Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Grinding Life ....

One of my friends Saee Koranne-Khandekar,  from  a FB group called Rediscovering Traditional Maharashtrian Cuisine  recently posted  this beautiful capture which  was part of an article she wrote on "Pantry Essentials to get you started in a Maharashtrian kitchen".  

Go read that article to know the kitchens of our grandmothers, some aspect of which everyone strives to maintain even today.  

Some compared this composition to a "still life ' one did in an Art Class. Some went completely nostalgic.

I just wondered if  people were really using these items today in a world populated with food processors, mixers, air fryers, ovens  and the like.  I wondered if people actually used the chutney stone today, and actually knew how to grind.

I still use some of these items.

And I also wondered what the PaaTaa , or the chutney stone at the centre of the composition below, and its consort, the WarwanTaa , might be thinking about...

First posted it in Marathi. Then did an English version for my non Marathi friends.

निश्चल , स्थितप्रद्न्य ,वर्षानुवर्ष
अनेक पिढ्यांचे प्रयोग बघत
एका भिरभिरत्या पायाच्या

ओट्यावर भक्कमपणे विराजमान,
असे पाटे खोत,
अनेक वर्ष धैर्याने टाकी लावण्याच्या
आठवणीत अगदी रमून जातात.

कधीतरी भिजलेल्या डाळीने केलेली तक्रार ,
त्याला मिरचीने दिलेला तिखट दुजोरा
सहन केलेले, मारलेले ,
खिळ्याचे नेमके रेषांचे ठोके ,
हळुवार कधीतरी नंतर
हात फिरवून पाण्याने स्वछ् स्नान ,
आणि मग नवीन जोमाने
कधी चिंचा काटाळून मीठ लाउन गोळे करून,
शेजारच्या खाउन पियुन धष्ठ पुष्ठ
बरणीबाईकडे वस्तीला धाडणे.

कधी अस्ताव्यस्त पण शिस्तीच्या सुपाने
उडवत उडवत सोललेले भाजलेले दाणे ,
आणि ते भरड्ताना पाट्याला चिकटलेला खमंग वास ,
कधीतरी वरवंटाईने स्वतः उभे राहून चेच्लेले
लसूण आणि खोबर्याचे तुकडे ,
आणि मोठ्या उत्सवी वातावर्णात ,
शेलाट्या बांध्याच्या
हिरव्या आणि लाल मिर्च्यांने
कोथिम्बिरी व कैरीसह केलेले विक्रमी पदार्पण.

भाजलेल्या कांदाखोब्र्याला एकरूप व्हायला
केलेली मोलाचे मदत,
आणि कुणा एका नव्या नवलाईच्या तरुण बरणीत
लोणच्यासाठी वाटून गोंजारून
चढ्वून गोळा केलेली
झिंगलेली मोह्रीची डाळ.

दूरवर एका झकपक मेजावर
एक मशीन डौलदार पणे भाव खात उभे;
आणि एकिकडे
पाटे खोत वरवंटाईकडे बघतात,
सुस्कारा टाकत म्हणतात ,
" पातं असलं आणि विजेवर फिरलं ,
म्हणजे काही हुशारी नाही.;
आम्हाला कसं , आईचा हात लागतो,
पदार्थ समजतो ,
आणि आम्ही त्यात आमचा जीव ओततो.

ह्या आजकालच्या मिक्सर लोकांना 
कधी कळायचं ?
Supremely unshakable,
unaffected ,
by the passage of time,
watching generations go by
year after year,
PaTaa Khot sits,
firmly ensconced in the kitchen,
in the company of a Warwantaabai,
much given to rolling around,
and smiles at the memories
of having cutting makeovers done
to himself every now and then.

An occasional stare
of discomfort and disapproval
from a soaked daal,
and a bunch of chillies
splitting all over in support,
he remembers being marked
sharply with a  nail
and hammered all over ,
to restore his original stone glory;
all followed
by a gentle all encompassing bath
and a rubbing dry.

Much appreciated
by deseeded tamarind ladies,
being treated by the WarwanTabai
and a wrapping together 

with  a bit of salt,
before rushing for a year long gossip
in buxom china pots.

Then some flighty peanuts,
and their Soop Dance
as they shed covers
and roasted inhibitions,
before collecting
in a tasty sticky roasted crush
on the PaaTaa stone.

And then its the Warwantaabai,
personally standing up,
and  decimating
the coconut and garlic guys
to pieces,
much to the delight
of the siren mirchis,
corianders and kairi girls,
there for a chutney morning.

Of course,
burnt onions and roasted coconuts,
often arrive at their Waterloo,
sometimes followed
by a misleadingly languid
mustard mash,
meant to bring a zing
to a mango pickle
avidly waiting in a fancy pot.

Away to one side,
there sits  a posh contraption,
radiating page 3 attitude
and looking down its nose
at the Pata Khot and WarwanTaabai .

PaaTaa sighs, turns to WarwanTaabai,
and says,
" Some folks think
you are perfect if you have blades
that spin on electricity
so boringly same for all foods...
When will they learn
that we thrive
and hanker after
the touch of a Mother,
the feel of the food,
and the pouring of soul
into creating the dish,
as we grind  through our day ?...

1 comment:

  1. A fitting tribute to such a beautiful picture :-) Thank you for the translation.