Thursday, December 25, 2008

Why Bongs don't make Dosais and other such stories

"You eat a lot of rice"

"So do you"

"I am a Southie"

"I am not a Northie"

"Dude, my people are from the Cauvery delta. What will we eat if not rice?"

"Mine are from the Ganges - Brahmaputra delta. What will we eat if not rice?"

"Oh that way"


"Why don't you have dosai then?"

"I have dosais all the time"

"You just don't know how to make them"

"Who grinds the flour in this house?"

"That is only part of it. You don't know how to spread it as thin as paper and make steamed dosais all without even a dash of oil"

"Because I did not grow up seeing my mum make it every single day of my life"

"Exactly. So why don't you people have dosais? You are rice-eaters no?"


"All we rice-eaters down South have some version of dosai. Why don't you have any?"

"I know why"


"When you think about it, it is not difficult to see"

"I am listening"

"Well, how do you make dosai?"

"You take rice and dal and you grind them and..."

"How do you grind them?"


"Tell me how you grind them"

"In mixie. Or wet grinder"

"Which your people in the Cauvery delta had 1000 years ago or whatever"

"An non-electric grinder otherwise known as a grind stone was used. It is still used in certain parts"

"No kidding"

"True only. Special days in my mum's house in the village, they still grind using that. We have one in our house in Kerala too - haven't you seen it?"


"Behind the kitchen - what amma calls work area. We never use it but it is there in case there is no electricity for a while, we can use it types"

"Oh ok. But you can't grind dosa batter on a Bong grind stone"

"What is a Bong grind stone?"

"The normal grind stone"

"Oh yeah, that's the ammi"

"The what?"

"Ammi kallu. Didn't they make you do something with it during the wedding?"

"What nonsense?"

"Maybe my mother was too lazy to bring it. They do something with it during weddings. Forgot what"

"You Tams are crazy. What will a grind stone do at the wedding?"

"Imagine the possibilities"

"No, thanks"

"Anyway, the deal is that is what we use to grind chutney and stuff"

"Same with us. We mostly use it for grinding mustard"

"But the dosa mavu is made with a different grind stone - the aattu kallu"

"What the heck is that?"

"It is like a huge stone mortar. The pestle is huge like the grind stone ka thing"

"Yeah, figured as much. So see now why we Bongs don't make dosais"

"No, I don't see it"

"We have floods all the time"

"We do too"

"Nonsense. We have real floods"

"Okay. So?"

"How the hell are we going to carry this huge mortar from one place to another when there are floods?"

"You are telling me no river delta civilization used a large grind stone?"

"No, just the ones who are very prone to flooding"

"Nonsense. Its another excuse for laziness"


"Do you know how much work is involved in making batter with this mortar? It is not meant for lazy people. That could be the only explanation"

"I see. If you already knew the answer, why bother with the question?"


Maddy said...

hey - you mentioned 'ammi kallu' should it not be 'aatu kallu' for dosa batter grinding? but it was nice anyway reading the banter

Veena said...

Maddy: I mention aatu kallu too, no?

Lash said...

wow, quite a post :D