THIS WAS THE FIRST PIECE I WROTE 3 YEARS BACK WHEN I DECIDED TO TRY MY HAND IN WRITING.Okay, it got rejected by the magazine that I sent it to.But it still remains my favorite.Since my readers have learnt to accept me as I am, I've decided to present it as my 100th post to mark the end of a year of 'happy blogging'. Thank you my dear readers for encouraging me.I'd be a big zero were it not for you guys.
Thirty years back every south Indian home had a hand grinder manually operated by the lady of the house to prepare mouth watering delicacies like dosai, Idli and vadai for the family. We were no exception. Ours actually belonged to my great grand mother in law and my husband had developed a special personal attachment to it. He often recalled the manner in which it was transported it to Jamshedpur when he was a child and how the transportation had cost his father double the actual price of the grinder. He spoke fondly of the wonderful service rendered by the grinder-the quality of its stone which did not chip off easily and the quantity of rice it would grind at one go etc. The lady members of his family including myself who had spent hundreds of man-hours grinding several kilograms of rice and dal to feed the family were conveniently forgotten. I finally decided to call it a day and decided to purchase and electrified model of a wet grinder. I felt that my problems would end. Little did I know that they had just begun?
I gave myself a pat on my back when I managed to convince my husband that I was getting on in age and if we did not purchase an electrical grinder his favorite south Indian dishes like dosai and idli would stand cancelled from our breakfast menu. He was perfectly at liberty to order for their home delivery from a local restaurant but I was not going to “hand grind” the batter. He bought the electrical version albeit half-heartedly and spoke at length on the merits of hand grinding whenever he could, right from the physical exercise it provided to the increase in electricity bills on account of the new monster. I slept through these lecture sessions or chose to develop selective hearing impediment as per my convenience. He would make a sour face and I would turn a “blind eye”. I was glad to have my way and he could rave and rant as much as he wanted. Unfortunately that was not easy. “Idli’s don’t taste good” he’d announce, ”could be the quality of rice” I’d retort. “What proportion did you follow?” He was not one to let go.” The same as before.” would be my answer and this would go on and on as if I was a novice and he my coach. After all I could not be deaf, dumb and blind at the same time! So I decided to ’give away’ the old grinder hoping that out of sight would perhaps put it out of mind! I deliberately use the term because neither was I competent enough to sell it nor would my husband hear of fixing a price for this piece of “precious” stone. He looked so upset and appalled at my suggestion that I felt like the witch in fairy tales who troubled good children.
I started looking out for a prospective customer who could offer a home to my superannuated grinder and around the same time I realized that my daughters had reached their marriageable age. I succeeded in getting them married within a year but it looked as if our precious stone would remain my companion for life. I tried convincing everyone including my present and former servants, our launderer, young brides who had budgetary constraints and needy ladies who expressed the remotest desire to become financially self dependent. I offered to pay for its transportation including the charge for “downloading” it from our third floor apartment. I transferred it to the best balcony in the house so that passers by would be tempted to own it. Finally I did manage to find a person to take it after confirming that I would not charge him for it. The more difficult task of convincing my husband that his ancestral property was going into good hands took me a month. The hour long interview that he took of the future owner of the grinder, making sure that he realized its worth, filled me with pangs of guilt and remorse for the next two months. I still expect it to be returned with thanks any day so do not be surprised if I try convincing you of the merits of this archaic piece. I know it by heart from what I’ve heard. Remember I only feigned selective deafness!