Out of the mouths of babes…

Kids, in their innocence, assume the darned-est things. Stories like “Where does milk come from?” being answered by, “Plastic packets”. Or my brother Anand who, when he was small, always wanted to go “for a walk” in a cycle rickshaw! My nephew Adarsh, brought up outside India and here only for the holidays, exclaims one day, “What a small horse!”  on sighting a goat!

My daughter’s best friend, Vinaya, at the age of four, completely enamoured by my younger daughter, still a baby, keeps begging her mother to have a baby. Finding it a no-starter, she modifies her plea, “At least can you have a monkey?!”

Another day, I heard my four-year old use a cuss word that was strictly forbidden and asked her, “Where on earth did you learn that?” Pat comes the reply: “From you, Amma, when you’re driving!” (Teach me to express frustrations on Indian roads!!)

On another occasion, when I was trying to teach my 6-year old daughter Math – and her eyes kept wandering off in the direction of her dolls (obviously more interesting!), I gave her a test with made up sums. One of the sums went like this: “If Amma gives you 4 adis (slaps) in the morning and 6 in the evening, how many would you have got altogether?” She reads through my paper and prints painstakingly and clearly “AMMA, YOU ARE SO SIK (SICK) I FOGGOT TO WOMMIT!”

Another friend’s five year-old son, finding the dad snoozing, carefully pries open his eyelids, peers in and asks solemnly, “Are you in there?!!”

How about the kid who, on hearing the Nativity story one Christmas, pays close attention to the gifts the three wise men brought and says sagely, “Amma, if it had been three wise women, they’d have brought nappies and baby powder and bottles, no?” YES, indeed they would have!

For the longest time, I thought pepper came out of packets and was quite shocked to find that it actually grew on vines and was GREEN! The first time I saw these was after I was married and was completely fascinated by what seemed like nodular caterpillars growing on vines… then I bit into one, rather reluctantly (caterpillar, right?) and was hooked for life!

Today, no matter how much of it I have, I still can’t resist buying the jewel-green shiny little globules of… pepperiness!

Here are TWO recipes to be made out of it… one is the


  • Green peppers on stalks – 150 gm – washed and wiped dry carefully without breaking
  • Crystal salt – 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Lemon juice – 5 tbsp
  • Water – 2.5 cups.

Boil the water and salt together. Add turmeric.  Switch off. Cool completely. Add the peppers and bottle. Shake every day a couple of times for 4-5 days. The pickle is ready to eat. Brilliant with curd rice.

Another unusual recipe is the…


Recipe for rasam as given in the blog entry for Tamil Rasam – click here.

Omit the toor dal. Crush two “caterpillars” of peppercorns lightly and 5-6 flakes of garlic (optional) and add to the rasam before boiling.  Proceed with the rasam as usual.

And forget the caterpillars! They’re actually furry things and I’m sure not half as tasty as peppercorns!

(Pics courtesy: Internet)