You Don’t Mess with the Grandma


You Don’t Mess with the Grandma

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza


f all my ghastly childhood memories, there’s one that glows particularly ominously. When I was a little one, completely vulnerable to the whims and fancies of adults, I remember being fed a disgusting mixture named madd kulu, with a porridge-like consistency. The goop was a literal translation of “medicine rice” from Kodava Thak, the language of my people. Us kids lined up for not a tiny dose but a whole bowl of the yucky stuff for as long as it seemed to last in the household. We hated it and cursed it with all our little hearts. That it was made up of 18 herbs and enabled effective bowel movement was of no consequence to us.

The initiative was pioneered by my gran avvayya, Kodava Thak for “lady who has been there, done that, and can make grown men cry”. She didn’t have time for charades. And through a carefully managed supply chain that would put VC-funded food-tech companies to shame, the purple goo would find its way into our mouths. (If you pressed your ears to the wind, you could hear the cries of other children stuck in similar circumstance.) I remembered the horribleness of the taste throughout my growing-up years.