My dear readers, I am glad to inform you that my blog has completed four years and a hundred stories. My heartfelt thanks to all of you. Now, here is a folktale for you from Karnataka.
In olden days in a village in Karnataka there lived a lad by name Bhimanna. As his name suggested, he had taken after the legendary Pandava prince Bhima in eating food. He loved tasty food and would be ready to do anything to eat tasty food.
One day there was an invitation from his aunt in the neighbouring village asking him to join them in the feast to be held in their house on account of his uncle’s birthday. Bhimanna was overjoyed and begged his mother to let him go. The neighbouring village was three to four miles away and Bhimanna’s father had to go to some other place in his bullock cart on that particular day. Bhimanna was not willing to let go of the free offer though.
“I will walk and go mother” said he. “Aunt will feel bad if none of us go and so I will go on behalf our family. Please mother, pleeease…. Let me go”
“Bhimu, you have to cross the river Cauvery…”
“Don’t you worry mother. There is not much water now. I will wade through”
Bhimanna’s mother agreed reluctantly.
On the special day, Bhimanna got ready well on time and started walking. The thought of the tasty food in the feast made him walk very fast and he reached in no time. His aunt and uncle and all the family members welcomed him and he was made to sit down along with all the others to eat the feast. In olden days dining tables were not there. People squatted on the floor sitting in ‘sukhasan’ (cross legged) posture and huge banana leaves were placed in front of them and a variety of food items were served on the banana leaves. People had enough time to cook well and eat well too. Of course all the labour was manual and they had no machines for anything right from tilling the land to grinding flour to sweeping and mopping their houses. Therefore they had good exercise and their food digested in no time and they were very healthy in spite of eating a heavy meal every day, unlike in the present.
The food in the feast was very lavish and tasty but Bhimanna liked one particular dish which he had never tasted till then. It was a white dumpling like thing which was soft and when he bit a big chunk of it, the filling was so sweet and juicy, it was filled with jaggery and coconut. He gulped one and asked for one more. The second seemed to be even tastier. He ate four more to his heart’s content and made a mental note to tell his mother to make this. This was simply heavenly and he had not eaten it in his life!!
“Oh!” he thought to himself. “I did not ask the name of this” So he went to his aunt and asked her what the sweet was called.
“Kadubu” she said. “It’s called Kadubu”
“Kadubu, kadubu, kadubu, kadubu………” Bhimanna was memorising the name. He could not afford to forget the name as he had literally fallen in love with this wonderful sweet that he had planned to ask his mother to make it for him every day.
The time came for him to take leave of his aunt’s family and he wanted to ask her to give him some Kadubu to take home, but unfortunately, there was not even one left over for him to take home.
Disappointed, Bhimanna started for home. “Kadubu, kadubu, kadubu, kadubu, kadubu….” he was saying it like a mantra so that he did not forget. When he came to the river and was wading through it he failed to notice a small rock and tripped on it and “pachaaaaak” fell into the water. He was so shocked by his fall, and in that shock he had stopped chanting the ‘kadubu mantra’ and when he got up… Alas! He completely forgot the name of the dish.
He kept on thinking on what the name was but could not recollect the correct name. “Was it Kubudu? Or Dakubu? Or Baduku? Or Bakudu? Or…. Or….” He kept on wondering and suddenly seemed to remember, “Yes! It was Dubukku” he started chanting “Dubukku, dubukku, dubukku …..” till he reached home.
He ran to his mother and started “Amma, the feast was superb especially the Dubukku. Make some Dubukku for me please…”
“Dubukku? What Dubukku? I have not heard of anything in my life by name Dubukku” said the mother. Unfortunately she also did not relate the name to Kadubu.
“Amma, amma, what is this amma? You don’t know Dubukku? It was so very tasty, mmm… yummy, please make it for me amma”
“Chup” said the mother. “You have just eaten a full feast and you are asking for some weird dish which I do not know. Go and feed the cow, go!”
Bhimanna could not just forget the ‘Dubukku’. Every day he pestered his mother day in and day out asking her to make ‘dubukku’. His mother was getting more and more irritated hearing this ‘make dubukku’ mantra and Bhimanna never seemed tired of nagging his mother.
One particular day, Bhimanna’s mother was in a very bad mood from the morning since a cat had come into the kitchen in the night and upset the pot of curds and drank it all and in the morning, the iron bucket in the pulley (used to draw water from the well) had fallen into the well and the cow was refusing to be milked kicking anyone who went to milk it. “Such a bad day it has been oof…” she was murmuring when Bhimanna’s ‘dubukku pestering’ started.
He went on and on and on that she got so angry and gave him a hard slap on his cheek. “Now, don’t you irritate me with your dubukku any more hmph…” she scolded him. Poor Bhimanna was taken by surprise. His mother was generally never so angry and it had happened only one time before when he had got a sharp slap from her. The cheek pained and had turned red and Bhimanna was on the verge of crying.
Bhimanna’s mother had not meant to slap him and she realised in a moment that all this pent up anger was due to the various happenings in the morning. She felt sorry for the lad and turned around to see his cheek red and swollen and tears were rolling down his cheeks.
She felt sorry and called him, ‘Bhima, I am really sorry son, but…” She stared at his cheek and said “Oh God! Your cheek has swollen like a Kadubu!”
The mention of the word “kadubu” changed it all. Bhimanna sprang up, his eyes sparkling. As the mother was looking surprised, he shouted “Yes, Kadubu, kadubu, kadubu, that’s what I have been wanting. Amma, amma, please make sweet kadubu amma, please….”
The mother was so amused at how the word “kadubu” had worked like magic and at how her son was so fascinated with the humble Kadubu, and went about to prepare Kadubu for him.
“Now I will never forget the name of this sweet. Kadubu it is!” said Bhimanna triumphantly as he bit into his umpteenth Kadubu, and gobbling it down.
Will you ever forget the name ‘Kadubu’? You will not, will you???