Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wishes, horses and green fields

That is our coconut tree and that is our crop. Our biggest haul ever.

All through our childhood, Shweta and I have bewailed the fact that we don’t have rural roots. A village to visit in the holidays, fields to roam, farmer-grandparents to indulge us with freshly plucked tubs of mango. Sadly our ancestors seem to have been a citified lot – what farmlands they used to hold was sold many generations ago, and our own grandfather wasn’t in the business of growing rice but rather manufacturing airplanes.

Still, we grew up with neighbours who had these roots. Anjana aunty’s belonged to Coastal Andhra, the prosperous paddy-growing tracts of the state. Sacks of rice and other produce would arrive regularly, as well as huge jars of homemade pickle, that thing they make with pressed mango, and my absolute favourite: regipalla vadiyalu. This is a delicious utterly lip-smacking thingamajig they made with ber (the small reddish variety), red chillies, jeera, jaggery and salt, put through god-knows-what process. The result however was this dried blob that would keep for months and gave off a variety of tangy-hot-sweet tastes as you bit into it. The regipalla seeds would still be there, nearly whole and you’d have to suck them carefully, scraping the pulp off with your teeth and spitting them into an ever-growing pile. I lived for these and Aunty never failed to put aside a generous portion for me every time a consignment arrived. None of the Swagruhas seem to make them, alas.

It felt good this week to gather our own coconuts, from our own tree. In this day when supermarkets will sell you ready-to-eat meals, chopped assorted veggies, and sprouted-for-three-days lentils, to have them fresh off our solitary tree, to pretend they were all from our own polaalu.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hee hee

There's a funny email doing the rounds.

Bill Gates, it seems, has introduced Windows in Telangana: Kitkeel Renduvela Eedu. Search of course becomes devulaadu, Save is bachainchu, Save as = gitla bachainchu, Save all = anni bachainchu and Help = nannu bachainchu.

FoxPro is nakkalekkal turumkhan, Access denied would be dorkavattaneeya and 'This program has performed an illegal operation *"Abort, Retry or Ignore"?' translates 'Ee karyam dongalekkaku vattindi, jaldi voorku lekunte malla kottu leka marshipo'.

Exit, naturally, is igavori.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Why all this madness over babies?

Is it their helplessness? What is it?
These idiots with insistent ids
Who yowl when their unbridled bids
For love or milk go unregarded
For seven seconds—or who bawl
For no substantial cause at all—
Why are these egotists bombarded
With kisses, hugs, and smiles to spare?
Others, I think, deserve a share.

—Vikram Seth
13.46, The Golden Gate


It is raining ‘em babies. What’s more, a good number of them are coming in twos.

My cousin Hemanth added twin girls to his tally last week; our Bashku has a new baby brother she’s fascinated by.

[Bashku posts: 1, 2 and 3; her mother Sowmya blogs here – mostly about her]

My friend Usha has an absolute doll of a baby who is six months old now; Sabiha’s three-month-old twins her keeping her awake all times of day and night, and at least two ladies in my small blogosphere circle – the Marauder and MadMomma – have had the stork visit. Congratulations, people! I wish you every joy.

I love babies. True, they scare the hell out of me before their necks have steadied and I daren’t hold them before then. Also I don’t know quite what to say to rheumy-eyed, inward-looking centres of self-absorption, but three months does wonders for their personalities, bringing awareness in their eyes, and intelligence and humour. They begin to grin, clutch, grimace and I fall in love again.