Friday, April 24, 2009

Of 'Chattuvams', 'Aapais' and 'Praanthus'

The 'chattuvam' is a muti-purpose utensil in a Palagattan home. It is a device with which you can turn a 'doshai' or an 'ommlette' (shiva shiva!!) or even a 'chapatti' so that they cook well. You can also use it to serve rice from a dish to your plate. The more enterpising Palagattans may also use it to scrape__and spoil__their sinks of stains. It has a flat, thin base normally, about the size of a child's palm and a long stem about half an arm's length. More innovative designers, next gen folks from Ratna Stores or Saravana Stores (leading vessel merchants), have made the docile 'chattuvam' come alive with designs ranging from the inside of a palm (with grooves) to one that resembles a flag or a kite.

An 'aapai' on the other hand is another serving utensil but has a round, cup-like base with which you serve any liquid__like 'rasam', 'sambar', the famous 'molagootal', buttermilk, curd and such.

All Palagattan homes have these two devices, if I may call them. And there is no noise about them.

The issue comes when a Palagattan marries a non-Palagattan. And any reference to 'chattuvams' and 'aapai' by the Palagattan among them leads the other to laugh, giggle, mimic and at times, pass a sarcastic remark. In non-Palagattan Tam Bram families, both forms of this utensil are called 'karandis'. So you use a 'karandi' for turning a 'dosai' (notice the missing 'h') and you use a 'karandi' (with the cup-like base) for serving 'sambar'.

Most self-respecting, in fact all, Palagattans don't quite relish such rib-tickling. In fact, they go red, they see red and they tell their soulmate-turned-momentary-foe what's on their mind. And invariably, they conclude that their spouse is a 'praanthu'. 'Praanthu' is Palagattan for mad or loony. In Chennai Tamizh, they say 'cracku' or 'loosu' (sic!). In Tamizh they call such people 'payithiyam'. But 'Praanthu' is chaste Palagattan.

''Ooooh! Onga aathule karandi na, athayye vechuchukonggo na. Praanthu akkum ellarum. 'Chattuvam' verai, 'Aapai' verai. Eppidi rendum 'Karandi' agum? Praanthu..." is an invariable response from a livid Palagattan at such times or moments.

Be sure, the debate will continue. But I guess there needs to be a new post for 'aam', 'aathule' and the Palagattan 'Oooooh!'.

Coming soon. Don't go away!!!!

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