By M.T. Yogesh Kumar
Post COVID-19 pandemic, awareness over health and health tips has gained traction. With unpredictable weather catching people off guard, the focus is back on ingenious ways of keeping good health and there is no dearth of takers.
This has set a new trend with many revisiting their old culinary skills only to revive the long-forgotten taste that was churned out from the deft hands of mothers or grandmothers at home with traditional dishes forming the choice of many.
Likewise, keeping pace with time, a sugarcane juice vendor in Mysuru city has successfully perfected a new blend of the drink — sugarcane juice mixed with Tulsi that promises a healthy combination to keep cough and cold at bay.
Thirty-two-year-old Shivu from Kalisiddanahundi in Mysuru taluk runs ‘Chamundeshwari Sugarcane Juice Centre’ in a cart near the Institution of Engineers-India (IEI) Junction on JLB Road in Mysuru city. He buys sugarcane in bulk from Palahalli in Srirangapatna taluk.
Unlike earlier days, when the wheel of the crusher was manually rotated to crush the cane, he now uses a machine-operated crusher that runs on fuel. He hasn’t studied much but his perseverance to prepare the juice for the good of his customers indeed deserves a pat.
As the name Tulsi goes, the aroma of which can be still felt through the whiff of fresh air at traditional homes, there has been a growing demand for this blend of Tulsi and sugarcane juice. What’s unique here is that Shivu prefers to use only naturally grown Tulsi herb that has rich medicinal content.
[Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn) is a plant that belongs to the genus Ocimum and is known for its varied properties. Tulsi (Hindi) is known as ‘holy basil’ in English].
It has been three to four months since he started serving this concoction of herbal drink, which appears to change Shivu’s fortune in a big way in the near future. The juice is sold at Rs. 20 for a big glass and he charges Rs. 10 for the same in a small paper cup. He has been making decent earnings per day.
Shivu, who has been eking out a living by selling sugarcane juice at various places for the last 20 years, was also a victim of the constrained situation that arose due to the spread of the virus. Shivu had to stay at home for over a year-and-a-half as he could not run the business due to the restrictions as part of safety norms.
However, it turned out to be a fait accompli for good as Shivu found a messiah in an Ayurveda doctor who came to his shop when he resumed business after the pandemic-induced restrictions were lifted.
The doctor, who had the juice, advised Shivu to try his hands at the blend of Tulsi and cane juice. Since then there is no looking back for Shivu, whose new healthy potion is much in demand.
Tulsi herb is crushed along with the cane to produce the concoction that at least helps in keeping cold and cough under check. It acts like a natural immunity booster. Apart from Tulsi, a dash of ‘herlekai’ (bitter lime) and lemon are stirred with this juice, depending on the choice of the customers.
With schools, colleges and Deputy Commissioner’s Office in the vicinity, Shivu has a steady stream of customers that includes people from varied backgrounds. He feels happy to serve them as the new-found taste lingers on, drawing more customers.
“Many have advised mixing the juices of various fruits with cane juice. However, I am averse to it as I believe that there is no necessity to add other fruits, to savour the taste of cane juice. The natural taste of cane will be lost due to the use of other fruits,” Shivu told Star of Mysore.