Let me begin with an explanation of the title. My maternal grandparents had the surname ‘Berry’ and they lived in a place called Khan Market in New Delhi. This is where the foundation stone was laid for our family’s love for Coca-Cola!

My grandfather had a huge departmental store in Khan Market during my childhood. We were a tribe of eight grandchildren who would converge at our naani’s (maternal grandmother’s) home during every holiday. A rambunctious bunch, we were constantly fighting, playing pranks, trading comic books - the only constant was the presence of the small Coca-Cola glass bottle.

Coca-Cola was – well, our ninth cousin! We bartered our sleeping position near the sole water cooler with Coca-Cola, threatening each other that we would hide the one and only bottle opener in the house (yup, that meant no Coca-Cola for the day – just staring forlornly at the full bottle!)

We cried after fighting and made up by giving our bottle of Coke to the younger one. We slept on the terrace, gazing at the stars and planning our lives, savouring the comforting and familiar sips of Coke.

Each one of us met our prospective in-laws at our grandparents’ home – when we cousins were to compare notes 10 years later, we realised that all of us had been asked this by our in-laws, “Does Coke flow through the taps at your naani’s (maternal grandma’s) home? How come in the 10 seconds that it takes us to enter the doorway and get comfortable in the living room, glasses of Coke just appear?”

The drinking of Coke has been honed to a fine art in our family. The temperature has to be just right, the glass has to be topped with crushed ice (ice cubes just won’t do). Our childhood mixology sessions produced recipes of masala Coke, ice cream floats, Coke and cold milk (boo to the protein mixes!)

Fast forward a bit and Coke had firmly entrenched itself in the generation of my mom and maasis (maternal aunts). So much so, that the local shopkeeper kept sending my mom all kinds of goodies and promotional items since we were the highest Coke-consuming customers (that alliteration adds gravity to this article, albeit Coke being the soft drink here!) he ever had.

During my brother’s wedding days, we actually borrowed the red Coke refrigerator from our local community store to serve as a second fridge to keep all the Coke and soda bottles cool.

As a mother of two boys, yes, Coke continues to be the centre of our celebrations. Despite giving them their own glasses, they just have to take a swig from my tall glass of Coke and crushed ice – it just tastes better, they say.

After successfully completing an assignment, my wind down moment is my favourite glass of Coke (at the right temperature and with the crushed ice of course- have to keep the parampara (tradition) going). And that’s what I plan on doing right about now!

(A mother to 2 boys, an ex-hotelier, an avid writer, Priya Chadha is a power-packed lady who wears several crowns with absolute ease. Her love for writing is evident from the plethora of articles she has written covering a vast spectrum. Her style of writing is conversational; drawing on real life experiences and peppered with emotions. Her epitaph shall read ‘Life was just the way she liked it.’)