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Friday 11 August 2017

Kaapi ready

The men are stretched out in a post lunch stupor on the bare red cemented vasa thinnai (outer verandah/front porch) with some of them spreading their angavastram (upper garment) on it. They fan themselves with the palm leaf visiri (hand fan) and sink into the blissful afternoon siesta, snores resonating from either side of the street. The houses sitting next to each other sharing common walls run in two rows on either side on the central teru (street) of the agraharam.

Image credit: Hari Haran

The middle-aged men working in government jobs at the municipal, postal or tehsil offices, or in the local school are home for the lunch-break. Of the older men, some are still landlords holding on to tiny scraps of land despite the fluctuating and uncertain returns from farming. Yet others are content to live on stipends sent by children who are settled elsewhere in the country or abroad for brighter careers and modern living.
The women too have retired indoors after a hectic morning of chores cooking, cleaning, running to and fro inside the house that runs lengthwise. They are relieved to lie down on their pai (straw mats) in the cool ull thinnai (inner room or corridor leading onto the main living room or hall) with a pedestal fan for comfort. 
There are not too many young children around unless the children come home for vacations, grandchildren in tow.
Soon the men are stirring, with the afternoon round of vendors from the poove, malli poove (jasmine buds), the ice candy man (a hot favorite), the fruit vendor, the toy vendor and more screaming out their wares loaded on bicycles carted on the main teru.
The women pry themselves off the pais to start off on phase 2 of the chamayal (cooking) saga. It is 2.00 p.m, time for kaapi (coffee). Kids are sent out to tom-tom the message, "Kaapi-ready" to the men in the vasa thinnai. By 2.30 p.m, the kaapi frothing in dabara-tumblers makes its way into the hall where the family assembles for kaapi alongwith homemade bakshanams (sweets and savories) and a round of arratai (chit-chat). Pati (grandmother) exclaiming how the bakshanams have magically dwindled in quantity, looking quietly pleased at the same time that her grandchildren are enjoying them so much. 

I remember many fond vacations spent in this rural setting in my native village in Tamilnadu, loving this quiet afternoon hour.
Time we kids spent quietly reading comics, playing cards, ludo, snakes and ladders in the macchil (attic) or sneaking into the chamayal ull for pati's treats stored in large aluminium sambadams (storage containers). 
The milky kaapi that we children drank watching the adults savor their strong brews prepared with the aromatic, thick first decoction. 
If I could turn back time, this is where I would like to go back and savor my own strong kaapi amidst gossip and happy banter with my loved ones.

kaapi ready relaxnrave

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The Mami Saga:

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6, a week long blog marathon based on prompts, hosted by The Write Tribe. 
Today is Day #7 of the marathon and the prompt for the day is: If we were having coffee...

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