Saturday, May 16, 2009

'Chule', 'Kekkala Thuni' and 'Charavai'

Palagattans have interesting words to describe daily use tools (and vessels and places) in their homes. We will discuss three of the tools today.

'Chule': Broom in Tamizh is called a 'thodapam'. But Palagattans call it a 'chule' (pronounced 'chool'). This word is so exclusively Palagattan that Tam Brams ridicule this usage and like to rib their Palagaattan friends/spouses/relatives all the time. Much like they do with the word 'chattuvam' (discussed in an earlier post).

'Kekkala Thuni': This is a piece of cloth used to lift and move hot cooking pans and utensils that contain the day's food ready-to-serve. Normally, in Palagattan homes, a once used 'thorthamundu' (towel, again discussed in an earlier post) makes its way back as the kitchen's 'kekkala thuni'. Modern day Palagattan homemakers in Chennai, Austin, Phoenix or Singapore may use a kitchen glove for the same purpose. But Palagattan homemakers of those years had to make do with recycling their 'thorthamundus' or 'thorthus'!! Kindly appreciate that the other piece of home garment (read: male undergarment) that used to find its way into Palagattan kitchens was the 'chaanachoranai'. The 'chaanachoranai', please note, is different from a 'kekkala thuni' and never should one be used for the other!!

'Charavai': Palagattan for coconut scraper. No Palagattan ever cooks a meal without using coconut liberally in one of the dishes. Therefore, coconuts are scraped every day in a Palagattan home. Today's mixers and the ubiquitous Elgi grinders have modern coconut scrapers and graters. Even so, every Palagattan home will have this lethal-looking scraper that has a wooden base on which the person scraping rested one knee or thigh and the scraped shavings were collected in a plate and added to the the recipe may require. The act of scraping is called 'charavarthu' in Palagattan while it is called 'thurvarthu' in Tamizh. Often the 'charavai' was part of the vessels/utensils that a Palagattan bride brought from her 'poranda aam' (mother's place/place of birth) to her 'pukk aam' (in-law's place).

Author's Note: Just a bit swamped with lots of other work. Hence this post seems short. Will be back in action soon. To be continued....

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of another interesting specimen...channa churunai! Or the cloth that is used to clean the ecchil after a meal...