Skip to main content

Memories of food - Elandampazham

As a child, we were not allowed to eat elandampazham. Chee, one of the aunts would admonish wheneverI expressed an interest in the forbidden fruit, we do not eat such fruit. It never occured to me ask her why. In much the same way as I never questioned, until much later, other pearls of wisdom handed down to us. I simply accepted it and stayed away from watermelon, sweet potato and elandampazham. All of which, presumably, occupied the lowest rung of edibles. And everyday I was left looking longingly at the wooden cart piled high with elandampazham as it did brisk business outside our school.

For about 10 paise, you would get a paper coneful of sour-sticky, ripe berries sprinkled generously with salt and chilli powder. I never, ever bought a cone but sometimes, on rare occasions, a classmate would offer me a single pazham. I would grab it quickly before she had a chance to change her mind. And once in my hand, I would roll the fruit in my palm, fully aware of the rule I was about to break. What if they found out about it? Would the smells fade by the time I reached home? What if the fruit burst and the juices stained my white shirt? Would I be able to explain it without giving away too much? My mind would be in turmoil. But I would succumb to the temptation and pop the fruit into my mouth. I'd bite into its sumptuous flesh and savour its sharp sourness. In the following years, I have started eating watermelon and I make the most delicious falafels using sweet potatoes. But elendampazham? The aftertaste of guilt that lingered once the berry was gone was not very nice.

On Milkmaid, maggi

Comments

Kalthoon tilakji said…
Your aunt said No may be 'coz of this song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DtLGFKvviw

which is considered a 'record dance' song
SUR NOTES said…
oh please oh please give me the translation of Elandampazham?
Are they those small bright red berries, sour and divine? Normally sold alongside slices of raw mango, tamarind and (in gujrat) bunches of green saunf on the stalk.

i think i will walk to a school gate and find those suppliers of forbidden fruit and gorge.
aangtce said…
I still remember clearly the day i rolled the seed of elandapazham into the cap of the pen and closing the pen just to see what would happen... :D
I KNOW THE SONG! do not know the froot.
aangtce said…
@sur notes: yeah it is exactly those ...except i seemt to remember those as being dark red, almost maroon coloured more often than the bright red....
Anonymous said…
i used to eat the forbidden fruit
till one day an uncle saw me eating and said
"adhula puzhu irukkum" and I said "enge?" and pulled a half bitten berry and saw one squirming.

Stopped eating after that (for some time).

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 …