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A DAY AT JILLELLAMUDI

Kaushik
Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 1
Month : September
Issue Number : 4
Year : 1966

Today is vyasapoornima. Every year this day, brother Seshagirirao does worship to Mother before the sun rises. This morning too, before the break of day, while nagarasankeertana was on, he did pooja with three varieties of flowers. All was pleasant this quiet aashadha morning. As he worshipped, Mother gently moved her palm over his head. He had to leave the place that day on an urgent work. It was slightly drizzling, and Mother said, “It might rain child, take an umbrella with you.” “I require your umbrella Mother” said he. ‘My umbrella (meaning her husband) is in Mokkapadu. An umbrella gives you protection from sun and rain. That umbrella can be folded and hung by a nail. This umbrella of mine is not foldable, nor can be held by a ring. Though an umbrella gives protection from sun and rain, we will have to hold it to have it useful. (The reader will please note that the pun continued in Her sentences as did the meta phorical meaning.)

Dinner time not yet reached, all sat with Mother. Nowadays the number of visitors is sometimes hundreds and occasionally thousands. In the early days they were very few. The cooking shed has come into being separately after the number of visitors increased but in the early days all who came to visit Mother were dining in their house. Mother was telling how she managed the kitchen then:

In those days, Mother herself was looking after the cooking and service of food to all the visitors. Everyday at least fifteen people were dining. She looked to all the work herself. Talking with the visitors till midnight, answering all their querries, again getting up very early to serve coffee to her husband, doing the sweeping and cleaning, serving coffee and tiffin to visitors, and still getting ready meals by 10. A. M. Curries and chetneys may be there but dhal-rasam was a necessary item everyday. Those that tasted that rasam speak very highly of its taste. Inspite of alll these supplies, expenditure was normal. She tells us that it was all adjustment that counts.

Soon after getting up in the morning, she put on the charcoal hearth the dhal with four times its quantity of water and left it to boil tili 10. A. M. All other cooking was over in the mean time. With the softcooked dhal, she prepared rasam. The water having fully assimilated the dhal, that rasam was very tasteful. Her care was not only confined to the frugal use of the cooking material. It covered fuel too. Normally she did not use pieces of split firewood. She used a piece of a log and arranged cowdung cakes allround it. Though the hearth would catch fire rather slowly, it would not cool down quickly. The vessels got enough heat. That way of economical use, economised the use of firewood.

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