Blast from the past – Imports from the Yore

 Update for Week 6 October 2009 

Many centuries ago, the sea-faring inhabitants of southern Indiatook voyages to kingdoms across the seas to nurture trade, religion and at times for conquest. These voyagers were quite enterprising and at times traded Indian spices for oriental silk, opium and other goods that were then unavailable on the subcontinent. In these business transactions, they also brought in quite a few culinary delights from these regions. Like the art of fermenting food before cooking it from the Indonesian archipelago that has now produced a full bodied south Indian Fermented & steamed Rice dumplings – the humble Idli; or the date palms whose seedlings were carefully brought aboard dhows that traversed from Arabia and planted in the drier parts of present day Tamil Nadu; or the china porcelain pickle jars that came from, yes! China; or the most commonly used “kadhai” or iron wok that actually came into India from China via the palm fringed Kerala coast in the avatar of the Cheena Chatti (Chinese pot) Imagine Indian cooking without the kadhai – we would not know how to temper our veggies or fry our puris  or make our sweet dishes – gulab jamuns, jilebis, rossogolas –  or our savoury treats – bhujia, chaklis, chivda, mixture.  And thereby not be able to stir up the goodies for our favourite eats festival – Diwali!!


D Boyz today looked at India’s trading partners and after seeing the falling exports of India Inc. decided to pull out their history texts to see how we fared in the days of yore. They munched on their idlis from a local café, while some chewed on sweet dates as dessert, as they read about the amazing roots of the humble Indian kadhai. As they traced the path of this metal wok from one “ear” to the other, they subliminally drew out the SENSEX graph for the day; and all this without using their telephones!! So if the SENSEX opened about 90 points up at start of day, it soon descended to depths of 300 below previous close to once again chart the upward move and finally close 92 points above – at 16958. and since kadhais are mostly made of metal – you guessed it right – the metals Index was the key performer today pulling up a 2.2% show; and since lots of food get cooked in kadhais, and lots of detergent is used to clean up after that, it is no surprise that the FMCG index performed well too pulling up 3.27%. and since few D Boyz used their phones; 2 prominent SENSEX telcos registered whopping 10% declined. So if the SENSEX pulled up 0.55% today; the Rupee gained a whopping 1.5% and pierced the Rs 47 level to close at around 46.90 to a dollar.


Mothers, aunts, grannies and maids are busy sorting out the ingredients that will finally find their ways on colourfully displayed food trays at the festival of lights. The daughters, daughters in law, nieces and grand-daughters are just fussing around the kitchen not being particularly helpful, since they know not some of the fine culinary arts; but at times are enterprising enough to engage “master chefs” or maharajs to stir up some of these delights at home. So in this nuclear family age, maybe I do have some moonlighting opportunity after all!!




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