Its a pleasant evening, well, No rain, not very hot, nice breeze and the dancing leafs in my tiny flower pots makes it feels good, i opened all the doors.
I was in the kitchen, making sambar and i suddenly wanted to write a post, Yes, i know i am weird, what to do, we are like this only. By the way,thanks mom for that recipe and thanks to SIL who gave me the gyan about curryleaves and the imp of them for enhancing the aroma,:)
It feels nice when i get to know about the little kitchen secrets from MIL, Mom or SIL. I am not a wonderful cook but i do my job pretty decently,hmmmm, maybe because its more than job for me:) The stories attached to a particular dish, the memories of it, Yes, i mean it. The memories attached, I said i rushed to write a post, because the sambhar brought back memories of childhood days, of peddamma or my mom's elder sister, my cousins and the village.
The humid and hot summer evenings when we used to come back lazily from the fields, we went along with the servants and along with my uncle, played in the hot sun, ate sugarcanes, mangoes & thati munjelu or Toddy palm seeds as they are called, jumped into the river canal, I climbed trees, those big banayan trees and from the edge of a stem used to jump into the river, i did it, used to bribe the servants and my cousin so that they let us do all that the village kids did.
Came back home at sunset, and peddamma sure never knew what we were up to, sometimes all the 4 km from the fields would be walk or at times in a bullock cart or a tractor and when we enter the house the smells of sambhar welcomed us, she made it most of the evenings, with small sambhar onions and simple tadka, slowly simmering in an earthen pot on a kumpati ( a stove made of mud and uses charcoal or timber) My cousin always cribbed that she never makes anything special but for us it was special.
No coming inside the house unless you take bath, she would order and when we did she used to give permission to light the lanthern. Four or five of them, for each room, neatly cleaned and oiled and lighted, we used to keep it in rooms, and then the beds would be put in the varandah, nulaka mancham they were called and we all start talking, it would all be about us, me and my brother, the special guests, and there were no boundary walls, the neighbours sometimes joined in.
Night silent with occassional bells ringing tied in the cows neck and 8pm, we all used to sit down for dinner, outside, in the open yard, near the kitchen and she used to serve hot rice and little bit of new mango pickle, i used to insist for more but she refused always, and dollops of ghee, avakkaya annam:) and then second round would be the sambhar, shifted to a small bowl, it used to go round and everyone used to complain it is hot but not stop eating, accompanied by vadiyalu ( or papad) the taste was awesome. And comes the third round, yes, the one where we were not supposed to complete the meal without having curds, but we are full" we always complained, but she never would agree.
Satisfied and sweating because of the hot food, we then used to jump into the beds with the visanakarra ( or handheld fans) and start talking again, till late into the night, there is river krishna flowing right in front of the house and the coconut plams, the hibiscus near the cow shed, the jasmine near the kitchen and the big mile stone just in front of the house whre i used to sit in the evenings and watch the boat ( or ballakattu) sail by.
There is much to write but somehow i feel sad and silent, the words don't form sentences, there is a lump in the throat, i miss that place, the people, peddamma lost 25yr old son, my cousin, i still feel its not true and then her daughter, my elder sister had a marital problem and they lost most of the property and left the place.
Its been long back, And i never went back to that place, my brother did, he met the kids with whom we played, but i never went, i have happy memories of the place, now its abondened and no one lives there, the bushes and trees make it look like a jungle, the boat is broken and not many come to this side of the river, the milestone, the river, the big banayan tree are still the same, but everything else changed, I don't want to go back. I have memories, they make me smile, pushing back the tears i gave a stern warning to the husband that he dare not getup from his dinner before having curds. So our dinner was avakkaya annam, sambhar, vadiyalu, perugu. Memories- they make life so beautiful and worth living.