Sunday, September 8, 2013

Got Milk?!

Milk that my parents and grandparents used was supplied like this:

(Anyone buying the milk will carefully monitor the thickness of the milk when poured and a stern warning can be heard immediately if the milk is thin (incase diluted) and if the action repeats, a change of the supplier would soon be under way. Immediate justice without any delay for want of a court to intervene was cool those days.)

Milk also looked like this:

(Cow's milk will be cream'ish and buffalo's will be white they used to say... perhaps they did not give a thought about what chemically made milk will look like then.)

Then the old and the young would make diverse use of this simple and humble product in households. Like...
  • The Milk as itself
  • Milk to mix with your Kapi and Chai
  • If they forgot to preserve the milk, they won't worry, they can always make Curd
  • Churn the curd and separate the butter and you get Butter as well as Butter Milk
  • Use the lard that floats on top of the milk after it boils, save it and process it and one day you get Ghee
  • Beat the curd with sugar and ice and you get Lassi
  • Various milk-based sweets and deserts like the 'Paal'koa', 'Payasam' and any sweet dish made for any occassion or celebration in India had to have milk as its base
  • Paneer or the Indian cottage cheese was also a part of many North Indian dishes and milk-based too
  • Flavour the milk (with badam, chocolate, strawberry... ) you got Flavoured Milk
  • Grind a fruit (Banana, mango, papaya...) along with milk and you get a Smoothie
  • Milk chocolate and Ice Cream and Kulfi were made by daring and darling mothers in some homes too

Those were the days when we were sure that the milk in the bottle came from this:

Well those were the good'ol days when a simple bottle of milk was good enough to make diversified and a variety of sub-products that could bring a surprizing delight to anyone. Everyone from my grandparents to their friends and family and neighbours seemed to enjoy and lived a happy (really) long life and rest in peace. Well, and then came the great revolution or so they say...

When life was to be made easy and health was to be made dearer. 'They care for us' they said. Flourishing variety-they promised. Revolution was beckoning us at our doors and we opened. 
The result:

Everything processed, packed and delivered. From milk powder to skimmed milk to condensed milk to cheese slices to curd to yogurt to cream to that probiotic milk drink to what not?! Anything I buy these days seems to have a life everlasting too and promises a life-eternal in return as well. Well, the truth is, sometimes I don't even know what I buy or what not to. At times, I am not even sure of what I buy or if it is milk at all that I buy. I need to buy an extra cream to add to the milk that comes with a label that says it has been 'processed' and 'pasteurized' just because I like to have my "coffee" these days with some froth and cream on top; and well then I add a little bit of that extra "cow's" milk powder to my liquid white concoction that I froth because I like to see a cream-tint to the milk which otherwise seems to be as white as paint. "Mega-saver" packs of all these extras now bought separately (shelling out unnecessary bits and bulks from my pocket) are available too if you decide to consume more. Though I get fond memories once in a while of the good'ol days when life was simpler and everything came in just a bottle and was at reach for all, this poor milk man I try to find these days, seems to be hidden behind the huge billboards that advertise the milk products and the corporates that run the business these days. Man succumbs to his greed-seems to be the moral of the story (as always) to this story as well-the story of the Milk. 

Our needs are decided by someone else,
Our dreams are made for someone else.
With promises of change and development floated around like this great "white" revolution,
We succumb to nonsense and give up the sustainability that was already a part of our tradition.
Stupidity comes in packs and packets 
And count yourself and me in it as we queue the stalls and markets
Milk, silk and what not?!
This trick seems to work for a lot... 
Well Dr. Kurien, may your soul rest in peace;
Seems like your life was shorter than the milk products in stores that I can reach.
Well, having said that, let me have a glass of milch...

Bottomline: In pursuit of finding real milk, show me what you think is milk and I shall show you a scoundrel...

No comments: