This story dates back the time when the world was devoid of Orkut, GPRS, Bluetooth, iPhone, IPtv , On-line Recipe for tasty foods and more. The place was desperately expecting serious improvements in their government. The roads were unkept. The housewives still got up early in the morning to start their daily chores at home. The overhead electricity lines were not properly laid on the roads. The dangling wires always posed some sort of inconvenience to the travelers or the passer by. The roads were heavily damaged with lots of potholes and filthy water used to get stagnate and forms the breeding place for various female anopheles mosquitoes and other insects which causes health hazards to people living in the place.
The sky was slowly emitting its aura whose wavelength is almost nearing to that of the last few bands of the VIBGYOR spectrum. In that undeveloped village , there lived a husband and wife who were happily married for years together. They were staying at a place which is convenient for him to go to his work. His parents stay on the other end of the village.
One fine morning, after completing his morning ablutions in the river nearby, the husband approached his wife who was sitting in the backyard cow shed, making round round shapes in the wall with the well mixed cow dung (adaanga Maattu Saani)…
“Darling. its been long time since we dined with my mom. Shall we go and stay there for an evening and come back ?”, He asked
“Huh?….no dear I’ll not be able to come, I have lots of works pending here. I have to clean the house, wash the buffalo and show some water (Thanni kaamikkanum maam !!!) . Then lots of weeds are crowding our cultivation plants, so have to clear them by this evening. Then have to go to the temple and I have to offer lord Ganesha the 108 Coconuts which I promised to offer last week, if our cow yields a black calf (!). You just go and meet her and convey my regards”
“Oh OK OK…you take care of the works here. I’ll go and stay there for a day and come back.”
The husband left for the day. The place he is about to go, was neither commutable through a bus nor through a cycle, as in those days ,there was no transport as such, was available to travel from one place to another. so he had to go by walk all the way, throughout the journey. He carried a bag full of rice paddy which he can offer to his mother staying far away from this village. He started the journey towards his house. The journey is not that simple, he had to cross a small water flow where the water simply flows all days of the week. It is just a man’s-long-jump wide. Anyways, he had to cross it to reach the other end of the village where his mom stays.
So after a 1.5 hours of continuous walk through a light dense forest, he reached the water where he had to cross it. It was already one and a half hour walk. He had to cover another half an hour to reach home. It has been really long time, he has spent time with his mom. After marriage, he had to stay with his wife in a small hut, which he got it from his father-in-law. His wife too insisted in staying at this place as they had lots of amenities like vegetables, cow food, hay, then other things which are required for her day to day activities available right by the side of the hut. There was a small shop which sells, newspaper and there was a tea shop which will be opened early in the morning around 6.00 am and will get closed around 11.00 in the night. This helps the people in an around the place to quench their small hunger as they get lots to eat like butter biscuit, alwas, jangris, cakes, panneer soda, vadai, murukku, laddu, and ofcourse hot tea and coffee. This shop will be crowded all times as the local people who work in the fields, come and relax here as they have their small hunger quickly quenched with things available around here.
By the time, he reached his mom’s place, it was 12.00 noon. His calf muscles ached due to the long journey. He quickly took another bath and sat for the lunch his mom had prepared. After having a sumptuous meal, his mom offered something which he never had it before. He asked his mom about this dish
“This is called Kolukkattai, dear” She said
After having a dozen of it and chatting with his mom for some time he went to sleep. BY the time when he got up, it was 4.00 in the evening.
“Maaa….it already 4.00 here, I.m starting now back home, before that tell me the name of the dish that you prepared, so that I’ll ask my wife to make it for me again when I reach home”
“Oh you dumb fellow, keep forgetting things I told you. You have never changed all these days even after marriage. Listen carefully, it is called Kolukkattai. Once you reach home tell ur wife about this and ask her to prepare this for you. Dont forget”
“OK maa..am leaving. take care..”
He left the place and started walking in the dusty roads outside. He could see lots of children playing in the roads with the dirty and torn clothes. He hurriedly walked so that he can reach his home before dusk. In order not to forget the dish name, he kept saying all the way.
So the time came when he had to cross tht water again. He was very careful in his steps not to slip and he was too careful not to forget the name of the dish. He kept saying “Kolukkattai” and was crossing the river, just then another fellow from the other side of the water made a giant leap to this side of the water saying loudly the words….
It was just a fraction of second for the electric pulse which had to stimulate the cerebral cortex had failed. He totally forgot what he was about remember and in an anticipation to jump carefully, his brain had failed to remember that word which he cannot afford to forget. After crossing the water, he continued his journey towards his home. Suddenly he was into introspection on what he was remembering. His thought came back…
“Yes I was uttering Atharibacha. I’ll ask my wife to make Atharibacha for me. I shouldn’t forget this. Atharibacha…Atharibacha…Atharibacha…”
So he reached home in the evening and as soon as he entered his hut, his wife beckoned him in and enquired about his visit to his mom’s place.
He said that was really good and told her that his mom made something which was really tasty.
“Oh is that so tasty? Then tell me the name of the dish. I’ll too make it for you tomorrow”
“Oh yea I wanted to tell you about this. The name is Atharibacha. I want tomorrow for my lunch.” He said
“Wat? Atharibacha?? Are you crazy? I’ve not heard this before. Are you sure?” she was puzzled.
“Yea am sure. It is Atharibacha, you have to make this for me” He ordered.
“No I do not know how to make this dish” She replied back.
“Wat…you do not know to make this simple dish??” He was red in rage. He shouted at her and his anger was at its peak. He couldn’t control it as his wife repeatedly denied about making the dish. And in those days, husbands don’t treat wives properly and they expect them to obey all his words without any second thoughts. If they have something to tell and open their mouth against them, it is considered to be a sin and they go to the extent of beating them harshly. The same happened to the wife in our story. He was so harsh and out of rage, he beat his wife cruelly asking her to make the dish otherwise, he’ll make her get out of the house. He beat his wife so cruelly that she got red swellings in her back.
She was crying badly out of agony that he had caused to her. She was crying…
She came out of the house and sat in the mat outside under the shade and was sobbing. He too came out and shouted at her.
“How disobedient? you cannot make the dish I asked for?? Go and get lost. Go back to your dad and ask him to teach you ho to behave properly with husbands. I assume he knows all about that. OR he is too dumb like you?”
In the mean time, hearing all the hooting and sobbing, the paatti (Old Lady) next door came out. As how nowadays, we used to have a “Girl-Next-door” ;-), they had a Paatti-Next-Door , who knows everything from how to bath a baby, handling pregnancy, making delicious dishes and knows all the remedies to minute ailments like stomach ache, vomiting etc. They used to be experts in things around them Jack of All Trades & Master of None !! That paatti came out of the hut and saw the bad condition of the girl and enquired about why this guy is so angry on her.
The wife told, “See paatti he asked me to make something called Atharibacha, which I’ve not heard in my life time. I told him the same for that he beat me hard and my back is paining like hell. its burning too.” (Sob)(Sob)
Paatti was puzzled like the girl. She asked the guy about the credibility of the information that was passed to his wife. He told that he is damn sure and the information said was correct. It is Atharibacha only. He wanted her to learn how to make it. Paatti couldn’t make any sense out of the word uttered by him.
She told the wailing poor wife to show her back so that she can apply some oil which can subside the burning sensation and may cure any swelling. She loosened her blouse and pulled the cloth covering her back and showed it to the Paatti. On seeing the swelling, the paaati told was flummoxed and told this guy..
“Why did you beat her like a beast?. See how it has swelled like a Kolukkattai…” (Paatti’s expression could be like, ada paavi….paaru yepdi Kolukkattai aattam veengi irukku nu ipdi yaa avala poattu adippa??)
On hearing these words, the husband could recollect the name of the dish as Kolukkattai and not Atharibacha. He apologized to his wife and paatti and told them.
“yea yea..it is Kolukkattai, I forgot the name. I wanted this only”
After that, all of them went back home and his wife made him lots of Kolukkattais for him and after that they lived happily forever.
— T H E E N D —
With this the story comes to an End !!
I hope you too liked the story. I’ve narrated the story here in my own tone and it is no ways connected to how my father/ grandma told me. but the storyline is same. 🙂
I’ll get back to you with another story which I heard from my father.
P.S:- Kolukkattai means Sweet Milk- Rice flour Ball Dessert ) I’ve attached a pic of the same. This is how it will look like 🙂