Milk Stories – Mother Dairy, Arokya, Chitale Bandhu

When we first came to Delhi in 1997, I discovered Mother Dairy milk. We lived in Patparganj, right behind the Mother Dairy factory and there was a vending machine in the small market behind our society flat. I couldn’t get over how tasty the milk was and especially the one that we got from the vending machine in a milk can was just outstanding. I remember we had a milk can like the picture below –

Picture taken from the internet

.. and Krishnan would go early in the morning and get almost two litres of milk. Then we shifted to Gurgaon and still continued to get Mother Dairy milk delivered at home. I would go to Chennai and Hyderabad and boast about how wonderful the Mother Dairy milk was and how Aavin or Vijaya milk was no match !

Then suddenly in the past ten years or so, the Mother Dairy milk started to taste like soap solution and we reduced our milk consumption significantly since 2009 as Vijaya Mami told us the harmful effects of dairy. When Amul milk started getting delivered in Delhi NCR, we shifted to Amul toned milk and then Amul Cow milk and just half a litre everyday for tea and coffee.

In 2015 we went and stayed in Chennai for a couple of months as we had the ISB reunion and to attend the Music season concerts besides losing the Skoda Yeti to the Chennai floods :). At that time, we got introduced to Arokya milk from Hatsun foods and got hooked to the taste. Nachi told me then too that their milk was adulterated and I should not buy it, but who listens to good advice ! Arokya also had a 1.5 lit can of fresh milk and its taste was just mind blowing. They discontinued it after a month or so and I have never found it afterwards. We started tracking Arokya milk everywhere and were thrilled to find it in Hyderabad as well.

Arokya Milk types – from the Hatsun Agro website

In Hyderabad though I stick to Jersey Milk as it tastes great and my loyalties lie with Bhaskar, my friend and batchmate who happens to be the founder of the company. Jersey is not available in Chennai as easily and not at all available in Gurgaon.

In Gurgaon, we continued buying half a litre of Amul cow milk till six months back when Amma said, why don’t you try and get Mother Dairy’s full cream milk as it tastes good. I didn’t believe her but got a packet still and when I tasted it – it was the original taste that I loved in 1997. So we shifted to the full cream milk and started making curd, butter and ghee at home, just like we used to earlier.

In March this year when we were at Pune, we were thrilled to see a Arokya Milk parlour very close to the Airbnb we were staying at. We bought the full cream milk and since Usha Akka told us to buy Chitale Bandhu’s milk we bought a half litre of that too from another milk vendor on the opposite end of the road. Amma set the curds and a couple of days later I tried churning butter…. and got a gelatinous kind of thing that didn’t taste like butter even. I used it while making some rice and then shifted totally to Chitale Bandhu milk. We were in for a pleasant surprise… the milk not only tasted great but the amount of butter we got was equivalent to the Mother Dairy milk or better. My stock of home made ghee increased in Pune rather than reducing.

Chitale Bandhu’s full cream milk – picture taken from their website

That’s when we realised Nachi was indeed telling the truth – Arokya milk doesn’t seem to be milk at all, don’t know whats getting added to it to make it thick and apparently creamy. I also figured out that the best test for milk is to set curds and churn butter. Only real full cream milk will give out butter, not the adulterated milk.

I definitely want to plug for Modiji in this post – he keeps harping on the neem coating of Urea that his government has insisted upon. One of the collateral benefits of doing that has been the adulteration in milk has reduced or almost vanished. Apparently urea was a great adulterant for milk but with neem coating, it can no longer be used for that purpose. So happy to know this and I certainly hope, wish and KNOW that Modiji will get a second term so that he can do two more things for the dairy industry – one, stop the growth hormone injections being used on cows to increase their milk yield and promote the indigenous cows by incentivising their rearing rather than importing the jersey cows. I am no milk expert, but I know that there are several experts out there who can explain and prove that the indigenous milk is health giving. Am going by the logic that local produce is always right for the local environment and hence we should ensure our indigenous cows’ milk is made available to us.

Please do write in with your milk stories from other parts of India and hope someone can get Arokya to fix their milk… its certainly not helping anyone’s “arogya” (health).

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