|Torai Peerkangai Ridgegourd|
Health benefits of Koshataki
English School Teacher
My 11th and 12th standard english school teacher was LG, an Anglo Indian, a bachelor. One of his favourite movies was Kadhalikka neramillai. I loved his classes. He was the one who taught me how to pronounce V and W properly. I had changed schools after 10th and sir had taught his old students grammar just after 10th standard. However, for just two of us (new joinees) he stayed a bit longer after the classes got over and taught us english grammar. He was full of wise quotes.
One of the things, that i remember, he described, was answering the question - How is life? And different interpretations of the "so-so" response of say a tailor (sew-sew), a farmer (sow-sow) etc.
He used to say, how earlier, for a wedding, all that you had was a simple brinjal sambar and how ambrosiac it was, how the sambar's mouth-watering smell, would linger around the whole street. Now we have so many varieties, but gone is the taste, definitely gone is the health with pesticides, gone is the satisfied mind, gone with the wind. Incidentally, whenever, i find myself mentalizing too much, Scarlett O Hara's I will think about it tomorrow is what keeps me going. If not Hara, our 2nd chapter of BG. Thinking about variety, made me recollect the economic times spiritual columnist article on cooking blogs - where the author talks about Japanese tea ceremony - simple ritual which goes on for hours - partaking food as offering to God.
Once after a Kerala school trip, (when i still didn't know to read tamil alphabet written on buses), LG sir, sacrificed his sleep to help me board the bus at market.
Early Morning Gandhi Market
So at market I was, this morning. Anyway, once Mayiladuthurai Express reaches Trichy junction anywhere from 3:30-4:30 am in the morning, i would have to wait for at least 30 minutes for the first bus. So, i decided to go to Gandhi market to buy vegetables for home, along with local vegetable vendors.
Market pricing based on supply and demand is so amazing. Just two weeks before, around 4 am; i could buy a mega bunch of spear mint and corriander for Rs.10 each, this time, a even larger bunch was half the last price, at Rs. 5 each. Two weeks ago, all vegetables cost Rs.10 each. Only carrot cost me 20 Rs a kg. This week, carrots were priced the same rate, but all other common vegetables - broad country beans (avarakai), ridge gourd, bitter gourd, beet, everything was 15-25. So last time, i had a half of gunny sack of 6 kgs of vegetables + additional 2 green bunches for Rs.90, this time, it cost around 200, for 9 kg of vegetables + 2 green bunches.
Market Pricing Dynamics
Even funnier is the fact that this simple market pricing, like our 2G notional loss of 1.86 lakh crore, got a black mark on a government servant's ACR. The allegation against him was that, over many years, he pocketed lakhs by inflating vegetable prices meant for the mess, since he accounted for it uniformly, instead of considering daily market rates.
Thinking about allegations, I always used to wonder, mangal shani or rahu-shani combination (rule breaker-rule enforcer) like now in Thula. Christopher Reeves and Judy Garland with Mangal Shani dristi (movement vs. resistance). I asked an April 13, whose second born son had Mangal and Shani in his 12th house of thula, as to what he thought, if a person could make and break rules. The father said, such a person would be god. God or whatever, intriguing combination indeed.
Even more funny is the concept of 12th house. I read that it is likely that a person with venus in the 12th house was a female in the past life. I was thinking about gender, like idea's ad - couple accidentally swapping phone, what if the wife was born as the husband and vice versa. Does it take so much to understand each other? Especially, since in both my case and my sister's case, the 12th from guru (1st husband) is venus. My BIL has 12th venus in cancer, so every time, i would almost call him mother, for he cares for, cooks excellently for the whole joint family and feeds everyone around him effortlessly, that too from his childhood. There is nothing feminine physically about him. So my sis is married to a cancerian lady and i would be marrying a virgo lady who have become guys in this life. In my case, husband's 2nd house is my 12th house. I can't enjoy his wealth or his wealth is hoarded through my losses.
Vegetables and Ex - Neighbours
Back to ridge gourd. One of the harmless vegetables, sources say. Thugayal was too good, crunchy, a tad sweet, simply delicious. I had prepared a banana leaf feast of avarakkai sambar, my favourite kothavaranga paruppu usili, toasted bikaneri papad, fresh carrot juliennes, pudhina chutney, peerkangai thugayal, inji maanga thokku, yellow moong dal kheer laced with ghee with lots of ellaichi cashew and raisins. Since it was saturday, i had originally planned pavakkai pitlai. After my ex-neighbour barged in, i decided to make avarakkai sambar.
Yesterday night, i was watching Special 26. Nothing like having opposite door neighbour for a lover. There was this case of Aslesha girl who married her opposite door neighbour, another bongo mesha girl who married her March 9th neighbour. It was the same with my second cousin as well. In all cases, they were childhood pals, in all cases, first born was a son. In my case, am surrounded with immature kids who brandish their arms with self-inflicted knife scars. Home is a perennial conflict zone, from where i clamor to escape. I can't even open my windows and ask my mom to lock the front door to get some time to study peacefully. I can't even fart peacefully at home, for neither the locks nor the fence is any barrier to prying eyes of my younger brother's junior set neighbour, (his elder sister is my close friend). He finds no shame in jumping over fences, or entering through back door, taking my snaps in my nighty. Had a mini fight snatching the camera phone. Had prepared extra food for him also, but after mom served payasam, carrot juliennes, kothavaranga paruppu usili on the banana leaf, he refused to eat stating, if mom had prepared food he would have had food, but he would not eat my preparation. Am extremely wary of accepting free gifts or anything for free from guys. So our initial agreement was that, if he ate lunch at home, i would accept his free ride till railway station on sunday evening. I added extra rice, only after he stated, he didn't want to miss my cooking. After mom left for work, he again sneaked in through back door, eating just the kheer stating, now that he had kheer, i should come in his cab to station. Whatever, this once-in-a-blue-moon-weekend-drama too would pass. Need to do a pranic cut-cut to all ties with these juvenile delinquents.
Yellow Pumpkin Mystery
Thinking about ridge gourd - harmless vegetable. I was surprised to learn that that yellow pumpkin ought to be avoided during menstruation. All that i remembered that anything yellow and orange was rich in vitamin A, good for skin, eyes. So i used to gorge in carrots, papayas, mangoes, pumpkins whenever i got a chance. While papapya clearly eases cramps during menstruation, am yet to understand, why yellow pumpkin ought to be avoided those days.