Summer this year has been very forgiving. We get a few hot days here and there but spring is refusing to let go. I have more of a tolerance for heat than for cold. I prefer to go as long as possible without air conditioning, making do with fans, having the kids play outside, so we can actually feel the heat and thirst and fill our bodies with liquids. Otherwise, in a temperature controlled environment, honestly, I don’t even feel the need to drink any water.
There is nothing like the enjoyment of drinking a cool, refreshing drink in the hot summer. I am really, really thankful that I can enjoy clean drinking water and summer fruits, fans, air conditioning at home and in the car… and I know that I’m faaaar better off than most people in the world, so I think it’s good to remind myself what it was like to be in the sweltering, suffocating heat of Lahore without these luxuries at times. Power shortages, stuck in traffic in temperatures well over 100 degrees, transformers giving out under the overwhelming load of air conditioners running in the neighborhood…
And the rage.
The rage that comes with your brain slowly melting away in the heat… No, not rage- it’s better described as a short fuse. You have about one speck of patience, tolerance, consideration, compassion, all of which evaporate in a flash, and you’re ready to run over anyone that comes in your way. We always used to joke that people in Pakistan can never be polite because it’s too hhhhhhhhot for them to be nice!
There was a time when there would be regular load shedding for about 2-3 hours a day. When it happened at night, we would all head outside, talking, going for walks, singing songs, running around, playing. When everyone is together and happy, almost any situation can become a great memory. We knew that we would have to deal with certain things, it comes with living in a developing country. No doubt it was forced upon us, but when everything was switched off, we got a chance to connect with each other. In the time of Pervaiz Musharraf, power shortages became a thing of the past. But things have really spiraled down since then, unfortunately, with power outages going up to 12 out of 24 hours recently. It’s just not fun anymore.
But, there is a whisper of change, a glimmer of hope. I want to dedicate this post to the resilience and perseverance of all the Pakistanis who are ploughing on, planting seeds of positivity. I can get ice at the touch of a button and take it for granted; summer here is all about putting kids in camps, swimming, water fun, ice pops, beaches… but my heart is in Pakistan.
So here’s a cool, refreshing drink with prayers for a better tomorrow.
Once again, a cousin of mine told me about this, and it’s been a huge hit.
Watermelon Lemonade Recipe
- Half of a large seedless watermelon
- Juice of 3 lemons
- ¼ cup sugar
- Dash of salt
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 cup crushed ice
- Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Cut the watermelon into pieces and put in a blender with lemon juice, sugar, salt, water and ice. (You might have to do it in batches.) Blend until smooth. Adjust the sugar according to your taste.
Pour into glasses, add the mint leaves and swirl around a bit before serving.
I cut the watermelon in half and used an ice cream scoop to scoop out all the pulp in order to save time.
I got a seedless watermelon but it still had seeds. So, I blended it as it was and then strained it before serving.
For a stronger minty flavor you can throw a few mint leaves into the blender with the rest of the ingredients.
Watermelons in America are much larger than the ones in Pakistan. One of the stories in Road Runner comics that I read as a child had watermelons, and I always used to think why have they drawn watermelons like that? That’s not what they look like. I was used to the perfectly round, dark green watermelons as opposed to the oblong, lighter green ones here.
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