Just before independence in 1947, two brothers from Unnao Ram Adhar and Shiv Adhar started the business of thandai near the Gol Darwaza. Ashish Tripathi who runs the enterprise today addresses both of them as ‘grandfather.’ Ashish’s father was set to work in the shop when he was 16. Tall and powerfully built, he was called Raja by all. The shop consequently came to be known as Raja’s Shop. “We use pistachios, cashew nuts, cardamom, the five ‘magad’ (de-husked and ground seeds of chilbil-chiraunji, musk melon, cucmber, pumpkin and watermelon), fennel and saffron for the thandai mix. If you have it in summer it will cool you down; and in winter it will warm you up. Nehru ji, and his daughter and son in law Indira and Feroze were served thandai by my father. I myself served their children Rajiv and his family.
These leaders are probably not aware that our Lucknow has established a food culture. Just as there are Rahim and Tunday, there is our shop that is part of this culture.