I remember four distinct phases of my life associated with Ice Creams. The first is as a kid in Pune going to the shop on East Street (I forget the name now) for the Vanilla Ice Cream. They used to give some stickers or collectibles with every cup and I remember stocking up on them. The late night trip for the Ice Cream was one of the memorable parts of the vacations I used to spend with my mamas and grandparents.
The second Ice Cream crush was in IIT during my college years. Vadilal’s was the place just outside the Powai campus. Since meals in the hostel were barely edible on most days, I learnt to use Ice Cream as a calorie replacement. That is when I graduated to Chocolate Ripple as my favourite. The late late night Ice Cream trip was an experience in itself. Time was irrelevant as there really was little else to do other than gorge and cack (talk).
The third Ice Cream era in my life was in the US. The objective remained the same – using a big bucket of Ice Cream as a replacement for dinner. Only, in this case, it was an alternative to my own cooking! The diversity of ice cream flavours available was an absolute delight, and I kept experimenting. The super-sized Ice Cream packs would last weeks.
That Era ended about 15 years ago after I returned to India. Suddenly, I stopped eating Ice Creams. When I think back, it was perhaps a combination of two things – the fear of falling sick (somehow I had associated the notion of the cold ice cream being bad for my throat), and the fear of becoming fat with all those calories given that there was no time for any exercise in life anyways. And so, my love affair with Ice Creams ended.
Until recently. My three-and-a-half-year-old son, Abhishek, is responsible for the arrival of the Fourth Glorious Ice Cream Age. It probably started with me eating his unfinished vanilla ice cream. That brought back the delight I had experienced as a kid. Then, as he started finishing off on his cup, I started getting my own – chocolate or the chocolate-vanilla combo. Abhishek also likes Strawberry now. A few weeks ago on a visit to a mall near home on a Sunday evening, he insisted I eat a cone (to my utter dislike) just like him. I did – and realised that while they aren’t bad, I definitely preferred the cups!
And so it was, that I found myself recently at Delhi airport, getting myself a Baskin Robbins Chocolate-Vanilla cup for dinner – and going back in time thinking about the rediscovery of my intermittent love affairs with Ice Creams.