Of grandmothers, daughters and grandsons – and genetics!

“How was your day at school today, Maarut?” asks my friend Viraja of her three year old grandson who has just started school – that day!

“It was okay” – phew they learn young, don’t they – that “it was okay” is a statement which covers everything- and nothing!

But what did you do?” she persists.

Oh, I beat up my friend,” said with complete nonchalence!

“And what did he do?”

“He cried” – he offers in the rather cutely gruff voice that the little boy has – the attitude and the voice are a positive invitation to merriment! We restrain ourselves, however and continue down this path which now seems fraught with possibilities!

“And then?” we ask, waiting with bated breath to hear what the teacher did!

“He beat me up” – phew!

“And then?”

“I cried.”

And then?” – this tale is bidding fair to rival even “Die Hard” for suspense!

“Then I came home. And here I am!!”

I am by now in love with this little Dennis and William rolled into one combination!

Am also reminded irresistibly of his mother D, my friend’s daughter, thirty years ago. I walk into their house, proudly showing off my brand new pair of high heeled sandals – with gold lace and all. D, who is about two years old and very fond of pretty things, is promptly smitten!

I take off my sandals at the door and Divya promptly slides her tiny feet into them and proceeds to give me a serious sales pitch. “Anu aunty, these are lovely! Don’t they look pretty on my feet? Can you give them to me? Ask your mother to buy you one more”...the chatter goes on as she clomps around the room and I chase her – terrified in case she should trip and break something – a bone maybe!

She doesn’t trip and nothing is broken. The nonchalance is unimpaired even thirty years later and her love for pretty things is still intact! Quite amazing the things our kids inherit from us!!

And equally amazing the dish that she served for lunch… the very, very Andhra delicacy…

AAVAPETTINA PANASA POTTU KOORA (Quite a mouthful but it’s basically raw jackfruit curry flavoured with ground raw mustard seeds)

  • Raw jackfruit  chopped – 2 cups (you get this canned in the US – would you believe it?? Here in India, you buy one whole fruit and spend an hour and a half cutting and cleaning it and then another hour and a half getting the sticky bits off your hair and your nose (you try not to scratch that itch on your nose as you’re cutting!)
  • Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp
  • Green chilies – 6-8
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp for tempering
  • Oil – 3-4 tbsp
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Chana dal (Bengal gram dal) – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Ginger – 1/2 ” piece – chopped
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs


  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Red chili – 1
  • Water – 1 tsp – grind together to a rough paste in a mortar and pestle.

Wash the jackfruit pieces well and drain. In a heavy pan, add 1/4 cup water and the jackfruit along with the tumeric. Cook, covered, stirring occassionally till tender – 8-10 minutes. (or microwave on high for 8 minues, turning over once). Cool. Squeeze out the water.

Grind the green chilies and ginger to a rough paste.

In another saucepan, heat the oil. Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, asafoetida, red chili powder and cumin seeds. Saute for a minute till golden.

Add the green chili – ginger paste and saute for two minutes more..

Add the tamarind paste and the jackfruit pieces along with the salt. Stir to coat completely.

Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Add the mustard-red chili paste and switch off. Mix well and serve with hot rice and ghee.

Died and gone to heaven yet??!

(pic courtesy internet)