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Old wine(s) in new bottle......
Reminiscence

Old wine(s) in new bottle......

Durgadas P.V.

I don't remember whether I have narrated about how I was hoodwinked in a five star hotel when I ordered for an exquisite breakfast item chosen after a thorough study of the menu card. Among so many items I got attracted towards one item which was described as follows.....

" Prepared by slowly frying the rice flour and later baking it in steam with the flavour of bamboo specially harvested from evergreen tropical rain forests.....served piping hot....."

The attendant who took the order assured me that it would be an exotic delicacy and requested me to wait for at least ten minutes. Hence I could help myself with the seasonal fruit juice as a starter......!

After finishing the watermelon juice, I waited for a couple of minutes more for the item to be served. At last, he brought it on a big tray. He pushed the cake on to my plate from the bamboo poles which were a little longer than a foot. The action was very similar to the one when we played " Holi "  with a hand pump. Two pieces of steaming "cakes" landed on my plate. He also sprinkled scraped coconuts lavishly on them. By now any Mallu like me would have realised that it was nothing but "puttu". If the usual puttu I was familiar with looked like Tun Tun of the yesteryear's Hindi screen, the one on my plate now was similar to Dipika Padukone. What else I could expect when it was pushed out of a bamboo which Hariprasad Chourasia could have used with a few holes in it for his performance..?

But ultimately I would have relished it had they not been made out of sticky rice....! The climax was still disheartening....since it was a special item, not a part of the sumptuous complimentary breakfast spread, he brought a bill of rupees four hundred and odd.....! No doubt, I took a vow not to order for any unknown items in a star hotel! I cursed myself for not having learnt a lesson after tasting a lukewarm tamarind water which was called a clear mulagutawny soup on an earlier occasion.....!

You may wonder why I remembered this incident now. Since it was raining profusely, I could not stir out for my usual morning walk. I thought of listening to some songs through the internet. As I was searching for some good Malayalam numbers in You tube, an advertisement barged on to the screen of my I-pad.....

It read....
"Miriam woven stool....Marketed by urban outfitters...Beachy, boho vibes with this woven cane stool. Featuring spiraled structure with intricately woven seat and base. Can wipe it clean. Imported. Cost of USD 39 a piece...."
It was quite inviting ....

I saw a few more items being marketed in a similar fashion....To describe a few.....
" Premium natural Egyptian shower Loofah sponge. Large Exfoliating shower Loofah body scrubbers. Rejuvenate dull skin for smoother and more youthful appearance. They buff away dead surface skin cells promoting greater dehydration and enhancing absorption of your skin care products. Natural, and eco friendly.........etc etc...."  Costing only USD 15.97 through Amazon...

" Activated charcoal from rice husk for tooth cleansing and whitening " ....Marketed by eBay and many others....price USD 5.98 and above for various brands and flavours and combinations....

" Fresh herbal oral teeth and tongue cleaner. Chewing sticks. Vegan. Limited stock..." USD 6.36 for ten .....Free shipping....

Some of you would have deciphered the real things being sold with a smart package and a description to suit present day beau monde and  the health conscious stinkingly rich .....

For those who have not still caught up with " old wines " here are the names...

* Mooda made of stocks of corn after harvest. Commonly sold on roadside in North india...

** The dried part of the over ripe fruit of Luffah ( pothanga in Malayalam )

*** Umikkari , tooth powder made by burning and pounding paddy husk..

**** Neem sticks commonly used in villages and towns alike across North India for brushing and cleaning teeth.

If you browse through the net, many more native items which have reincarnated as beauty aids......in very catchy outfits and with lofty Tharoorian (!) descriptions could be seen....

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