Left hand: WTF?


I've been proctoring exams the past few days (I know, some irony!). I just noticed that at least 10-15% of the students in each exam were left-handed. It reminded me of an incident that happened in Dindigul when I was 11.
We would go to 'tuition' classes every evening and one of those times my eyes landed on the dough that was being prepared for 'brottas' (adhan pa, parotta). The 'master' was working the dough with both his hands, flavoring it with his sweat and other bodily fluids (hopefully just sweat). Yeah, this is one of those little hotels where they do everything out in the open -- mostly under a 'puilya maram' -- proudly putting their hygiene for public display. That scene triggered a craving in me and I couldn't wait for the tuition get over. When we were returning I stopped by the hotel and approached the master right in front,
Master: ennapa venum? (with a stern tone)
I: annei parotta sooda irukka?
Master: ellam ippo potadhu dhan
I look at the basin in which they're piled up--all wet and dead. I touch one of them just to make sure if it's even moderately hot. Suddenly I hear a loud voice that throws me off balance. It's the master.
He yells, "adhan sooda irukku'nu solren illa, appuram enna mayithukku nottangaila notti paakra? ippo adha ungoppana dhinban?"
I: !!!! --- ****?

Note: For "tube lights" who didn't get it - 'nottangai' is the offensive expression for idadhukai, oranttangai, peechangai etc. He was angry that I polluted that parotta by touching it with my left hand and now no one else would eat it.

11 comments:

Thilak pratap selva kumar said...

I'm proud to be a Nottai/Lottai :P

GasquetFan said...

Hey Suresh,

Federer vs Gasquet is coming up if they both beat their QF opponents today. This was the surface where Gasquet beat Federer two years ago and right now Federer's playing like crap. Should be a cracker of a match.

Prasad Venkataramana said...

hahahaa... you a TA?

GasquetFan said...

Never mind. Gasquet just lost his QF. May be some other time.

Suresh said...

Thilak - That's a coincidence (or just a statistical probability). Good for you though ;)

GF - Yeah Fed is playing like I play chess when I've lost 4 games consecutively - asking to be killed. Gasquet, gasket pona cooker, pongaradhoda sari pappu vegarudhilla :))

Prasad - Yeah, I am.

GasquetFan said...

haha.. sari daan. Anyway you are declaring that too soon. He is only 20 now.

And if you had seen the matches, he was close to his best (except on important points). He hit 55 winners in a 3 set match losing 6-2 in the third. Obviously he was tired and thats no excuse. But a little bit of work on his body and a thumping serve will rocket him into the top 5 surely. I am not suggesting its easy to develop a good serve, though. Gasquet still rocks. He can be proud of the way he played in this tournament. Especially because he played two matches everyday since Tuesday - one singles and one doubles.

Federer should probably settle down with vogue and some cross dressing. He seems uninterested in tennis inspite of 6-4 6-0 win yesterday. The opponent was just worse than Federer.

I said...

please italicize non-English words. It makes for better reading.

and whats with the hot hot weather?

Suresh said...

I would try in future. As for this post, there's just too much Tamil that italicizing them all would make it look like odungi pona eeya paathram - totally uneven. But yeah, I see what you're saying.

Yeah, weather vecha kudumi seracha motta'nra range'la dhan irukku.

redcentredoc said...

Hi Suresh
This has got nothing to do with this particular post but I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your podcasts. I listened to a couple - the one on condescension and another one about feminism or something along those lines. I had some difficulty with regards to some particular colloquial Tamil phrases and words but that didn't really matter. I had little idea that there were such intricate official class distinction amongst Indians. I wonder who makes the definitions as to which castes were forward and backward. It really doesn't do much for the self-esteem of those kids who are classified as backward. Listenening to you makes more sense with regards to an old movie that comes to mind. I am not good with titles but this one starred a popular actress called Laksmi - it was about a Brahmin woman who masquerades as another caste member in order to obtain, I guess, free educational and job opportunities reserved for people of other castes. It didn't quite make sense to me at the time. Close to the end of the movie I remember that someone realises that she's faking it and she gets arrested and then defends herself in court as to why she did what she did - basically in order to survive - the worst thing to be is financially backward in a forward class isn't it?
Let me know if you've seen this movie..I'd like ta know the title.
It was also upsetting to hear of how this woman gave you a glass o water in the manner that she did. Its unbelievable! I wonder how India would have been like in her era. Interesting.

arvindh said...

Did you have to pay for the "defiled" brota?

Suresh said...

Hi Red,

Glad you liked my podcasts (as much as you've listened to). I think I've seen bits and pieces of the movie on TV but don't quite remember the name.

Yeah, it was little weird when I was the receiving end of a caste-based discrimination (if you can call it that). It was a very minor thing, it didn't upset me or anything. But it just pointed where I stood in the hierarchy of the caste system (at a much later point of my life). Because, I mostly grew up in a society where Gounders well held high above other castes.
I think Madras of her era can be experienced if we go down a bit - into rural areas. Social customs have not changed so much. They would have from that village's standpoint, but this sort of discrimination is very much there.

I don't think we can oversimplify the dichotomy (which is false in some cases) to economic vs. social backwardness. Money doesn't always set things straight. While the movie makes an important point - about the flawed nature of the reservation system - we shouldn't forget what it would have been worse for a lower caste woman who's poor. Masquerading as the other doesn't necessarily bring the other's inherent socio-historical understanding of one's positioning in the society - in terms of honour, self-esteem/respect etc. Laksmi, in this case, has the luxury of dissociating herself from whatever insults that she may experience because of her supposed backwardness in caste. But for the actual "lower caste" people, this is impossible.

Most arguments for and against reservations are flawed one way or the other. For example: being financially backward in a "forward caste" is not a special case. There are several financially backward "lower caste people" as well. In fact, the latter would far outnumber the former. If the only thing that differentiates the two is that the former somehow perform reasonably well in education and the latter don't, it's not because of genetic superiority or mere coincidences. So the sympathy for a 80th percentile poor "FC" student who didn't get a seat because of reservation should not blind us from realizing that the inability of hundreds of thousands of SC/ST students to even go to school deserves more sympathy. But of course, reservations are irrelevant to both the categories to a large extent.

80th percentile "FC" student who didn't make the cut in any govt engg college free seat, and the thousands of SC/ST students who didn't finish 5th grade are both social injustices. I don't see why one should be outraged at one case and not the other.

Arvindh,

Haha no. It's not corporate America where they are calm and polite when they say "your impure touch has tarnished the reputation of our esteemed restaurant pushing it to potential bankruptcy. Hence we'll be glad if you could settle a compensation of…"
This is Dindigul: nan thottadhukkum andha aal thitnadhukkum sariya pochu. And I'm sure that parotta was promptly served to the next guy who ordered one :)).

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