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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Gurugramwale: The IFFCO Chowk treat

An earthy lassi salvages the grim atmosphere of a busy traffic intersection

gurugram Updated: Sep 14, 2019 13:06 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
There’s nothing redeeming about Gurugram’s IFFCO Chowk until one spots Jaiswal’s Shahi Lassi.
There’s nothing redeeming about Gurugram’s IFFCO Chowk until one spots Jaiswal’s Shahi Lassi.(HT Photo)
         

Heat, dust, and smog. And top that with some more woes such as non stop traffic, hooting of horns, and the sight of stressed commuters waiting for Olas and autos.

There’s nothing redeeming about Gurugram’s IFFCO Chowk until one spots Jaiswal’s Shahi Lassi. The yoghurt drink cart is parked daily on a pavement at one of the many corners of the sprawling intersection. Against the backdrop of the imposing ABW Tower, it looks as tiny and inconsequential as an ant. The cart actually gives the area a charming touch of intimacy and earthiness, making IFFCO Chowk feel less impersonal.

The young Baijnath Jaiswal, a migrant from Bihar, has been selling the chilled drink for three years. “I set the dahi every evening in my (rented) room (in nearby Chakkarpur village),” and prepares the lassi only after arriving early morning at his regular spot “so that it is served truly fresh.”

This late morning the drink is almost over, and only three glasses are left in the ice box. The earthen vessel containing the dahi is almost empty. The gentleman pours the last of this curd into a metal jug and starts churning it with a wooden stirrer. The sight is precious, for most street stalls use electric mixer. Perhaps that explains the slightly coarse texture of Mr Jaiswal’s delicious lassi, an aspect that makes it even more satisfying to the palate. He adds rose syrup on request, but the lassi is better without it.

Perhaps there might be reasons for you to visit IFFCO Chowk every now and then. Make sure to add this cart in that list. The stall opens daily from 6 am to noon, from the months of March to October. “I sell vegetables in the winter,” says the lassi man, as he prepares to pack up for the day.