The first column reads as a recipe for the popular South Asian drink Rooh Afza, which is also known as ‘Refresher of the Soul’. But collectively, the language stands as imperatives. Orders, which symbolise what was done to my ancestors and their cultures: anything desirable was pocketed and indulged in – the best put on display.
Image author’s own
Rooh Afza Refresher of the Soul
Boil 4 cups of water, 1kg of sugar and a teaspoon of citric acid
They pick and mix in a free-for-all
Remove any floating scum
Separated and torn from others
Add a teaspoon of: red food colouring, rose essence and cardamom essence
Taint us, change us, now what even is us?
For a palatable hue and flavour
Our raw state isn’t digestible.
Taste for any last minute adjustments
Names like ours shouldn’t be on their tongues
Sieve any remaining impurities
But their mouths drip with it, like syrup
Use immediately or store in an air-tight container
And they can’t get enough of the taste.
Serve chilled in glass jars.
Put on ice, to be gawked at in display.