Wonder Ice !

Am not sure how many childhood memories are kindled by this image ! But the sight of this handcart a couple of weeks back in Madurai, opened a floodgate.

This was the only form of ‘ice cream’ that we knew for a long time. There were two other varieties. One that amma made at home. And the other were those scoops sold in movie halls. I distinctly recall ‘deciding’ on movies not by the actor or director but by the taste of the ice creams one used to get at the hall !!

But these ice cream carts were of a different genre. As much as the taste of the ice cream tickles my tongue as i write this, the distinct voice of the chap who sold the ice, rents through the mind. ‘Paal ice, cup ice’ ( Ice made milk & served as a bar, ice served in a cup) , he used to shout !

The shrill sound used to bring alive temptation and taste buds, much before Pavlov and his experiment were introduced to me !

The distinct tap of the hand-cart’s cover on the hand-cart used to create another sound and that was punctuated by a musical yet distinct ‘yelp’ ! Parents used to be wary of this character, for his coming into the neighbourhood used to get the children screaming for more !

15 Paisa ! That was the cost. Kutchi Ice ( ice cream on a stick) was all that mattered! I remember playing cricket matches for one heck of a 15 paisa ice cream ! I wasn’t aware of match fixing etc, back then. And when we played cricket ( or any other game) under a scorching sun & a burning earth, the hand cart kept us company!

Those were different days. We had wind in our hair. A spirit in our stride. Happiness in our play. And innocence in our conflict. Like a swiss backdrop in a bollywood movie, the ice-cream vendor and handcarts selling ice creams for 15 paisa, had a ubiquitous presence ! The wonder years !

Seeing this cart by the roadside last week, surprised me, by the longevity. The times we live now are different times. The wind flies scrapes past the head, for there is lesser hair. The spirit strives for a steady stride. And to get to play, if you can ever do, gives some happiness ! Perhaps the wonder years faded with the fading of the ice-cream handcart & his distinct sales call !!

Sigh. ah ! those years.

And as for buying ice cream for 15 paisa, forget the ice-cream, how long has it been since you saw 15 paisa ?!?

11 thoughts on “Wonder Ice !

  1. this distance memories are always so close to the heart. I think we too had it here a long time ago, and now its converted to motorized ice cream vendors. We even had the traveling cinema last time, all were gone.

    Great last line 😀

  2. Pearl says:

    Games of hide-and-seek, of kicking rocks down the street, of running through sprinklers!

    Thank you for the memories. Life has gotten so serious — as it must, I suppose, for adults. But the spirit stays young, if we work on it.

    Doesn’t it?


  3. Priya says:

    Who can forget “kuchi ice” right. I think I had even till my college days. We used to have a regular ice cream guy coming on our street and never miss it including the gulfi.

  4. ” wind in our hair. A spirit in our stride. Happiness in our play. And innocence in our conflict.”….How true, and aptly put.

    Am probably the generation before yours, and during our time, it was 5 paise. We decimalized and converted from “annas” to “paise” while we were just out of primary school, and the bus fare to school was 10 paise each way. 5 paise coins, saved from a 25 p coin each day, were compulsively hoarded and used in school to buy the “ice-fruit” as it was called then, much to the disgust of our class teacher and parents. What fun . 🙂

  5. Ganesh says:


    Ah, those days. Thanks for reminding them, I got lost in memories for some time. Felt very nice. Further, Ms. Pearl also reminded of those games like hide-n-seek and others.

    Kavi I distinctly remember preparing home made version of ice lollies by mixing orange concentrate/syrup with sugar and water and freezing it in the fridge at the home of a well-off relative. Of course I’m talking of around 30 years ago.

  6. on this trip I saw only a rupee.. didnt even see the 25, 50 paise coins..three years ago, got to use those..

    enakku Rita, ungalukku Jaya!


  7. HOBO says:

    25 paise – The price I paid for the icecream years ago.
    Once I found 50 paisa coin in my school ground and I was too happy to purchase two ice-creams that orange wala…
    Thanks to the guy who dropped that.
    he he he..

  8. kuchi ice, packet ice, paal ice, ingee ice, rose ice, cup ice….ask a guy like me who lived right next to an ice factory……the best part is that the most expensive ice was around Re.1.

    Although I have second thoughts tasting it now, I have one of the finest memories of kuchi-ice from my childhood….

  9. Jeevan says:

    My favorite is Paal ice, to remain taste wants the tongue and I used to support a tumbler to the melting ice. Its gone days, when I have this ice cream it was 50 paisa and Rs.1. another ice I like is Pepsi ice, which looks like color role inside plastic cover, and we bite a corner and suck.

  10. Kavi says:

    GP : Travelling Cinema..ah. that should be fun ! yes, distant memories are closer ! How neat

    Pearl : that comment took me to another world..hide & seek, cops & robbers…Phew !

    Priya : Kuchi ice rocks !?!? doesnt it ?!!

    Sundar : Magnanimity !! I will keep ‘State’ anyday !! LOL !

    HObo : i guess inflation hit you by the time these came to you !! LOL

    Praveen : really ? ingee ice ?!! that must have been fun..~~

    Jeevan : I am with you ! paal ice !!! nayday !! And oh yes. Pepsi ice. How can i forget that !

    Ugich : yes..what fun ! thanks for the comment ! And yes, we never got to convert annas into paisa !

    Ganesh : Oh you did that ! LOL ! I couldnt get myself to do all of that ! For me the ice candy cart was more than suffice !!!

  11. Ms Cris says:

    Unable to share the enthusiasm cause I was never an ice cream person. And so never got around to buying an ice-cream from a cart. But this pic is pretty mesmerizing, all old pics are in fact. And the ice-stick thing, oh I have had that. For 2 Rs. Mom wouldnt let me have it so it always remained the most wanted thing of childhood till I got around to sneaking one in! Thanks, lovely post!

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