Service with least profit

Summer coolers

During summer time who doesn’t love to refresh themselves with cool drinks, and these may not necessarily be the fizzy or bottled soft drinks, though the markets are flush with different varieties. Metrolife scours the markets to find that hugely popular during this time of the year are the local and traditional cool drinks, including lassi, shikanji, marble soda (Banta), fresh coconut water, pudina or mint drinks, jal zeera and aam panna.

Whether it is the elders or the children, these summer thirst quenchers find favour with everyone. With Mercury hitting a high, it is natural for people to consume more of liquids than dig in food. It works well also for the vendors in the city, who put up small fruit juice and shikanji stalls or ply their cart from one locality to another, selling spicy aam panna, jal zeera, banta or daab (fresh coconut water).

“According to the season we put up the stall, which makes more profit and is cost effective. My juice business was running in loss, so I started with Banta (marble soda or goli soda), which is very popular,  I earn around Rs 200-300 profit a day,” says Shiva, a bantawalla at Jhandewala.
When we talk about traditional drinks, the first name which comes to mind is Lassi. Well it won’t be the same like what your grandmother churned out for you, but comes a close to the deliciously prepared homemade fare. The markets and streets of Delhi serve a variety of Lassi in different flavours. “The cost of a glass of Lassi is reasonable at Rs 10-20, which is really cheap and good for cooling down the body,” says Prashant, an employee at ICICI Bank.

Jeetu, a vendor who serves cold drinks during the day and sweets and snacks at night, says, “I invest around Rs 900 for buying curd for a day, out of which I earn a profit of Rs 400-600. Later in the even­ing, I serve the customers sweets like hot jalebis, this is another business for survival.”

The summer coolers incl­ude some natural drinks like coconut water and spicy mint water, which is really good for summer. Coconut water is rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes and refreshes one instantly. “I get coconuts, approximately 500, from Azadpur Mandi, at the rate of Rs 30-40 per coconut in which around 100 go waste. I try to earn some profit out of the rest,” says Rehan, a coconut vendor at Paharganj.

The sight of a jal zeera-wala, on the streets of Delhi, plying his spicy concoction, cooled in a large earthern pitcher which is adorned with a red cloth, sprigs of mint and lemon, is a familiar one. “There are different ways of making a pudina drink. I make pudina drink with lemon and masala (spices) and mint leaves. I invest Rs 200 and I earn about Rs 300-350 and I live on,” says Sunil Kumar, a local pudina drink seller.

Enjoying a glass of pudina drink is Yakub Khan, Sunil Kumar’s regular customer. “Pudina along with lemon has a cooling effect and makes me feel refreshed. It also has herbal benefits which is good for digestion,” Khan tells Metrolife.

There are also a few vendors who do not believe in making a profit. “It is summertime. People like to have cool drinks, so I do my business without thinking of profit or loss. I try to ensure that there is enough for all and serve them cheerfully,” says Vijay, a Shikanji vendor. With lot of hardships the local drinks vendors serve with a smiling face to refresh us.

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