Madhura Suthram by Shilpa

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…)

Periyamma: Enma Panjasaaraya?
Me: Illai Madhura suthram
Periyamma: Eppadi irukkum?
Me: Thithippa irukkum
Periyamma: Bhagawane!! (Thinking madura suthram enna kasappava irukkum?)
Periyamma: Amma enga vechuruppa?

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”

Till date my periyamma makes fun of me and my mom with this incident. Adai panni vechu irukken. Madhura Suthram kondu varattuma?

One thought on “Madhura Suthram by Shilpa

  1. Brings back so many memories of eating adai with Madhura Suthram in Thangam Mamy’s (my mother’s best frnd frm Palghat via B’lore) the best adai i ever tasted.



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