Some things/people that have merit are ignored. They miss the applause and the honors and remain unknown, unsung. In fact very often many that get the kudos don’t really deserve them. A lot of self- promotion is required in order to be considered for awards and recognition. A person who finds joy in doing what he does well won’t need a citation to feel thrilled. It is the duty of the award givers to notice excellence and honor it.
That is why I feel guilty. I committed gross neglect by making a list of Woman –friendly items, without including the Idlee. This food item is one of the greatest inventions to help Indian..er….South Indian womankind despite its yodellike/Chinese-sounding name.
Its virtues are many. Cooked in steam and done in five minutes, 16-20 at a time, it is a quick-cooking, low fat marvel. It also contains enough proteins and just enough carbohydrates to keep one healthy and fit. It can be had steaming or not so hot with a variety of accompaniments. It can be recycled into various forms as well.
Having said all that, I remember the time I hated Idlees. My mother would make dosas just for me on Idlee days. Then marriage happened and guess what the staple breakfast was at my husband’s home…..Yes. And then children happened, by which time I’d got less stupid and at an early age I trained the kids to relish the Idlee. Ever since she has been a dear friend. So now life is good. With an Ultra grinder and frequently replenished store of sambar and podi, what’s there to worry?
So here is my Ode to the Idlee:
She lies in repose, a pillow fluffy
Her contours like a young girl's cheek
Unkissed, blushing, soft and rosy
That's Idlee - most modest and meek.
She may seem quiet, humble and shy,
Not glamorous like rolls or cheese
But her appearance doth belie
A wholesome nature, sans grease
She's good for the lazy and busy
She's good for the fitness freak
She's even good for the toothless
So three cheers for the Idlee!
I even have a cute joke in honour of this heroine:
An Iyer and a Britishman were travelling together. The train left Central at 8 pm and at 7 am it was at Vijayawada.
The Britishman had a sumptuous breakfast served by a butler in livery , but the Iyer opened the top box of his 4-compartment steelcarriage and ate two idlis.
Lunch at Waltair station (as Visakhapatnam was then called), was a heavy meal served to the Britishman by the Railway Refreshment stall, but the Iyer only opened the second box of his tiffin carriage, pulled out 4 idlis and ate them with relish. The Britishman was curious as to what was happening, but being a Britishmam, kept his upper lip stiff. But when the scene repeated during dinner at Berhampur, he could no longer contain himself, and enquired, " Sir, what are those white things you have been eating all along? "
The Iyer said, " Sir, these are called intelligence tablets. We South Indians can live on them for days together. "
Britishman: " But how do you make them ? ".
The Iyer described the raw materials, and processes.
Britishman : " Can you please give me a couple?-- you need not give them free. I'll be happy to pay whatever price you quote. "
The Iyer thought and said," Actually I have only three more of them left for breakfast but since I am going to my relative's place, I can spare them for you. But they will cost you 20rupees each ".
The Britishmam paid up immediately, happy that he was so lucky. Next morning at Howrah station as they were about to part ways, he asked, "But tell me sir, are you sure you have told me the entire process without leaving out any details?" . Iyer said "Yes, I told you all details".
Britishman, "Then why are those damn intelligence tablets so costly?" The Iyer said, “See, you took 3 last night and already they started working!"