Saturday, February 02, 2008
samosas with Shanmugam
I caught the Trichy express from Cochin that saturday night at 9pm as I had been regularly doing every fortnight to travel to Vellore CMC as my wife was there with my child for her training .( this was some 14 years back )
I would get down in the wee hours at 3 am in Erode and wait there till 7 am to catch the West coast express to get down Katpadi and then on to vellore .
All this so I could finish my clinic on saturday evening which I would miss if I travelled by cochin Express which left at 4.30pm .
I would spend my time in Erode chatting to the cofee shop vendors in Erode platform and I became a familiar figure to them .
That day also I caught the west coast Express from Erode and got into an empty sleeper coach and got a berth ,slept for some time and woke up at Salem ,there was some commotion in the platform and I saw a rotund dhoti clad figure getting into my compartment ,he seemed to be an important man as a retinue of servants followed him with some big bags full of vessels .
He ordered some of them to get back and told his driver
" Thambi vandiyya nera viddu ,madrasla pakkalam enna "
strange I thought .".(.which meant go straight to madras I will meet you there ),
then why cant he too go in that ,shortly I had the answer for this question as he plonked right opposite me even though the whole compartment was empty .
His man friday came along and arranged the luggage and sat on a corner .
I stepped out before the train left and bought some samosas as nothing else was availabe and I was feeling hungry ,and came back and sat in time for the train to chug out of the platform .
Dhoti looked at me and the packet in my hand ," enna thambi sappadu ivilo thana ? "( is this ur lunch ?)
"well what to do nothing else here "I answered
he laughed heartily
" ayyo enna pa nee ,nariya irukku namma sapidalam va ,"
(I have lots lets eat )
and looking at his side kick he bellowed
"dey elaya poduda !!!"
that meant put the leaf for serving food ,
I was riled "oh no please have your food ,iam happy with this ,"
"ha ha thambi naan yaru theriyuma ?
( do u know who i am ? )
such questions are difficult to answer if one didnt now the answer !
i just smiled
"naan than shanmugam ( name changed of course )
" kali paal theriyuma kaali paal ? "
( name changed again ,yes I knew it was a famous brand of milk whcih was competing with the state owned one called AAvin ,I knew it came from Salem too ,o this was the owner .ok .)
" hmm theriyum "I murmured .
"ama adhe shanmugam salem shanmugam ,"that sounded like Rajinikanth
"thambi en wife nallla cook ,
neriya samaipaa ,
neriya irukku nammaku sappadlam vaa
antha samosa thuki eri "
( my wife cooks well throw away those samosa and eat with me )
"summa iru nee "
( keep quite )
he also told me he was suffering from a spinal problem and he couldnt travel in a car for a long distance and so he would go in a train while his car drove to madras !
my luck !
"Salem vandha vitukku vaa ,periya panna ,elaam newzealand maddu nanne vanginathu ."
( when in salem come to my house I have all new zealand cows bought by myself from there )
"Salem erangina udene kali shanmugam apiidinu sholu ,onne thukittu varuvanga " ( tell my name and they will carry you home )
God save me !
"dey ennada paathukeite nikkira thambikku pasikkudu da '
( hey you idiot what are u waiting for serve the food ,this to his servant )
And so the servant cleaned the seat in front of me kept a neat paper and spread a green plantain leaf
He put portions of so many items like in a marriage feast in both our leafs ,and for the grand finale took the big vessel which I presumed was for the rice .
I was right there but I was wrong too as no rice came and the servant blinked hard ,
" iyya ,iyya ,manichunga iyya ,amma shoru vekka maranthutanga polirukku "
( sorry sir i think mistress forgot to keep rice )
disaster indeed !!!!
Shanmugam went into an apoplexy of rage ,
"ennmanatha vangitye daa thambi enna ninakkum "
( my honour is lost what will this boy think of me now ? )
that was vintage Sivaji here
"paravallanga " ( it is ok i said )
"phone podren paa adutha stationle "
( i will phone next station )
this was the pre mobile era ,
"dont worry "I said ,
"I have an idea let us crush the samosas and eat it with all these side dishes ",
"appidiya ok "said shanmugam by now having lost his demanour .
and so we had a delicious samosa mixed lunch and strangely shanmugam relished it
"nallathanmpa irukku ! '
( it is good indeed )
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