“Iruttu Kadai” Poha

Tirunelveli, my birthplace is famous for its “iruttu kadai” halwa. Iruttu means darkness and kadai means shop. There are a series of shops where wheat halwa is made supposedly in darkness or dim light. I guess it’s just a speciality of the place 😊. Today, we just had “iruttu kadai” Poha !!

Early morning news today was about power cuts across Chennai due to the rains. The Chennai corporation was planning to clear all the water logging before further rains came down. The timings mentioned were between 9 am to 4 pm.

Expecting the power cut, we quickly completed our morning routines, running the washing machine and eating our first meal (@ 10.30 am). No power cut happened. We thought we would not have any power cut today in our area. So we relaxed a bit and I didn’t get the spice mix ready for the pachadi (a type of wet salad) I was planning to make for the evening meal.

The power cut happened at 12 noon. As it was expected, we weren’t too bothered. The weather in Chennai is pleasant since it has been raining. We opened a couple of windows and there was a cool breeze. Krishnan and I both started reading and Amma was happily listening to her Shlokas on YouTube.

We walked inside the house a bit since it was raining outside. When power supply did not come back at 4.30 pm we started getting worried. The phones were charged but had lost some charge due to the phone calls and usage of Kindle etc.

I waited till 5 pm hoping that power supply would get restored and I can make Poha with some visibility 🤣. No power till 5 pm. We took out one of the phones, switched on the torch and Krishnan held it while I chopped up the onions, green chillies etc. I made the Poha with dim lighting and we all ate a candle lit dinner.

When I looked out of the kitchen window while dropping the plate in the sink, I saw the neighbour’s house had electricity ! Krishnan went out and found the lift was working and our neighbours in this apartment complex also had electricity.

We checked the switch box and found that a fuse had blown. Switched it on and power came back !! Phew.

This experience just made us realise again, how dependent we are on electricity. The number of gadgets we use has increased. Even for cooking, nearly all the appliances require electricity. Our grandmothers used non-electric mortar and pestle to grind everything and still made food in a jiffy ! With all the appliances we still take much longer to cook and if there is a power cut, there are no alternatives for grinding.

Without electricity, the “work from home” during the pandemic would not have been an option … nor could we have ordered food, groceries etc online. The digital world runs on electricity. Maybe in the future we will move to solar generated power supply that will remain unaffected by rains and transmission modes might change significantly.

Fascinating how electricity has become so essential for human beings …


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