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Showing posts from August, 2008

Malayali’s best friend – The Coconut

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What can a Malayali do without a Coconut? After all, it is the ‘Kera Vriksha’ of Kerala and some attribute the states name itself to the tree, but probably it is the other way round. Sept 2nd is world coconut day, did you all know that? And Tom Hanks made the nut popular all over again with his movie ‘Castaway’. ‘A coconut a day keeps the guy alive’ was what he proved.
I certainly cannot manage without coconuts. So I have been skirting places like Florida and California where fresh coconuts are available in plenty (well that was not THE reason of course, but very convenient for this argument). It was terrible while in Turkey when we had to buy a few coconuts, transport the grated stuff across many countries in a plastic cover with due care and haste and promptly freeze them. The gratings were used sparingly until the next vacation trip.

So what would a Malayali use it for? Chutney, Sambar, Curries and of course the ever famous Avial and Thoran. They all need varying amounts of coconut t…

Ramanujan - The Hindoo Calculator

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High above, the plane had taken off from Vegas, rising over the arid Nevada deserts, headed for Raleigh, North Carolina. The desert was opening out with hues of red and brown, deep chasms or canyons splitting the empty terrain as though enormous forces had ripped the surface apart. My eyes were becoming heavy lidded, and I dozed off. 15 minutes later I was awake, the lady beside me was chatting with the aisle seat occupant. I looked at them in curiosity. A cultured black man, a Chinese girl and at the window seat the Indian me. For a moment, I curiously thought, would this be a first time? Who knows??? The Chinese girl was uncharacteristically talkative and asking various questions to the person beside me. Seeing me awake, she changed targets and took me on saying in heavily accented English, you missed the drink order…now don’t forget to ask for your snacks…wow! I thought what a forthright girl? Then she got on to the other person asking how the various words on the peanut and cracke…