Blog post by Shilpa Ramanathan
I would like to share a hillarious incident that happened some 20-30 years back and now its a family joke for us. Of-course the joke is on me…
So the story goes like this – when I was around 4+ years of age, we were staying in Bombay. I was dropped in my periyappa’s house and I stayed there for 10 days. My mother still remembers this incident vividly “Kal nenju kaari aakkum nee.. 4 vayasuleye amma-appava viituttu pathu naal un periyappa aathula poi thanginai. Amma-Appa va ketkave illayam” translates to “You are stone-hearted human being. At 4 years of age, you stayed at you big-father’s (periyappa 🙂 ) house leaving your parents. You didn’t ask for your mom and dad” – So I got a verdict…. I am stone-hearted. Phew!!
One fine day My Periyamma made adai – this is a very famous dosa-like breakfast item made with rice and lentils. Ellarum chappalam kootindu thattoda ready aayittom. Yes the tambrahm’s dining table is not dining table – its dining floor. Chuda chuda adai vandhu vizhundhudhu thattula. Periyamma kaetta “enna thottukarai?” I guess the others opted for molaga podi the default tambrahm side-dish for idli/dosas. So I promptly replied “Madura Suthram”
All 8 eyes were on me. They were looking at me as though I spoke gibberish. Now in those days there were no cartoon channels (TV ye illayam!!!) from where I could have learnt this new word right.. And of course no flashy phones / watsapp that phone utao, lagao number (pardon the hindi – bambai nyabagam illaya konjam hindi varadha) and then ask “Endi lachu: Kozhandai ennamo madura suthram nu ketkarale – ennavaakkum adhu?”
Now they all racked their brains. They understood that madhura/madhuram means sweet. So I am asking something sweet. But what is suthram? In Malayalam suthram means an idea or a trick. so what is this sweet trick that my mother has taught me.
My periyamma decided to play 20 questions with me. And I was world famous for giving obviously stupid answers (I still am…)
Me: Adukkalaila – ungalukku theriyadha!!?
Periyamma stops her game here. She understood that she cannot get any other useful information from me. And how can you accept “I don’t know” to a kid.
Meanwhile Periyappa said “Nee oru kashnam vellatha kondu vandhu podu. Adai kku eppovume vellam dhan thotuppa”
With no other choice Periyamma obediently obeys Periyappa and puts a piece of Jaggery in my plate. And I said “Madura Suthram olipichu vechu irundhela? Nanna irukke”