The Unexpected Famine of Rooh Afza

Rooh Afza
Image Courtesy: Google and The Economic Times

It was a very hot day. It felt to Ahmed Khan as if he was baked in an oven as summers in Hyderabad are hellish.

Curious to know why he was so fatigued, he asked his home assistant Alexa on what is the current temperature. “Right now in Hyderabad Telangana, the temperature is 42 degree Celsius” Alexa replied with ease as if it didn’t make any difference whether it was 24 degree Celsius or 42 degree Celsius. It just has to mention the facts in the most unemotional way, as Alexa is designed to do so.

Ahmed dabbed his forehead with his handkerchief which was already soaked in sweat. He couldn’t help but keep clearing the thick sweat blobs on his forehead.

He turned on the ceiling fan but it had no effect even at its full speed. He lay on the sofa to have his favorite drink which he had counted on as a great soother in the sweltering heat. “Razia, please get me a glass of chilling Rooh Afza sharbat” he requested.

“Sure. But you have to settle with a lemonade today. Your favorite Rooh Afza is over and I am told that there is a stock shortage in the market too” she replied with deep concern.

The reply shocked Ahmed to his core. He had counted on this drink right from his childhood to beat the summer heat. His head almost spun on the thought on how could he spend the rest of the summer without his favorite drink.

The drink was like divine ambrosia for most of the people like him. Especially in the holy month of Ramadan. It was as if a famine had struck and left most of its fans into a tizzy.

He opened his laptop to check the veracity of his wife claims and prayed for this shocking news to be fake. As he Googled Roof Afza and went on to the news section. He was shocked to his core. It was indeed the worst news that he read that day which was titled “Rooh Afza disappears from the market as Ramzaan fast begins”.

“Oh my God, this is insane” he whispered while he took a deep breath.

The news mentioned that few key ingredients in the refreshing rose-flavored syrup were in short supply. Ahmed thought “What do they do now? Is there a way that Hamdard gets hold of these vital ingredients soon enough to start mass production of Rooh Afza yet again?”

Turns out that this is the common story in most of the Muslim households in India. This news has indeed brought a surgical strike during the holy Ramadan season. I too recall the vivid childhood memories of savoring and relishing it at my friends’ homes as a welcome drink. It brought to us a message of the arrival of summer season or the Ramadan festival.

I rushed to the neighborhood store after reading this news and found a lonely bottle of Rooh Afza stacked up in the corner of a shelf. I grabbed it and felt relieved.

I have now placed the bottle in the showpiece of my dining room and display it to my guests much to their envy.

Until then, let the prayers be on for getting this favorite drink back into the stores!

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One response to “The Unexpected Famine of Rooh Afza”

  1. Minaal Sangamkar Avatar
    Minaal Sangamkar

    A well written description of the emotional attachments of our indeed favourite refreshing Roohafzah.
    I highly appreciate the writing, reading and all intellectual habits your father has inculcated in you.
    How can’t I say this as I myself once was a writer for the leading daily.
    Just a little information on Roohafzah:
    Pakistan used to import Roohafzah from India after partition, but as it became tedious and financially difficult, they thought of a collaboration with Hamdard WAKF board and came up with their own plant. They produce their own Roohafzah with exactly the same logo, same colourful, attractive label….
    Roohafzah with plain chilled water, with milk, with lemon too makes it a beautiful refreshing drink till date.
    I too love Roohafzah!!


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