With summer on at full blast, memories naturally seem to turn towards cooler things.
Like refrigerators. Now we have monstrous 300/400/God-only-knows-how-many-hundred litre refrigerators, but when we were young, we had a small 100 litre single-door 'fridge' which sufficed for all the needs of our family of six (plus my uncle's family of five - as they did not have any fridge of their own, they would often put their leftovers in 'our' fridge - a matter that sometimes led to frissions of domestic tension over S-P-A-C-E).
But for us, that small fridge was an Alibaba's cave of goodies which we were strictly prohibited to touch without permission. From the outside, it was like any other white (fridges in the 1970s seemed to come in only one colour) Allwyn (where is that company now???) fridge, rather yellowed with age and use, rather rusty at the edges.
But once the doors swung open and the chilly foggy blast hit our faces like a blizzard, we could see a lot of goodies that made our mouths water. [The leftover rice or dal or curry never interested us. Neither did the dekchi (pan) of milk.]
We lusted after the slab of Amul butter (100 gms, if you please, not the large 500 gms that I buy for the family nowadays). Red sugar-syrup-dipped cherries and crinkly kismis (raisins) reserved for cake-baking days. Slabs of aamsatto (sweetened mango preserves) for making chutneys. A screw-topped bottle of Kissan Mixed Fruit Jam, which went on bread-slices every day for our school-tiffin-boxes. Ripe mangoes lending their gorgeous smell to the cloistered cold air, red watermelons with a chunk scooped out and sugar put in. Bottles of Rasna (an orange drink) severely rationed to greet guests. Sometimes, exotic stuff like caramel puddings or sponge cake-mixes that Maa and Didia would painstakingly cook from recipes in Chic (a women's magazine that tried to make us more Anglified and, presumably, 'chic').
And, when we opened the small door of the deep-freezer and poked about the powdery ice and boxes full of slices of raw fish, we would be sure to find trays of home-made (Maa-made) ice-cream. Milky and mango-flavoured with real, squeezy mangoes for Bhai (brother). Full of peanut-crunch and thickened milk for me. Maa often had to serve us ice-cream slabs that had clear (and deep) finger-poking marks on them.
Going by the sheer amount of food that it could hold, that fridge was a magic box!
WHAT GOODIES DID YOUR CHILDHOOD FRIDGE/LARDER HOLD?