Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pazhan Kanj,Uppu Manga & Kandhari

I remember from long time ago, having read a short story that narrated the tale of a young man who shelved his plan to end his life at the very last moment. He was tempted by the aroma of his favourite cuisine (puttu) his mother used to serve him. The smell of the fresh steamed meal whiffed through the air from a nearby restaurant adjacent to the railway track where he was contemplating to end his life. There was little time left for the early morning train to steam by and the sun was just about peeping over the distant hills. Suddenly he was pulled by utter craving - lust to live. The urge to live pounded him incessantly with the aroma that the gust of air brought- the smell of the food that  reminded him of his mother,whiffed away  the despondency that ploughed him under till a moment ago. He ran back home along the track and along the river’s edge that wound by, to his home-where he saw his  mother  was indeed cooking his favourite meal that morning. He inhaled the flavoured steamy air in the kitchen and felt a voice tell him that what a fool he would be if he had done the mad act when he nearly deserted the things that were dear in life. That morning he devoured the food his mother made and like never before. He relished it much, which words would toil to account.

The aroma of favourite viands that linger and whiff by unexpectedly and the titillation it provide for taste buds are sure to make all those who have known of it desire the pleasure more and forever. We all have, often in our life. So it was with amusement that I recollected the scene at the dining table quite a few mornings at a friend’s house. He has of late joined the club of hyper tensed people and is on medication for elevated blood pressure. I was speaking on the phone to him and his wife and could not resist the tongue in cheek comment to her that all those morning breakfast he indulged and went overboard because of those wonderful pickled dishes his mother was wondrously adept at making. Those mornings breakfast which he persistently used to relish- the previous days cooked rice soaked in water and then his pompous and arrogant discretion of mixing it with pickled brined mango and those special tiny heavenly chilies’ fresh from the garden (pazhan kanji and uppu mango with kandhari mullaku)! This he devoured before speeding off to college for work, while we lazed by eating like respectable people iddlis or dosa and even bread toast with omelet. At the end of it all I would prefer an existence laced with hypertension. The contentment is after all one had had the fortune to eat every day to the heart’s content what one loves most in life- a special preparation of excellent cuisine by ones mother. A high blood pressure is only incidental to the happiness of the soul day after day for a long time in life.

Thinking of it, I must confess that I drooled and drooled figuratively speaking I would have drowned. For, I have been often privileged to have food at his home and the simple mundane native delights his mother used to cook, though she was handicapped by paralysis from a severe stroke.

It is not an exaggeration and wee bit dishonest if I say that the aroma of those fabulous dishes do linger in that house even now though it is a few years since she passed.  Perhaps something exist or stay behind even after we are gone?


Usha Menon said...

Nice narrative. Everyone loves the food cooked by ones Mother. A mother, when she prepares food, thinks how her children will like it. It is true that food plus mother's hand is equal to delicious food.

rudraprayaga said...

Two reasons-1.nostalgia and 2.habitual taste mixed with mother's affection.(Man is a slave of habits).

rudraprayaga said...

your way of narration is alluring.

KParthasarathi said...

Don't speak lightly of pazham kanji.I am sending you a mail separately listing out the immense beneficial effects of this long forgotten early morning wholesome food

anilkurup said...

@ Kparthasarathi,

Did you feel that I mentioned low of 'pazhan KanjI'?
GMG I did not, perhaps you misunderstood. Apart from the benefits attributed, the lure of the dish is the special mystery of it. And along with curd, pickle or the tiny green chilies I mentioned they make an elixir that is healthy to the soul.

Meera Sundararajan said...

@Anil, good food and its aroma is obviously powerful enough to draw a person away from the jaws of death! But certain simple and traditional foods are fast disappearing with the generation that knew how to cook it. I for one, know that after my mother and aunts leave this world, I would not be left only with the pretenders -meaning my sister and my cousins ( you can count me out. I never pretended I could cook)

Surbhi Bafna said...

The story in the beginning reminds me of the DHARA advertisement(vegetable oil, broadcasted in early 90's). The boy named Bablu leaves his home because everyone scolds him, then Ramu kaka comes and tells him of the jalebis his mom is preparing. The kid tables his plan and cherises the delicious jalebis at the table. :D
It was my favourite add and whenever it appeared on the screen, I used to rush to the screen. I even have the video now and watch it now and then to get lost in childhood, in mom-made food's aroma and feel like in olfactory heaven. :D
It was a splendid read.
Silly Smiles... Take you Miles :)

Insignia said...

The start and end of life's struggle is attributed to 'our pidi soru'. And yeah, if that our pidi soru could be heavenly, cooked and served by mom, nothing else in life is worth worrying for.

No wonder, the man decided to take a u-turn from his decision. Those simple meal is what we yearn for.

Your post takes me on a memory spree and I am drilling here unconsciously.

anilkurup said...

@ Usha Menon,
Thank you.Yes you are absolutely right about that.

@ rudraprayag,
ha you said it well . the few kinds of slavery that one will love.
By the way I feel quite odd when appreciation such as the one you made is blogged. Honestly, I'm just an amateur hoping people appreciate what I pen.
Anyway your comment is encouraging indeed.

@ meera Sundarajan,

Your fear is not unsubstantiated. the native cuisine will disappear and junk and fast food will rule. I wonder how many among the Coco cola boys and girls or the IT wiz kids would cook a tasty meal in their own native way.

@ Surabhi Bafna,

Thank you for coming here. And it is a happy matter to know you liked the post.

I wonder if you have heard of this typical Mallu food.
I look forward to seeing you here regularly.

@ Insignia,

Yes indeed B.
And I have missed you in a few recent Posts

Surbhi Bafna said...

Yeah!!! I don't know much about Mallu food except the idli-dosas which are my favourite. But the fable and mom-cook food aroma made me share my views.
Silly Smiles... Take you Miles :)

Insignia said...

I am going to read them now Anil. Its been crazy at work these days.

Sandy said...

What a touching story and I can see many avenues of delight in this wonderful picture..It is funny how things trigger other things and responses in us. Sorry to be so long getting here anilkurup. My own dear mother fell a few days ago and has been unable to get out of bed..Thank God nothing is broken..She will be 90 in three weeks... Sandy

anilkurup said...

@ Surabhi Bafna,

I appreciate , thank you and hope to see you again.

@ Insignia,

Ok B, the unenviable life of a Techie!!!!

@ Sandy,

Thanks Sandy.
And good wishes ton you and your mother.

rudraprayaga said...

The appreciation is from an amateurish person only.

rudraprayaga said...

If possible pl.view 'An Encounter'.

Happy Kitten said...

Missed this alluring tasty post....I think hypertension is worth the taste of these simple but delicious meals.
Nd Mothers love unconditionally...

Ruprekha said...

Dropping by after ages, sorry workload has left me practically with no time to read my favourite blogs.Will try to from now.
Lovely post, took me down memory lane. My mom would make wonderful pickles. She has left us years ago but I still haven't forgotten that taste or flavour.

anilkurup said...

@ Rudraprayag,

"an encounter" ???" what about and where?

@ Happy Kitten,

Yes Asha ,
I wondered what became of you.
Certainly high BP is alright after these heavenly delights.

@ Ruparekaha,

Yes you were off for a long while. Hope to see you frequently.