Monday, January 21, 2013

Goodness of Coconut For The Skin

Being a south Indian and a Tambrahm at that, coconuts were always a part of my existence. My earliest memories of this wonder ‘nut’ is the time when an aunt or grandma would sit down with a bottle of coconut oil and all of us cousins would line up to have our hair combed and neatly plaited. The ritual of applying coconut oil and plaiting the hair of 8 to 10 girls would be followed by application of coconut oil and combing the closely cropped hair of our male cousins. As a child I thought it to be old fashioned to have so much oil applied to our scalp and tried to coax my mother to have my hair trimmed and permed or curled but she would have “none of such nonsense with hair falling over the forehead” and I have to thank her for her effort and the gift of the lovely long hair that I once possessed.  

Coconut oil served to help me bond with my hostel mates when I had to join a boarding school at the age of twelve. I was a stranger in a hostel where a good number of students were Anglo Indians. Having left home I was a total misfit in the hostel. Among the toilet items that my mother had packed for me was a bottle of scented coconut oil that had frozen in the cool weather of the Nilgiris. I was trying to scoop out a little with a spoon when a voice behind me said-

“Why don’t you let it melt in the sun for a while?”

It was my good friend Irene Trencher who had given the suggestion thereby offering to make me comfortable in an alien situation. Others followed and soon at least 10 of them borrowed my scented coconut oil to apply on their hands and legs and my mother was at a loss to understand how a bottle of coconut oil could get over in a month’s time. The warden had to intervene and take the oil bottle in her custody till I felt comfortable enough to say NO to friends who took advantage of my insecurity.

When my daughter was born my mother took the trouble of extracting coconut milk from home grown coconuts and clarifying it like butter and filtering pure coconut oil to give my daughter a body massage. The smell of home made coconut oil was heavenly and my daughter’s skin acquired a natural glow on account of it. She made sure that I brought back a bottle of coconut oil thus prepared and used it exclusively for massaging the child’s body to make sure that her skin did not crack in the winter months.

Apart from external application coconuts are generously used in Tambrahm/Kerala cuisine since it has the property of curing stomach ulcers and is a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. And who can deny that coconut water is the safest soft drink from God’s own factory!!

It was fun participating in this contest by Women's web. Took me back in time. 


Ugich Konitari said...

HHG, Lovely post ! I too remember the coconut oil solidifying in winter in a bottle, and me trying to get a lump out with my fingers. And getting my hair oiled is something that hasnt happened in a LOOONG time; i surely miss it......

Best wishes for the contest!

Anonymous said...

Hi Preeta,

Those banana chips from Kerala, they have the coconut aroma to it. Look the taste and smell.

Making home made coconut oil, is a laborious job. I know a close relative who takes the trouble and never stops, speaking of the great wonders this God's gift can give.

And on a hot summer afternoon, when we visited the sea shore, a place in KONKAN, we managed to get some fresh coconut right there, the man would climb the tree clean the shell and had those ready straws for us to sip from. I always, in awe at the exercise these tree climbers do. They are so organized, in the climb

IT was fun in childhood days, The most mesmerizing and heavenly sight was when one find a thin layer of cream to eat after the cool coconut water drink. Like a bonus .. amazingly sweet.


radha said...

Oh yes, I come from Mangalore and there is no dish without coconut. Married a Tambram who like you believed in the powers of coconut oil. Each Sunday the girls had a nice head massage with the oil before their bath. I reach for the bottle only when I make Avial !

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