Skip to main content

Goodbye and thanks for all the sambar*


(click on pic for recipe)

There are those whose memories are linked to sight and smell. Not me. My remembrance is curiously connected to my taste buds. A familiar taste often triggers a total recall. Like it happened the other day. I had made 'vengaya sambar' like I usually do and one sip was all it took to send me reeling back to my childhood. Back then, vengaya sambar was a rarity. A dish reserved for occasional Sundays or when we had guests over for dinner. We'd clamour for the tiny onions that swam in a sea of delicious lentil broth. It was strictly rationed and I'd tuck my share of onion away in one corner of my mouth and savour it at leisure.

I still remember the one time when I was 19, I was to come home after a 6-month long exchange program when mother asked me what I'd like for my welcome-home lunch. I replied without hesitation, "vengaya sambar". I only have to close my eyes and I can recall instantly the taste of tangy sambar as it slid down my parched throat reviving every taste bud in its path.

I'm not due back home for another 8 months. But I already know what I'm going to have for lunch that day.

*This is my tribute to one of Tamil cinema's best-loved heroes, Gemini Ganesan, who passed away yesterday. He used to be referred to as 'Sambar', much to his chagrin.

Comments

Dosai said…
Ahh its heaven being in chennai and tasting iyengar style vengaaya sambar + Nei + Rice. Caman the enjaiment i must say.

No idea why Gemini thatha was called Sambhar but IMHO he owned all the classic love story bases movies. I still go still sit in front of the box if they telecast Vanji Kotai Valiban, Man what a box oppice smasher. Hope i dont leave chennai cause too many memories here.

Peace
Dosai
mischief editor said…
dosai - you may be right.......but not absolutely...

vengaaya sambar + nallennai + rice is ultimate maan...
Maran said…
Hmm there should be something like the 'I love NY' t-shirt for sambar. I love Sambar
tilotamma said…
I really liked this one! I have no idea why it is was such a special item - maybe peeling the chinna vengayam is labor-intensive
Anjali said…
sambar idli combo amazing

You May Also Like

Guest blog by Chinna Ammani

Here’s an interesting write-up by Chinna Ammani on stereotypical portrayals in Indian adverts. The opinion expressed is strong and the language uncompromising. Read at your own peril!-a

The Aiyaiyo Syndrome

These days I do what is called as a shooting supervision. When ads are filmed (with lip sync) in Tamizh, my job is to teach models their lines and rehearse with them. Most of them are from Mumbai and are non-Tamilians. So when they have to do a line in Tamil, for example "Adanaaladan Dettol ubayogikaren" (And that's why I use Dettol) , they invariably say "Aadanaladaanu naanu Detttaalu ubayogikkareanu" (Something hideous). Their exaggerated delivery of our supposed accent is all thanks to Hindi actor Mehmood. My blood pressure rises and I yell "DO NOT DO A MEHMOOD HERE. WE DO NOT SPEAK LIKE THAT".

Though their voice is dubbed later with a Tamil voice-over, I ensure that they pronounce it the non-Mehmood way. Mehmood has done this major damage to us So…

Bio-data

Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”


http://jikku.blogspot.com/2005/02/quick-tale-3.html#c111042815438237631

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.

-a

Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

It cannot be easy being you. A follow-up act to your more devilishly charming, flamboyant older brother. Before you were born, I was convinced that no child could ever take the special place your brother had come to occupy in my life. I used to argue with your father you would always be a second-born. A runner-up. A bridesmaid (or a best-man, as you turned out to be). That you could never be the prized, cherished, celebrated apple of my eye that my firstborn child was. But how easily you tore down my flimsy little conviction. The minute I saw you, I knew I was gone. What was worse, I succumbed willingly.

My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

I ask, you write

Okay, here's the idea. I ask you a question and you write a short story explaining it. Let me give you an example.

What happened when young Padmavathi was drawing water from the well to wash her clothes, early one Margazhi morning?

Annon's story

One morning when Padmavathi was drawing water from the well, she found Pettai Rowdy # 1 Govindarajulu inside the bucket! She dropped it at once and Govindarajulu went down and down and hit the bottom of the well with a Nung sound. His upper and lower teeth fused together and since then he has been fed intravenously. Pettai Rowdy # 2, Ragothaman Iyengar, who suggested this to Govindarajulu, now rules the roost.

After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!

-

Here's a question for you.

What happened that made young Meenakshi change her mind about the parrot green saree she had originally chosen and go for a …