Sunday, April 26, 2009


Disclaimer: 'Chanachoranai' is not a Palagattan obscenity, though it sounds obscenely like one!!!

'Chanachoranai' is Palagattan for a kitchen mop cloth.

In the good old days, most Palagattans, like other races or clans in the subcontinent, used to eat seated on the ground in their kitchens. Most kitchen floors were just cement surfaces or at best coated with red-oxide. And families, in the absence of 'Easy-Off Bang' or 'Wipe Clean' or 'Savlon' used small quantities of cow dung (called 'chanam' in Palagattan and a common disinfectant/antiseptic) to disinfect the kitchen floor. 'Chanachoranai', therefore, was a kitchen mop cloth that wiped the 'chanam'-(cow dung)-tinged kitchen floor.

Those were days of the License Raj and 'Liberalization' was unheard of. Palagattans, like most other clans and communities, were by and large leading an existence plagued with scarcity thinking. So, men's undergarments__like banians or underwears__after they had worn out, were recycled as 'chanachoranai' in the kitchen. After a few uses, these 'truly makeshift, stopgap' mop cloths, were further worn out. And had more holes than cloth in them. But families went on using them until a generous or adventurous (depends on how you looked at it) male member of the family volunteered to part with his next wornout undergarment. Resultantly, a 'chanachoranai' in a Palagattan family was the most used, abused, recycled and stinking piece of fabric you could ever find.

These days, the 'chanachoranai' has almost become extinct. Modern day floor cleaners and disinfectants, elevated (on to dining tables) eating habits and simple, mop cloths available even in the neighborhood kirana stores for under Rs.5.00 a piece, have caused this exquisite aspect of Palagattan culture to disappear.

This blog does not champion its return. It only reminds Palagattans of its once-upon-a-time existence. The author wonders, risking his popularity with the secret (female) followers of this blog, why Palagattan women were not as giving or adventurous as their men in offering their undergarments for such a noble 'clean-up' act!!

1 comment:

  1. The only piece that I believe can contribute to becoming a "Chanachoranai" is an "in skirt" or "Ul paavadai"!