Memories of Utorda keep flooding in and I am prompted to write yet another article on my father’s village!
If we wanted the sweet ‘suur’ (toddy), there was no easy way out but to wake up early in the morning (5.30 am) and sit in the verandah holding a glass and a rupee in your hand, and lookout for the ‘rendher’ (Toddy-tapper) to pass by. As soon as we saw one, we would run out to him and ask for a glass of toddy. If the tapper was in a good mood and the request was for only one glass, he would not charge for it.
If you have never tasted the early morning toddy then you will never know the real difference between this and the toddy sold in the market later in the morning; It would have surely gone sour with the fermentation! It is the fermented toddy that gives one a ‘kick’! Children should not be allowed to drink this or else they will get drunk on it!
A true Goan also knows the difference between ‘san’nas’ made with ‘fermented toddy’ versus ones made with yeast. There is simply no comparision between the two! The ‘surechim sannas’ are simply out of this world! My absolute favourite ones are the ones with the ‘maddanchem godd’ (coconut jaggery) added to them! My ‘grand-mãe’ (grandmom) made the best ‘sannas’ and in those days, tea-time snacks would almost always be ‘holeh’, ‘Goddachim san’na’ or ‘ bakor’ (coarse groundrice and coconut flatbread on banana leaf, roasted on a hot ‘tava’).
I had the best of village and city life. Nowadays, villagers who go abroad are able to afford city apartments and move out of villages. Their children (like mine), find village life boring and miss out on all the survival skills which we have. Given the choice now, i would prefer to live in a village, in a house fitted with the latest amenities to keep the wifey happy 🙂