hit the national capital. And I believe your love for Tang will resurrect from the dead, making you run for it to the grocery store. I remember asking my mum to get Tang from the market instead of Roohafza, as a young kid. There is a certain class about Tang and Nestle Iced Tea which Roohafza will never be able to match. If given a choice, assuming no special preference for any flavor, guests will be served the fruit flavored Kraft product in place of Roohafza. The latter is just meant to be distributed freely to the commoners at every Gurpurab celebration.

I talk Indian and I say I’m proud of it. But isn’t it hypocritical how I’m not proud of a flavor that was developed in my own country a hundred and six years back? The flavor that the previous three generations have welcomed in the household with open arms is something that stands uninvited in an urban supermarket. We fancy the orange running down our tastebuds, but not a flavor that includes not only your favorite orange but a dozen other fruits and flowers. It’s ok, you know. It’s ok to have your orange and not like it mixed with extracts from a dozen other flowers and fruits. But it’s unfair to look down upon a beautiful recipe which has seen India survive the partition, and still manages to keep its production machines running not just in India, but also in present day Pakistan and Bangladesh.

So it just seemed like I was trying to make a strong point, but steered the monologue in a direction that suggests the financial inability of Hamdard Dawakhana to renew Juhi Chawla’s advertising contract. But it’s funny how we let go off the bigger issues because we’re too educated to get involved with them, and other issues that point towards our judgmental and status-conscious behavior are too petty for us to even consider. We show our solidarity for social issues by tweeting about them. We can’t do anything else because we aren’t uneducated enough to kill the new born daughters in our family. So yes, we get into our daily routine of using the F-word to describe all the injustice around us, spitting at the thought of the deeds of the “uneducated”. But in the process, we forget how even the swearing, the bitterness and the anger that our educated behavior leads to is something that needs to be eradicated. We haven’t contributed to a bigger change, but neither have we made an effort to improve the little things that need to be addressed on an individual level.

We’re Indians and proud of it. Let’s also be individuals worthy of being proud of ourselves by making those little efforts to improve all the shortcomings in our holy selves that we believe are too inconsequential. Let's stop using cuss words for once. Let's not skip that red light. Let's include physical exercise into our daily routine. Let's eat healthy.

Btw, do you know the name of the official national sweet of India? It’s the Jalebi.

Roohafza, anyone?

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  1. Kya baat! I still remember going to my nanis house, and my Mami making The chilled roohafza sharbat( I just realized I actually had to look up for its seplling :P), and the freshness waali feeling jo aati hai,has no comparisson to any tang.But that is not what I intend to say, is it necessary to associate everything to you being Indian, will you be less empathaticc to female foeticide if you were an American in India or even an Indian in America, its like being an Indian in India means you can throw your garbage on the road or even go to the extent to peeing on the road, but being the same Indian in Singapore frantically searching for a dustbin for one km.
    I give you 4 jalebis(zyaada doongi to bota ho jayega :D)

  2. :)
    I think I prefer Roohafza over everything else! Love it!

  3. @@@@

    I loved the change that you brought in this post, I wanted to read more of it.
    Yes indeed we should be proud of our individuality but at the same time should be flexible and not dogmatic in our approach. Should experience new cultures, cuisines, styles etc but yes shouldn't forget the main essence, our core, our roots.
    Brilliant Job!!

    ps: I loved Roohafza sharbat but with a twist of lime in it. That appealed to me more :)

  4. Ah... a brilliant mix of skepticism, moral preaching and sarcasm with a sprinkle of humor.I like!!
    p.s. while everyone is on the page of Roohafza, I honestly dont know what the hue and cry about Tang is all about. It hardly holds a candle infront of Roohafza. But then again, that is just my opinion.

  5. Finally thoda a tad bit serious from you Sarthu.
    Fresh as roohafza itself!
    @@@@@ + @ (i gave you one of mine, so love me)

  6. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work...


If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D