Donning his traditional clothes, a 33-year-old Syrian can be seen walking the lanes of Jama Masjid, Sadar Bazaar, serving home-made ice cold sherbet to pedestrians.
All through the month of Ramzan, Anas Alauwani carried 30 litres of sherbet in a traditional copper flask ,weighing 10 kg, on his back. He charges customers based on the size of the glass chosen.
“I have been serving the cold drink to those coming to the masjid for the past one month. Sherbet is sold for Rs 10 and Rs 20, depending on the size of the glass a customer chooses. It is extremely hot and thousands of people are fasting. I am trying offer them and others a bit of relief from the heat,” Anas said.
Wearing a tall red hat, also known as al-azhar, and a jacket, Anas comes to the market place in the morning and can be spotted until late night. He offers three flavours of sherbet - banana-mango, orange and tamarind.
“I get all the ingredients for the sherbet from a nearby shop at low rates. I serve at least a hundred people every day. The flask is refilled at least twice a day and I try to make different flavours of the cold drink every time,” he said.
Having overcome the language barrier, Anas says he is now friends with a number of shopkeepers and has a couple of regular customers.
“I can’t speak English or Hindi fluently. But the people here never made me feel like an outsider. They taught me a few common terms and, at times, we even communicate with one another through gestures,” he said while handing over glasses of orange flavoured sherbet to pedestrians.
Anas came to the city a couple of months ago to work on a project with The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) but, decided to serve sherbet to people in this hot weather in the month of Ramzan.