Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vadai, Avial, Vazhakkai and a sumptuous serving of memories

My wife made 'vadai' today!
Its a big deal in a Tamil Brahmin's family, if you make vadai and it does not taste like adai. With liberal dose of vengayam and paruppu, it was definitely relish-worthy. I climbed on it and flew to those days when festivals in our house in munneerpallam revolved around 'vadai'.
Be it pillayar chaturthi or devasam, vadai is always an integral part of our full course lunch. Paatiku moonu manike muzhippu vandhirum. By 3 30 the entire thinnai, azhi and vasal will be filled with maakkolam (tradtional indian rangoli art made with liquid rice flour). Amma will take over from here and the rigor will begin with 'vadaikkaraikadhu'. For a family of 10 people mixie was never really an option. So she always resorted to 'aatukkal'.
Ambi is an integral part of every festival day kitchen. Ambi will always tak the mantle at the aatukkal. Based on his mood and hurry to get back to home, he may invariably pour more water. I still can hear my mom yelling "Kadangaran...thanniya vaari vitrukan paaru...mudiyadhu na naane panirpen'. I wont forget Ambi for life. My playmate, my chauffer, my entertainer and our servant who is actually an extended family member who is better than most biological relatives of mine. God bless him with good death and relief from his painful last days...
Coming back..so it all starts with vadaiku araikardhu and then vadai idradhu which is again a complicated art of laying the vadai in shape on a plastic sheet to give it the shape. In our iyer aam, we never rally figured this out. Vadai always was a skinny cousin to ones you get in hotels..
Nalla naal na enga athla moor kozhambu, vazhakkai podimas, avial, pachidi, kichidi ilama sapadu nadakadhu. However watery the moor kozhambu may turn out to be, thanks to joint family, it was still a must.
Even as a kid I figured out that the vadai made in our houses were not authentic as 'non -achaaram' vadai which had crisp periphery and roasted onions.
But my cousins and elders alike, liked the vadai and they circle around amma keeping an update of various stages...arachacha? thatiyacha? ethna yedu poirukku? nanna vandhirka?
Perimma oru vullal potukalama...
Moochu kaatama eduthindu kollaila poi sapdungo...paatiku therinja kathuva...
After finishing all houses, vadhyar will come to our house at 11 Am. Ambi (this is my dad) enga? ipothan vaaykaluku porikar appa? 5 nimishathla vanduruvar?
I remember appa with hair spread in all directions, smell of hamam, poverty of his mini-skirtish towel and the soap boxed inside his mug and the washed underwear and baniyan...
Dei raju engada ponan...koopdu avana...
Kannaaa...
An adhoc mental attendance of chitappas and athais will run through everyone's mind and they send me out to fetch them all for the boojai...
I remember appa turning to me and nodding when he says "vidhya balam..thathaiva...deiva balam..thataiva.." just to make sure I understand that I study well and he is doing his due by putting a recommendation to God.
Reflecting back, I did study well, earn well too. But life isnt that charming as it is in munneerpallam.
So ipdiya pannandu mani aaydum...
Samiku neivedhyam panniacha?
Perimma vadai eduthukalama?
Edukalaaam eduthkalam..with a tired sounding drawl from my amma, to the questions asked by Sriram and Karthick (cousins)..
Appa, Chitappa, Sriram, Karthik plunder the vadai..2 in hands, 3 already gone in...
At 1 amma would go "Dei appa engada...ippideee ovoru aathuka poi okaandunda ena panradhu...naangalam kaaalelendhu aduklaylaye iruka mudiyama...nerathuku sapta thane naangalum konjam kan asara mudiyum? Poi appa enga nu paaruda?"
In that summer veyyil, reluctant to step out, I would ask "Engamma popi pakardhu"
"Kazhuthai ketta kuttichevar. Raman aathla than irupar...ilena thozhu la irupar"
By the time I come back with him, Ponnamma (our servant maid) would have brought her trademark crispy onion vadai from her house. If you think good food is heaven, that vadai is right at the alter in the heaven.
Right in the center of pichumani iyer's rezhi, which hosted the likes of kanchi kamakoti century back, we would relish non-aachaaram (who cares) vadai in dozens...
By this time amma and chithi would have laid the vazhai elai..Amma kizhinjurku...kizhinja vera elai potukoyenda...
Elaya maati podu...ethana tharava solradhu...nuni valadhu pakkam...
vazhakka vendam...avail vandam...
pottu sapdra elam...chumma adhu vendam idhu vendam nu...this is appa..
vadaiave saptundrundha poruma... nalla sapda vendama (chitappa)...
Ipdiya we celebrate a festival...with lots of expectations, toil, competition for good food, advice, prayers and abundance of life...
Like they say life comes a full circle...dishing out its crispy events, spicy encounters, hurtingly hot experiences, melting moments...like the vadai ponnamma makes...

3 of my fans were here!:

Jan said...

Yummmm! When's the next thiruvuzha in muneerpallam that we can attend???

Anonymous said...

Super. Reading this post was as pleasurable as eating vada with suda suda sambhar and chutney to go along with it in saravana bhavan!!
oru detail marakkama ezhudhirukku. well done!!
and maya has started making vadais? whoa!!
ippidiye if she cooks all the time life oru ful circle varadho ila yo nee circle a dhaan thiruppi india ku varuva nu nenaikaren!!
ok. that was a sad joke!! kindly echoos!! :P

--Tormentor

Laksh on 12:10 PM said...

Wow! Nice post. Took me back to my childhood memories.

 

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