MIXED VEGETABLES DISH

This is easy to prepare and tasty too.

Cut into small pieces any vegetable like brinjal, banana, bitter gourd (karela), beans etc. and cook in a small quantity of water in the cooker, with oil, a little turmeric powder, salt to taste and chilli powder if you like.

It is ready to serve hot. Do not overcook.

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MUTHUKURSSIMANA, MY WIFE HOUSE

Once upon a time, Muthukurssi mana was a very wealthy family, owning the whole land between the Bharathapuzha river and the railway yard. The home was at the site of the presnt loco shed.

 There was an elephant, a symbal of affluence then. And now also the new rich are crazy about the elephants

 When the South Indian Railwy, a private company owned by British people, bought it, the building was dismantled and reconstructed at the present site. The hill, earlier known as Muthukurssi hill, became railway property and they built quarters there. Now it is Ganeshgiri.
The bungalow at the top was prominent in the film Julie, which was shot there.
My wife’s grandfather’s younger brother was adopted by Mundanat  Mana family and he managed to transfer the wealth to his new home;  something like that happened.

 My father-inn-law had seen the worst days, doing pooja in different temples, including the famous Ambalapuzha Krishna temple.
His one sister, who was married very late, shared the brunt of poverty. She is still alive and very cheerful, now living with her son Kollumuttathu Narayanan, at Manisseri.
My wife was put in a convent school at Shoranur. She will return home, crossing the rail line, take bath in the pond and then only have something to eat. On Mondays, she will go to Mahadevamangalam, on the bank of the river, for prayer to get a good husband and return home, almost running, before taking food.
She had seen family bickerings, almost all the time between uncles and her father; so fed up was she, that it was her wish to be a nun !

Her step sister, by father’s second wife, only fifteen years her senior, was married off to Puliyannur mana, tantry at Shreekrishna temple at Tripunithura (Poornathrayeesan). Then her father began trying for a namboodiri for her also.

Santa, my cousin, was already there, having married Sankaranarayanan. She suggested my name.

She was hardly eighteen, too innocent to think of marriege, when a cruel fate and a society that allows no freedom to a girl child, threw her into my hands.

Her father was a workaholic. He spends his time plucking flowers for pooja, collecting areca nuts and coconuts in the big orchard or  cutting grass that grow too fast. One day he fell into a well and had to shout for help, as no one was around.

As soon as the rainy season arrives, he will go out with a spade in hand,digging here and there, and sowing or planting vegetables like colocasia, brinjal, ladies’ finger and, of course, tapyoka. Santa says, in those days they never bought anything from the market, a mile away at Shoranur. My wife inherited this quality from him. Even today, her dream is to have some land and grow vegetables.

Her father got infection from the slush. Worms began  coming out of the foot. He was admitted in Valluvanad Hospital, where they, thoughtlessly, injected large dozes of antibiotics. He was nearing ninety and I think medicines killed him. His system was quite sound and healthy. No one will die of foot sore.

When they were rich, father-in law married from Tekkedath Patteri mana, a wealthy family, whose ancestors belonged to Vadakkancherry area in Cochin State.
It is said that they helped the Raja of Travancore, in conqering the Kingdom of Alapuzha; in return, they were given property in Kodamalur.
Mother-in-law named Parvathy had gold ornaments. Among us namboodiries, women folk did not wear gold ornaments. They wore bronze necklaces and bangles.
This created tensions between our branch and the rest of the Muthurssi clan.
 Mother-in- law remained for long periods in her home and shorter periods at Guruvayoor, where Radha, my wife accopanied her, before her marriage.

 My first visit to that famous shrine was immediately after marriage.
It was very quiet then and we made several rounds (pradakshinam), every time standing before the deity and praying. I don’t remember what were my prayers. My world was my wife. She being so near, what else do I need?

Our annual pilgrimage to Guruvayoor continued till I retired. Radha’s sister Parvathy and step sister Nalini who were  in their teenns at the time of my marriage, always accompanied us.During our last visit in 2007 or so, I was so disgusted and tired, standing in the que and then pushed off as soon as I came in front of the sanctum, that I decided to  stop this meaningless suffering.