Goli Soda on the Highway

Image courtesy - Wikipedia

A Goli Soda Bottle
Image courtesy – Wikipedia

The family is bundled into a mini-van. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles; with many backpacks and bags.

We are on a road trip to Tamilnadu, one of the southern states in the Indian sub-continent. The weather is hot and humid.

Our spirits are high, we sing in a raucous chorus, we repeat family jokes, catch up with each others’ lives since we last met, and then again, catch a few winks, as the van drones on the highway.

Our journey is punctuated by pitstops, all of which are focussed on recharging our stomachs with food and drink.

We stop in small towns for some freshly cut mangoes and guava. We stop to drink fresh sugarcane juice in some others, we carry back fresh corn cobs. Is it the company? Or the fact that we are relaxed? Our appetites are alive and clamouring for attention!

The Sun is high-up in the sky and despite the aircon, we feel the heat. The highway shines a metallic black, reflecting the heat.

Somebody shouts, “Let’s stop for a Goli soda”.

For those of you who don’t know – simply put, a ‘Goli Soda’ is soda in a thick green glass bottle, whose mouth is sealed by a marble (Goli), to keep the fizz from escaping.

The soda is usually available in lemon and orange flavours, and a few other local flavours.

The thrill in drinking the soda comes not so much from its taste as from the ritual of sending the Goli into the bottle with a hard thump on its head. The pop of the Goli as it succumbs to pressure and shoots into the bottle, is a treat to watch.

The small road side shop has an array of these bottles lined up, their green forms topped by cute Golis, glinting and glowing in the hot sun.

Soon the soda bottles are popped; and all of us enjoy our sodas – perfect to beat the heat.

Refreshed and rejuvenated, we are soon on our way, a few minutes away from the first stop in our 7-day road trip.

I recently heard that most Goli soda bottle manufacturers are closing shop. I feel sad to know they may not be available on our next road trip. These bottles have traditionally been recycled and reused….!

Yet another local product killed by global brands and switching customer loyalties.

Small things that gave us so much joy. Small bits of our childhood, that will only be preserved in our memories and in digital archives.