Herbal coolers for hot capital - From neem-tulsi to aloe-amla, Morabadi vendor does brisk business with 'healing' concoctions in swelter season

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By RAJ KUMAR
  • Published 31.05.12
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Good Morning Ranchi, here’s your poison, er, potion?

As the capital wakes up mopping its sweaty brow, a certain Sanjay Kumar brews the weather-beaten city’s elixir of life from a wide array of fruits, flowers, seeds and herbs. The 40-year-old resident of Kanke Road runs a small juice kiosk — primarily two plastic tables and a few dozen bottles and containers — on the 40-acre Morabadi grounds, where men-women, young-old, commoner-star come to savour his healing herbal concoctions every morning.

The cups of well-being — that promise relief from diabetes, low blood pressure, arthritis and even cancer and cardiac ailments — are made of basil, ginger, neem, bitter gourd, mint, raw mango, Brahmi, aloe vera, pumpkin, fenugreek (methi), bael leaves, chiraita, raw turmeric, wheat grass, barley, blackberry, cumin (jeera), Indian gooseberry (amla), Indian trumpet flower (manduk) and others in 26 permutations and combinations.

Besides herbal juice, gram and bean sprouts are also on offer for those who wish to munch on their morning move. The prices are reasonable given the healing properties of the herbs and seeds. The cost of one glass varies from Rs 10 to Rs 20, depending on the ingredients used.

Wednesday’s star attraction at the makeshift stall was Murari Gupta of Ramayana fame. “I am not a regular. But, I occasionally do take a walk at Morabadi grounds because it gives me an opportunity to meet friends. And the juice stall is an added attraction in summers. In fact, the herbal brew perhaps draws most morning walkers out of their homes like me despite the oppressive heat,” said the actor who played one of Ravana’s brothers in Ramanand Sagar’s drawing room jamming television series.

Rajeev Ranjan, who runs an NGO, sounded equally impressed. “I opted for a glass of bitter gourd, blackberry and pumpkin mix after morning walk. It was refreshing. All my sapped energy was like back in a flash. I can now shop for vegetables and then go home. The herbal juice has been my summer saviour this year,” he said.

Sanjay modestly admitted that his stall had grown to become the primary attraction for morning walkers, whose numbers had increased by almost 60 per cent in three years. “When I started in 2009, I used to sell 100-150 glasses a day. Today, the demand has soared to 300. Summer holidays in schools have also buoyed my business, with a number of children accompanied by their parents dropping by to taste my concoctions. They walk, play, exercise and then gulp down the healthy juice before going back home,” he said.

Besides school vacation, the district administration too indirectly contributes to Sanjay’s growing business. Eight traffic constables have been deployed around the ground to restrict entry of vehicles from 5am to 7am. The vigilant men in uniform curb rash driving even along Morabadi, keeping morning walkers safe and the juice business flowing.