Skip to main content

Memories of food – Modak

It was the first time I was away from home on my birthday. I had been working the whole day and for some reason that I cannot now remember, I had not spoken to my parents since morning. As I made my way home that evening, I stopped by at a phone booth and called them. I wished my father a happy birthday and he greeted me back – we share a birthday. We chitchatted for few more minutes and then I hung up. I had never felt worse as I made my way up the third floor to the small flat which I shared with two other girls. One of the few people I knew in the apartment block was a Marathi family who lived on the ground floor. On my way home, sometimes I used to stop by and play with their little two-year old. Soon I was being invited for a cup of tea and poha. And I before I knew it, I was picking up fruit and veg for them when I did my shopping. Their door was always left open and the fruits gave me the perfect pretext to drop by their place.

On that particular birthday however, I didn't feel like socialising much and wanted to slip away as quietly as possible. But the elderly grandmother who saw me pass by, rushed to the door and enquired after me. I told her that it was my birthday and feigning fatigue, I made my way to the flat. No sooner had I shut the door behind me than there was a knock. The grandmother stood there holding an ever-silver tiffin box. It's Modak, she said offering it to me, you told me it was your birthday. It was the first bit of celebration I'd had all day. And I didn't need any other.

Comments

shyam said…
Hooray, you're back at last!
Sunitha said…
Hi Ammani, started reading your posts recently and love all your short stories! Congrats on the new baby and glad you found time to write two more :-) Keep writing!
Ganesh said…
Ammani welcome back.
Red Phoenix said…
Happy birthday to u and ur dad too :D
Kalthoon tilakji said…
AR vandu sendacha?
mumbaigirl said…
Welcome back! Memories of modak hold memories of love for me too.
Madura said…
haaaaayaaay ... we are glad to see you are back! Our modhak for the day! :)
Jam said…
Happy birthday (belated, if that s the case)

This was a nice, short, wonderfully poignant and touching story about those small random gestures that make our otherwise mundane lives so interesting to live in.

Party on........Jam
ammani..

used to read ur blogs earlier..
and in between lost the touch with blogs..

nice to see you active over here..
though, i didnt get the puch of ur earlier posts, this one faired good enough..!!

keep writing..
It is really sad to be away from parents on b'days.
Been like that for nearly a decade.
This time I managed to be home. :)

-Nikhil
HOBO said…
Great post ...
Emotional one. I loved it.
Torky said…
Ooohhh!!! Modak. modakam. kozhukattai. i actually had to look up modak on the web and find out what it was. :D it didnt strike me.

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 …