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 ?!?