I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
With heatwaves soaring upto unbearable degrees, summers have officially arrived, and so have our urge to beat these merciless days with tasty ice creams and kulfis. Summer would not be summer without ice creams and kulfis.
Kashmir, a place that Shah Jahan proclaimed as Jannat (paradise/heaven); a place that is famous for its scenic and serene beauties, fruits, weather, is also best known for home-made ice creams and kulfis.
Kulfi in Kashmir is yummy and full of nostalgia, the taste that ruled hearts over half a century and is still fondly remembered in the entire valley.
Many kulfi walas have come and gone but no one could match up to the kulfi-maker of Bohri Kadal – Ama Buda.
In every field there would be an ultimate master; just like Karate has Jackie Chan, Kulfi has Ghulam Ahmad Badoo who is famously known as Amma Buda. He is known as the “Kulfi King of Kashmir”; his kiosk was set up in Bohri Kadal, Srinagar. He started off his stall in the year 1931 and ran it for about more than 50 years. There are many people who miss the taste of the kulfi he made.
His life has been like a roller coaster ride. He set up his kiosk after he was released from his detention period as he actively took part in the freedom movements. Ghulam’s uncle swayed him to open up an ice cream shop but he was dicey about the decision because no ice or ice machines were available in the valley.
But later few locals agreed to bring the ice from the forests of Mulfaq and Dara. The laborers used to spend the night in the forest to bring back 40 kg of snow wrapped in grass, the next day.
This cycle went on for a few years. Later Amma took a sigh of relief when finally an ice machine arrived in their place in the year 1953. However, the ice machine was not up to the mark to produce the quality and quantity that Amma was looking for. Hence, the process of carrying the ice from the forest to his kiosk continued.
Amma’s ice cream kiosk is considered to be the oldest kulfi shop in the valley. His secret ingredients to make this divine Kulfi had left everyone wanting for more thereby increasing the sales.
Even though he has become a part of past he has still reminisced as Amma serving kulfi on Chinar leaves. Such was the taste of his unique kulfi.
His son still recalls many incidents wherein his father’s kulfi was in demand; “he says that once a foreigner mentioned his about his father’s kiosk in “Guide magazine”, saying that if you are ever visiting Indian Kashmir do visit Bohri Kadal to taste Budoo’s ice cream. It’s a class apart”.
A couple who once tasted this kulfi in Kashmir still cherished the memories on their next trip to Kashmir after 15 years.
The former Prime Minister of J&K Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah along with his wife and son used to visit Amma’s kulfi kiosk to have special sugar free kulfi. Along with taste and flavor, Amma took care of health too and that too in the 19th century.
Mehraj Ahmad (stall owner in Srinagar) stated that his quality was so impressive that he would attract customers from far places. He also added that the Matka Kulfi they sell nowadays is no match to that of Amma Buda’s.
Truly he was a legend in his own. He stood alone in the kulfi business for 25 years and then many competitors came along but no other person could match his level of taste in Kulfi and of course his talent.
“The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis” and this quote stands true for Amma Buda for he set himself apart from the others through the ups and downs and remained the first priority in terms of Kashmir’s kulfi.