slush of heaven
Combating with the chariot-tottering Helios, the Sun God, has become a seemingly life-and- death situation in Dhaka City. The more the Deity showers us with the flaming mythological artilleries, the more it becomes apparent that Homer was wrong- Helios does not drive his golden chariot across the sky. He seems to be stuck in, what may be described as an uncomfortable, position exclusively over the Dhaka skies. And the poor citizens are taken hostage to this fate. Yes, the heat is becoming unbearable. Ask a man who makes his way home in the middle of the afternoon, his shirt drenched in sweat and clinging like a stubborn leech to his back.
These are the moments when the wonders of life dangle their forbidden fruits. Chilled drinks, for instance. If I was Adam or even Eve, who the hell cares about the Devil? I would grab the can right out. In weathers such as these, a glass of slush would, no doubt, seem like ambrosia. For those in need of some memory jog, slush is a blend of water, flavoured syrup and ice.
While soaring in popularity in western countries, slush has yet to gain craze in Bangladesh. Nonetheless, slush dispensers are popping up around town, particularly in fast food courts and Y-generation hangout spots. For landmarks, look out for containers the size of mini refrigerators that churn chunks of ice and syrup in a sludgy concoction. It is common nowadays to see people walking into cinema halls and loitering through shopping malls with these drinks in their hands. The extreme summer heat may have something to do with it- fitting the scenario into the formula: more heat equals more thirst equals fuelled demand for slush.
Several food shops and chains are famous for offering slush. Notable are Yummy Yummy and a large number of shops in the Bashundhara City food court.
Slush also comes in a wide range of flavours. It has even been commercially produced as “Slush Puppies” by Cadbury-Scweppes. Their flavours include Grape, Cherry, Watermelon, Lemon-Lime, Strawberry, Strawberry-Kiwi, Banana, Blue Raspberry, Piña Colada, Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum, Shocker (a sour flavour), Tropical Bahama Mama, Cherry Cola, Orange Frenzy, Mixed Berry, Sour Apple and Sour Lemon. With some scurrying through the high-street markets, you may be able to find some of them. Furthermore, there is greater likelihood of finding a yet broader spectrum of flavours. For those who are slightly more adventurous, examples include passion fruit, guava, etc. What is more, often two or more flavours are mixed together to create new ones. While a mix of lemon and lime is safe and tangy, people frequently opt to try out blends of flavours that go the opposite direction- such as cola and banana (I can hardly imagine!).
Again, a reminder: chances are you will not get these flavours easily here in Bangladesh. Most food shops would stick to conventional flavours like orange, lemon and strawberry… and if you happen to be lucky, mango. But do not lose hope. Many shops are planning to get newer and “wackier” flavours, giving in to the demands of the younger people. And it is likely, that some of the above mentioned flavours will be available soon.
In the meanwhile, you can easily duck into one of these shops and drink to your heart's content. Too bad Homer missed out on so great an invention…
By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky