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Bhang barse!

It’s that time of the year again, when the streets come alive for one whole day with the noise and many colours of festive cheer. It’s also the time for that special something — bhang. Girija Duggal tells more...

india Updated: Mar 06, 2009 20:30 IST

It’s that time of the year again, when the streets come alive for one whole day with the noise and many colours of festive cheer. It’s also the time for that special something — bhang.

The drink’s history can be traced back to the Vedas — the Atharvaveda mentions its potent anti-anxiety properties. It has been called the food of the gods (indracanna) for Shiva loved it. Twelfth-century folk songs extolled it as the drink of warriors, something that gave them courage in the face of battle. Holy men still see it as a step towards attaining that state of ultimate ecstasy and communion with God. Of course, lesser mortals merely drown in never-ending spells of laughter or tears. A colleague once slipped into (blissful) silence after a bhang-and-vodka shot. A glass of bhang lassi, and a friend’s uncle decided to spend the day writing his will. Even Big B fell for its charms in Silsila. So what’s stopping you?

Try this. Take some bhang leaves (you will get it in government-authorised shops) and sugar, and grind them. Add to a pan with water and ghee and boil. Once cooled, blend the mixture into a paste. Put a spoonful into lassi or thandai and voila, you have a potent drink ready. If you want to try something a tad different, just keep some ground leaves in warm water for a few hours. Add the leaves to a bottle of vodka or rum and let the liquid stand overnight, then strain. You’ll be left with a bottle of bhang-infused liquour. Mix it with some juice or better yet, guzzle a shot straight up.

So take a trip down high street this holi — in moderation, of course.