It is the day after Deepaavali. In North India, it’s called Diwaali because they have a taste for Sanskrit consonants. So they swallow the “Pa” and the word ends up sounding like the area between San Mateo and San Jose or perhaps, a tennis shot Boris Becker specialized in.
More specifically, it was my Thalai Deepaavali. For the uninitiated, the prefix does not refer to this guy. It refers to the celebration of a married couple’s first Deepavaali, where families and well-wishers gather to
- Hog sweets
- Hog savouries
- Help certain Tirunelveli based garment businessmen in the area of T-Nagar rise from abject poverty.
- and generally employ several verbal tricks to subtly and unsubtly suggest that the couple needs to, well, turn into couple + 1.
Every maami and maama on whose feet we fell, collected cash served on betel leaves, and allowed yellowed-rice grains to be deposited in our scalp, spared no chance to tell the both of us that the future of the propagation of the human race rested on our shoulders. And therefore, we must positively produce a Homo Sapiens Infantus asap. But they did so in several interesting ways. I referred to it briefly in an older post – here
The Promotion seekers
“Dei. Ennada? Eppoda enakku promotion?” (Hey. What man? When am I going to get a promotion?)
Here promotion generally refers to the following.
- Grandmother -> Great Grandmother
- Father -> Grandfather
- Mother -> Grandmother
- Uncle -> Grand Uncle
- Great Uncle -> Great Great Uncle
and so on.
“Dei. Oru number kammiyaa irukkey” (Hey. One number is less no?)
This is usually followed by a smirk/grin/wink to suggest that he is not referring to bank ledgers.
The Indirect Logicians
He: Dei. How old are you?
He: (with expression bordering shock and the line-of-control in Kashmir) 30 ????
Me: Why? What happened?
He: By the time your first kid grows up and gets settled, you will be close to retirement.
Me: What if I adopt a 5 year old 3 years from now and get a head start?
He: Adoptionaa? That and all will not work.
Me: Ok. What about adogtion?
Me: Adopting a pet.
He: Dei. Joke adikkariyaa?( Hey. Are you hitting a joke aa? )
The Closet Gynaecologists
The wife is usually subject to a different set of procreative pressures from the senior leddies in the family. And this is one of the most popular lines of attack.
“If you don’t have a kid right away at this age, you will have problems and complications later”
This is usually followed by some ominous case studies to drive home the nasty dangers of not adding one member to the human race by the next 9 months.
But we got past all of that without too much trouble. We then set out trying to finish all of the crackers. We separated out the girlie stuff (bussvaanams, sangu chakrams, sparklers, saattais etc) and the guy stuff (Hydro bombs, double-sound, rocket bombs and lakshmi vedis) and while it was fun aiming the rockets at neighbouring houses for a while, I soon got bored and we simply distributed all the remaining fireworks to a small boy who happened to pass by and the girl who delivers jasmine flowers home daily.
And that brings me to the Great Indian Population Leveller – Sweets and Savouries. Cumulatively, these deadly calorie filled taste-grenades do more to reduce our life expectancy than trivial things like air pollution. While Deepaavali sweets and savouries have increased in variety over the years, I made a list of what is considered to be traditional Deepaavali fare.
Laddoos – Made with Kadalai Maavu (Besan)
Mysore Pa – Not the ubiquitous Sri Krishna sweets variety, but the slightly hard, tooth-decay causing variety
Maalaadu – Powder balls designed to choke one’s mouth and spill all over the floor when being consumed. I am also informed that this one is more of Tirunelveli thing.
Thengozhal – Small, tubular, fried delicacy made with Rice and Urad flour.
Mullumurukku – Murukku originally designed as an oral equivalent of the ascetic bed-of-thorns.
Om Podi – Food item that starred in Ardh Satya. Also features in Bhel Puri.
Mixture – The classic recipe features Om Podi, Boondi, Puffed Rice (Aval), Chutney Dal, Groundnut, Cashew nut, fried Curry leaves, Asafotida and salt. Goes very well with filter coffee. But my personal favourite variation is the Cornflakes mixture from Sri Krishna Sweets.
And last but not the least, the legendary Marundhu – The digestif made out of 8 ingredients – Pepper, Rice/Kanda Thippili, Ajwain, Dried ginger (Sukku), Coriander, Chitthratthai and Adimadhuram ground to a paste and cooked with ghee (clarified butter) and jaggery. Eating this stuff is the digestive system’s equivalent of the Marathon runner grabbing glucose and water after every few miles.