“Amma, can we play your monkey song?”
“Huh? What? What monkey song?” I ask.
The baby – that’s what she is – a little short of two years old – takes her fingers out of her mouth (where they have an almost permanent abode!), to answer this slightly dim mother patiently – “You know, amma, yesterday you played it… ”
I think back.
It’s siesta time for the baby and I usually sit with her on my lap, on a rocking chair and play one of the cassettes of childrens’ songs that she loves. Or I sing to her (okay, okay calling what I do singing is a bit of a stretch but I do! Sing the Hanuman Chalisa to her!)
After having played “Old MacDonald” for the millionth time, I want to murder every duck which goes “a quack, quack here and a quack, quack there.” So one afternoon, as she’s dropping off, I quietly play one of my old Hindi film song cassettes. From the movie Sangam. One of the songs is Tere man ki Ganga, mere man ki Yamuna ( the Ganga that is your soul and the Yamuna that is mine). The very sleepy baby perks up immediately.
“Amma, what is that?”
“Amma’s songs,” I answer.
“Can we have Paapa’s songs?” she asks. She refers to herself as Paapa – baby.
“Every day we have your songs, paapa. Today can we have amma’s songs?” I request her politely.
She ruminates over this with her fingers stuck firmly in the mouth. It seems a reasonable request. “Okay, amma,” she says – she is a very reasonable baby!
She then listens carefully to “amma’s songs” before going off to sleep – though the catnaps that she takes can hardly be called sleeping! Kanch is one of those babies who never seems to sleep – preferring to catnap through the day and night. She hardly ever cries, but will wake up through the night wanting to play! For two working parents, it is pretty stressful to make do with a few hours of sleep every night! But the grin that is an invitation to join her in her playtime – at two in the morning – is completely irresistible!
Having listened to my songs one afternoon, she makes a request for it again the following day.
“Can we play amma’s monkey song?”
Used to listening to animal songs, she thinks the Hindi tere man ki Ganga is a song about a monkey – phew!
Of course I can – and I do!
This baby definitely has a lot of affinity to monkeys – being born in the year of the monkey according to the Chinese calendar and being more than a little bit of a monkey in her nature!
And here’s an old favourite at home – for the very special monkey in our lives…
- Besan/gram flour /senaga pindi/kadalai maavu – 1 cup
- Rice flour – 2 tbsp
- Ajwain/omam powder – 3/4 tsp
- Salt – 3/4 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
- Asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp
- Melted ghee – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – optional – a few sprigs
- Oil to deep fry
Mix the besan, rice flour, salt, ajwain, red chili powder and asafoetida together.
Pour the ghee into it and mix with your fingers till it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water and knead into a semi-stiff dough.
Squeeze through the fine holes of a murukku maker into hot oil. It will sizzle up and turn golden yellow. Do not let it brown. Turn over and cook for a few seconds.
Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Fry the curry leaves till crisp and add on top. Store in a container when cool.
The most addctive tea time snack ever- much like the monkey song!