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Milaku Kozhambu and Paruppu Thuvaiyal

Discussion in 'Wednesdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Milaku Kozhambu And Paruppu Thuvaiyal


    No, Ladies, this is not the cookery section. With my knowledge of recipes limited to preparing hot water, I am not fool enough to risk writing in that area. But then why that title?

    Oh, no, not another marketing gimmick, Varalotti, I can almost hear ILites shouting at me, with Kamla leading the pack.

    If we have spicy, festive food for three days at a stretch, then my grandmother would insist preparing milaku kozhambu and paruppu thuvaiyal (for the correct recipe you may go to Chitvish’s Forum) on the fourth day.

    It would be such a pleasant change for us that we would over-eat the kozhambu and the thuvaiyal, so much so, that a few of us would even end up having stomach trouble.

    But all said and done, milaku kuzhambu paruppu thuvaiyal (MKPT) is also a delicacy and once in a way we should taste it also. Especially after the hot and spicy SHE 11 our palletes long for MKPT. And here you go.

    Most Beautiful Moderators, for the first time in the last two weeks, you can now sit back and relax. Believe me this time you wont have the slightest temptation to even go near the mouse to issue infractions.

    For this will be a clean (not sanitised, but inherently clean) travellogue of an innocent accountant, a typical MKPT.

    But Milaku Kuzhambu is per se a hot dish. And paruppu thuvaiyal is not as bland as its reputation. So do not expect too bland a fare and then run for ice water later. Now on to the travellogue of a mofussil accountant.

    About a hundred of us, accountants, gathered in Kodai International Hotel at Kodaikkanal for a three-day professional seminar on 6<sup>th</sup>, 7<sup>th</sup> and 8<sup>th</sup> of July. I would have gone to this hill station, dubbed as the princess of hills (Ooty is the Queen) a few hundred times.

    But it has never ceased to fascinate me. After a hot day in <st1:city><st1:place>Madurai</st1:place></st1:city> when you start your journey early next morning, and when you start climbing the hills (the climb is 58 kms) less than half way through, suddenly you are surrounded by a cool breeze. It looks as if God has switched on a powerful airconditioner and the sweep of the machine covers the entire remaining stretch.

    Currently a spicy discussion is going on in SHE 11 dubbing me as Rajnikant with any aspirants for the role of supportive comedian Vivek. I had an insight into these roles on the first technical session of the Seminar which was on Accounting Standards.

    When I entered the hotel, registered and was allotted a twin-sharing room, one of the organisers came running to me. “Sridhar, you will have to help us out. You need to sit as the Chairman of the First Technical Session on AS 10.”

    I was both surprised and flattered. The speaker (the person who presented the paper) was from Big Four (meaning one of the Big Four Accounting firms of the world – Earnest and Young, KPMG, Price WaterHouse and Deloitte and Touche).

    So for an unsuspecting moment I was flattered at the respect my professional brethren had for my standing. As usual the moment lasted precisely for a moment.

    I asked them with contrived modesty“Why me, of all the persons? I am after a mofussil accountant, and there is no dearth of metro CAs here in our gathering.”

    It was then the Head of Our Madurai Branch sheepishly admitted, “The session is going to be way too technical. I am afraid some of the ladies who have accompanied their husbands are going to sit through the session as it is raining outside. So I want to provide a comic relief. Who but you can handle that brief?”

    Now I knew my place and I was clearly put there. Hiding my tail between my legs I started preparing for the job. It was then I learnt that it is even more difficult to play the role of Vivek than that of the Super Star.

    Within an hour I had to gain workable knowledge of the subject and also think of humorous lines that are relevant to the subject. Well, I can’t blurt out a Sardarji joke which I might have enjoyed in the Forwarded Messages section of this site.

    Again, the speaker had already prepared his lines, meaning he had full-fledged powerpoint presentation with 35 slides. But I had to build from the scratch and write my own lines. I had to read the paper which was 5 pages long with a lot of references and cross-references.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2007
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    To put it short, I delivered my brief. Amidst lines which made the general audience laugh, I also had lines to make my professional brethren think. There were a good gathering of real mofussil accountants from Theni, Srivilliputhur, Sivakasi and Virudhunagar.

    These people were put off by the dazzling presentation of the speaker. I made a note of it and in my concluding remarks told them, that unlike the metro accountants from the Big Four, we, mofussil accountants have to handle the whole range of work.

    A few days back a client called me up at ten in the night to ask what kind of car should he buy. Many times we offer not just our professional expertise for our clients, we offer our shoulders for them to cry on.

    When they go through a crisis like a divorce or a tax-raid, we hand-hold them through the process. We play many roles to the client – an advisor, a friend, a counsellor and at times even a numerologist.

    I am not exaggerating. I have written a computer program (in the good old Foxpro) which will give the numerological value of the proposed name of the new company. So many times I have a client sitting before me saying, “The total should add up to 5. Change the spelling any way you want. But I want my company name to have a numerological value of 5. You see I am a 5-born.”

    You have eaten paruppu thuvaiyal. Now to the milaku kuzhambu part.

    Our professional brethren smashed the popularly held belief that accountants are always “serious sikkandars” and do not know how to relax. There was so much fun, frolic, friendship, fellowship, singing, dancing, rejoicing…(sorry, I have run out of verbs).

    But dear ladies, there was also present in equal intensity decency, dignity and decorum. There were more than a dozen women delegates and an equal number of children.

    At no point of time no one exceeded their limits though drinks were served in the nights. Years of strenuous training and trying to focus on the details have made accountants wholesome men. (There were no women CAs, though, in our group).

    I am saying this because I heard the hotel staff saying that they had another ‘professional group’ who came in for new year celbrations. I don’t want to say to which profession they belonged. My God, the person said, they were an unruly crowd that many a time the staff had to intervene to restore peace.

    We had a sort of culturals on 6<sup>th</sup> night. I thought some children of the delegates might sing or dance. To my astonishment one of the accountants, by name Thavamani, - a chartered accountant and a cost accountant – gave a wonderful performance of karakattam.

    I learnt later that he had given performances in many countries and was an acclaimed exponent of the folk art. Apart from dancing he also did other feats. For instance a saree was laid in the ground. While dancing to the music he slowly lied down on the saree. And to the rhythm of music he rolled himself over the saree and when he finally got up, he was actually wearing a saree like any other woman. And then blindfolded, while still dancing, he sliced a banana held by another member in his mouth, without injuring him.

    All of us accountants can draw balance sheets with our left hand. Many of us are computer experts. A few of us can write complex algorithms. But to dance and to do karakattam, was given only to him. He was quite unique. I went up to him, held his hand and told him, “Never ever leave this art. You are chosen by God. None of us can even hope to learn it.” He became too emotional that he could not speak for some time.

    As only professional accountants can do, the organisers had taken care of every minute detail. Every morning at 7 we would have coffee or tea at our room. Breakfast would be ready by <st1:time minute="15" hour="8">8:15</st1:time>. Sessions would start from <st1:time minute="15" hour="9">9:15</st1:time> in the morning. We had a whole afternoon for sightseeing and shopping.

    When I started my downhill journey on the 8<sup>th</sup> afternoon along with three of my professional friends, I was not sure whether I was happy or sad. Happy because we had such a wonderful brotherhood and bonhomie or sad, because we have to now part ways and don the role of fierce competitors from the very next day.

    Whatever it may be I was thankful to God for making me an accountant, and that too a mofussil accountant at that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2007
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  3. Sashmitaa

    Sashmitaa Senior IL'ite

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    Hi Sridhar,

    U made me nostalgic of Kodai. When I was in my 3rd class I went there. Till now I didnt get a chance to go back again. What a wonderful place it is. I can still remember the peach trees on either side of the road. I would try to go there when I visit my native Theni nexttime. I believe U will get many more chances like that. Yes Sridhar, as you told only some persons are gifted with unique talents. May god bless that wonderful karakattam person.

    regards
    Lakshmi
     
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  4. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Lakshmi,

    I do not know in what year you went to Kodai. It has become highly commercialised with traffic snarls almost every day. But when we went there it was off season with the rain always threatening to come.

    This time we had a different sight seeing. Four of us went into the pine forest. You should see it to believe it. Surrounded on all your sides by large majestic pine trees with no human habitation in sight, you feel one with nature. We also went all the way up to the Guna Caves. (The place where they shot the movie Guna, especially the song Kanmani..) Now they have fenced all those caves to avoid people falling down through them. Still that's a lonely spot and with tall trees it never fails to inspire you.

    Another thing I forgot to mention is the home made chocolates. Of course we did not want to take the risk so got them from the Spencers (now Foodworld). At Rs.36 a pack, they taste much more delicious than the foreign chocolates which my wife's friend gifted us two days back.

    Thanks, Lakhsmi.
    regards,

     
  5. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    I was just looking up at the dinner menu of our members and suddenly shocked to see your post. Then, I came over to this thread, looking for something different. Wow, you never disappoint us! It was a good experience. I am sure that the other CAs from metros would have been impressed too.
    Now, I had been to Kodai in the first week of July 87' , for our honeymoon and enjoyed the trip trememndously. Well, actually, it was the first trip to a hill station and I was thrilled because of that. We hired bicylces and rode around the lake for an hour. (I wish I could do that now). My hubby was asking me where I want to go for LTC and I told him that we will go to Kodai-this year we celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary. But I was wondering about the crowd and the rush of tousists also.
    P.S.We are yet to make the trip, may be in September this year.
     
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  6. sujathae

    sujathae Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Mr. Varalotti, The title sent surprise waves into me and i wondered oh this man knows this too(cooking). Very interesting article about your get together. Kodai is an enchanting beauty. We went to Kodai in 1994, Nov 13th to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. We stayed in a holiday home of our company and it was an exciting experience. The spicy write up about the Karakattakaran Mr. Thavamani has revealed the fact that those arts are still being practised by our people. Thanks for sharing a wonderful experience.

    A small request to you pls read my daughter's poems in the thread "My daughter's poems" and give us your valuable opinions and comments for improvement.

    Thanks and regards,

    sujatha
     
  7. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear varalotti,

    Your excellent description of visit to Kodaiknal brought nostalgic memories flooding back to me. Milaku Kozhambu and Paruppu Thuvaiyal (especially the ones made by my mother) are as nostalgic as Kodai. My first imagination about the place came when my sister went on a picnic from her school (St. Joseph's convent, Madurai). We were staying in Gnana Olivupuram near Aarappalayam at that time and in the night we went to terrace and watched the distant mountains and saw a fire burning. We imagined that my sister is in that area and thought naively the fire as the camp fire lighted by the picnic party.

    My first visit to Kadaikanal came as a bonanza in summer when our NCC branch participated in a state-wide summer camp. There were selection trials and I was successful in that. We went by train upto Kodai Road station and took a bus to climb the hills. After the sweltering heat in madurai, the cool breeze hit me like a Paneer Abhishekam. We had a 10 day camp during which we were taken all over Kodaikanal (only doing the marchpast with the heavy boots and the heavier dress was tough). In the night time in the school where we camped all the students from all over Tamil nadu used to assemble and listen to songs by Mr. Seshagopalan (the famous carnatic singer was my classmate). I also sang some Tamil film songs. My favourite song was 'Kaalangalil aval vasantham'. Last day of our camp we had a memorable boat ride in the lake with lunch on the boat hosted by none other than Karumuthu Thiagaraja Chettiar.

    I have visited Kodai afterwards quite a few times. But, like first love my first visit is still fresh in my memories.

    Regards,
    TDU
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2007
  8. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,
    Want to know about Sripriya, Sridhar and Anitha Rathnam? And the connection between them?
    Welcome to this Wednesday's thread.

    regards,
     
  9. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear varalotti,

    Although you have addressed to the most gracious ladies sorry for butting in. The name Anitha Rathnam rings a bell in me as a daughter-in-law in TVS family. So, I feel the connection is with the famous TVS family. I too have a remote connection with the family. Mr.T.S.Santhanam (son of Sri.T.V.Sundaram Iyengar) and my father were classmates in Sethupathi High School, Madurai. Also, the grandsons of TVS, Mr. Mahesh and Mr. Suresh were my father's students at St.Mary's High School, Madurai.

    Regards,

    TDU
     
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  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Varloo,
    Happy that I kindled the sweet honeymoon memories of 1987. Kodai these days is much more crowded and congested. But you decide to go in rainy season, in the off season, then you can have a good time. You should stay in Sterling (but now they say that the maintenance is not all right) or Kodai International. Or there is the Stony Croft Hotel near Shivapriya.
    You can definitely ride bicycles even now Varloo. Indian bicycles, especially the ones in Kodai are built strong. When a 91kg man like me can drive why not you?
    Now you have two sets of pedals in the same bicycle. So that you and your better half can hire one and both of you can pedal. Would resemble more the cycle of life. ha ha ha.
    regards,
     

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