TALKING FROM HOME
Telephone conversation between two friends. Let's call them A-ma and B-ma. Both their telephones are "landlines" and both friends are "talking from home".
Friend A-ma: "Good morning, ma! How are you, ma? Staying at home, eh?"
Friend B-ma: "Good morning, good morning, ma! Yes, ma. Staying at home only. Because of this lockdown vockdown. What to do? What about you, ma?"
A-ma: "I am also same same, ma! Sitting at home only. Ayyo, what to say, ma?"
B-ma: "One Ayyo only? I feel like putting two Ayyos."
A-ma: "Ayyo Ayyo. Okay, ma?"
B-ma: "Hahaha, okay okay. Coffee tiffin overaa? What did you make for tiffin in your house, ma?"
A-ma: "I made uppitt today ma, with little bit onion. No variation only, ma. For me variation means more salt or less salt, hahaha, that’s all. What about in your house, ma?"
B-ma: "Ayyo, don't ask, ma."
A-ma: "Okay, I won't ask."
B-ma: "No, no, no, it's okay. Today I made adai with avial. First I thought I will simply make off aulakki with onion and potato. But I know big galatta will happen if I make aulakki because yesterday only I made uppittu. Then I saw in the fridge, little bit white pumpkin was remaining, along with few beansu, pattani, one carrot and all. So, I thought best idea was avial. Something different we have to do every day, no, ma? Then only we can avoid galatta, no?"
A-ma: "Yes, I know. For tomorrow thindi I have to start planning today only. Nowadays I became like planning commission, hahaha, daily sitting and breaking my head and thinking what to make, what to make."
B-ma: "Ayyo, when you said breaking my head, suddenly I remembered! Vegetables are half cut and I am sitting here talking to you. See, how I forgot? This lockdown is making me go mad. Let me go, ma, I have to make lunch. We will talk afterwards. Okay, ma?"
A-ma: "Okay, ma. You go, ma. I also will go and start lunch preparation thinking, hahaha! Happy lockdown, ma!"
B-ma: "Happy lockdown, ma!"
The conversation ends on a cheerful note.
Vockdown : a word that has no meaning but plenty of usefulness as it rhymes with lockdown. Used as a kind of a follow through word, to give company to lockdown without breaking social distancing protocol.
Tiffin : a term generally used, especially in South India, for a light meal or snack, in this case, breakfast.
Uppitt : Uppittu in Kannada (name believed to have been derived from a combination of “uppu” or salt and “hittu” or flour), Upma in Tamil (combo of “uppu” or salt and “maavu” or flour) a light meal made by cooking roasted rava, aka sooji aaka semolina, in water, mildly spiced with fresh green or dry red chillies and tempered with mustard, curry leaves and lentils sputtered in oil. Chopped onions may be added, as an option. Vegetables like potatoes, carrots and green peas may also be added, to make it a wholesomer meal.
Adai : a thick, heavy, spicy pancake made like dosai but from a coarse batter, fresh and unfermented, of lentils, rice and spices, it is a favourite “tiffin” item in South India.
Avial : a dish that is said to have originated in Kerala but is equally popular in Tamil Nadu too, with minor variations in the recipe. Avial is a vegetable dish made using several vegetables, in a base of curds, cooked typically using coconut oil (though any oil can be used because coconut oil has a strong and distinct aroma and can be off-putting for some), spiced with green chillies and jeera and garnished with grated coconut. It is served as an accompaniment to sambar-rice or rasam-rice, though adai and avial, as “tiffin”, is a special combination!
Aulakki : Avalakki or beaten rice, soaked in water for a short while and prepared in similar way to upma. Simple and filling.
Galatta : Ruckus, trouble.
White Pumpkin : a clever, innovative, informal name for Ash Gourd (Poosanikkai in Tamil, Boodi Kumblekayi in Kannada).
Pattani : Tamil for Green Peas (Battani in Kannada).
Thindi : Kannada for breakfast, tea time snack or any kind of light meal.
© Shiva Kumar