Saturday 15 January 2022

What's your Proustian madeleine?

Reading an article of Raghu Karnad this morning, I came across the phrase, Proustian madeleine. The phrase led me into the magic hole of nostalgia where I started walking the sweet lane of my growing up years. What were the sweets that I enjoyed while I was living through a time when I didn't realise how precious those years would be in the coming years. 

There was peanut candy where peanuts were soaked in liquid jaggery and hardened to give a fine texture. These candies can be found even today sometimes the taste unaltered. It was eaten mindlessly during different times of the day. It was so commonplace that one attached no value of significance to it. It was called kadalaimittai. It is not much of a nostalgia because one feels this emotion when one misses something. But the simple sweet is much available. Perhaps nostalgia is for the lost days of yore.

Another sweet is the then mittai. I don't have many memories of the sweet except for occasional treats now and then. It isn't nostalgia material for me. But I remember the taste of the sweet and I don't see it anymore. It used to melt in the mouth oozing honey; it was a stark difference to the texture of kadalaimittai which was hard and chewy. 

Another sweet we used to enjoy was the palkhoa or the milk sweet. My grandfather used to treat us with the palkhoa and sev which is known as omapodi. The combination is a deadly one. We were looking forward to eating that combo whenever my grandfather used to return from his daily outings. Now neither my grandfather nor the omapodi is relished by me - the grandfather is no more and the omapodi disappeared after his death. But once a while my sister and I talk about those days. In spite of the omapodi still available in the market, it isn't the same!

I guess I wasn't much of 'sweet' person to remember the delicacies of my growing up years. But nostalgia makes everything sepia tinted and mellow which led me into a sweet trail of Proustian madeline!

What's your Proustian madeline?


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