Tag Archives: #kerala

Mamapazha Pulissery in Bangalore

I am still heady over the three month break in the quaint little place called varandharappilly, in Thrissur, Kerala, in a beautiful home rich with veggies of all kinds that the Bangalore weather still not getting to me with its rains and dampness nor are the roads hitting the wrong keys.

My refrigerator is still glossing in pride over its latest abundance of mango delights – pickles of all kinds, salted mango and mango mix for a quick curry, the jack fruit jam, the banana jam that it has an air of conceit around it.

I pick up a few ripe and boiled mango preserved cleverly by my amma from the stuffed refrigerator and heat it in a pan of water. To this I add some turmeric, chilli powder and salt and a piece of jaggery and let it boil to its hearts content.

In the meanwhile I pick up a coconut waiting for self realization and slice up its kernel and toss it into mixer jar. To give it some company I add some good amount of curd, two green chillies and some jeera or cumin seeds.

To the happy boiling mango on the gas stove I pour this mixture which is a now a fine paste, and add a pinch of turmeric and check the taste.

Into another pan, I pour a teaspoon of coconut oil and once it is heated I add some mustard seeds, 2 whole chillies, some curry leaves and now pour the seasoning on to the boiled mango curry now rich with coconut paste and the result is heavenly to say the least.

I thank my mother for her wisdom and effort and my daughter for her appreciation of a good home cooked meal and we crunch our pappadoms, add some fine mango pickle and bite into salted chillies fried freshly and smile.

Isn’t it a good life after all?

Friends and dreams- of Pursuing alternative therapy in kerala – Sophy Syed, Thrissur-Practitioner in Acupuncture

So, I catch up with a friend on a whim, and lo, the girl who rarely has time being busy taking care of everyone else, picks the call and we talk for straight two hours. For the two hours , the smile that stayed on my face made me at once sad and happy, sad for how we have missed talking for long and happy for how we enjoyed this catching up.

My sweet friend was always enterprising and energetic. Her cheerful giggles and laughter was her hallmark then, when we were in college and now two decades later, I am happy to hear the same chirpiness in her voice.

Being self driven, effusive and full of life, she always longed to do more. She tried her hand at running a boutique which was quite popular given her sense of fashion, outgoing nature and enterprise. Yet, the past few years, she has been a student of alternative medicines.

Her shift to alternative medicines started with her mom’s untimely death, being the youngest to two brothers, she was her mom’s pet and this incident shook her badly.

What started as a cursory superficial interest in acupuncture, yoga, Dorn therapy and so on got her in touch with some of the brightest and best minds in the field.

She also became quite popular in her area, where people the locals turned to her for solace and some advice.

When some of her friends, her family turned to her for suggestions on’ ‘how do we do this’, ‘what is happening to me’, my diligent sweet friend tended to them with care.

‘Perhaps this was my call’, she said smilingly, ‘I never wanted to learn anything about English, really!’, she chuckled.

When her loving husband built her the clinic she so wanted in front of her home and also joined the same course out of his love for her, she says, ‘life has indeed come to a full circle.’

Recently, she did fall sick and badly too, when I called her, she smiled,’yeah, I am alive, good you called me!’.

She talks earnestly of how alternative therapies are looked down as some ‘mumbo jumbo’ and how allopathy or the so called, ‘English ‘ medicine always gets an upper hand.

In fact, it is patients who give up hope on ‘allopathy’ , who go scrambling for acupuncture, Dorn therapy and more.

‘Someday you should talk to more people, maybe even teach, and come online and share your wisdom with world’, I insisted. ‘If he is ok, I will,’ she said and went quiet.

Stay cheerful, dear Sophy Syed, there’s many who will thank you for bringing joy to their lives.

I have personally experienced the benefits of a bit of care and love, and some so-called, ‘slow therapies’ in my life but Rujuta Diwekar, the now very famous dietician made a scathing remark on our blind trust of experts and equally blind distrust of traditional foods. ‘If the doctor prescribes a medicine, you will take it without question, but when your mom or grand mom tries to convince you of the benefit of turmeric milk at night, yoga or say, the ubiquitous ‘kaada’, that miraculous cure for sore throat, you resist, but why?’, she asks. Well, she is right. Our fear of being not so progressive and cultured, perhaps of being called jingoistic, stops us from appreciating the ‘mumbo jumbo’ of alternative therapies, which have been around for centuries!

A demonstration of Dorn Therapy

Ps: Grass is grass, till you learn to name it, or realize what value it has!

Kappa & Kerala

What’s for evening, amma? The girls asked the mother who sat on the verandha, leaning on to the wall,caressing her silver locks. The teeth missing,the bright red bindi shining on her forehead,she reminded the girls of  her once famed beauty. But she said, go pluck tapioca..

So they went on to the fields armed suitably, heckling, cutting and pulling the tubers out. Muddy waters ran as a basket full of kappa was scrubbed clean.

With the expertise only experience can bring, the eldest of the girls, peeled and cut them into large chunks before throwing the pieces into boiling water.

A pinch of turmeric and some rock salt later, the tapioca was cooked and drained. It was time for seasoning. Into the cheenachatti  went 2 tsp of coconut oil, mustard seeds, sliced green chilly, small onions and some curry leaves.

The aroma brought the men of the house rushing to the kitchen for tea. The boys back from school and college lined up for a plateful of yummy kappa with spicy red chilly paste.

The youngest of the 11 siblings caught hold of a large piece of tapioca,rushed to the crackling wood fire and pushed it in. His fingers burnt a little,but he was ecstatic.

A little later the tapioca looked at him invitingly, revealing a white powdery stuff that made ships sail in his mouth, literally!

What happens to a true blue keralite at the sight of Kappa is indescribable .

A rush of memories, a host of aroma of the taste of spicy chutney and finely cooked kappa leaves him terribly homesick.

And the next thing you see is that he is on board travelling to  where Kappa Kalls!