i love old old old houses

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they speak to me… i loved this one that we went to.

this was the place that the mmmim swung on the swing so hard and so fast…. that he crashed into their looking glass and broke their dressing table some 30 or so years ago…

a swinging time was had by all

and they are still inviting the mmmim’s kids in. but this time maami sat squarely in the middle and was closely monitoring the swing-speed.

they have things that i have seen in action say may be once in my lifetime… like this huge grinding stone.

idli maker now idle


(hindsight 20/20 moment: i regret hating idlies on sight when i was firstborn’s age. at a time when idli batter was made with this stone.)


i love the washing stone. I love the backyard. I love the space. I love the tree whose name i do not know, but know after maami told me, but forget now that i have to key in this blog.

i know this one's name:-)

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30 responses »

  1. Wow, my kollupaati’s house in Choolaimedu was exactly like this – complete with the oonjal and kollapakkam (where there was the only bathroom of the house) and everything. I miss that house so much – I can’t believe there still is one standing today. You brought back some beautiful memories! Thanks. 🙂

  2. Choolaimedu!! Now that is a suburb I know. I remember telling a Pretty Young Thing I had stayed there once and her making a face and saying Only Aunty, Uncles live there. Oh well…..
    Did I tell you my great grand father lived for a long long time in Chennai, I wonder what the city made of the crazy Pathans in their midst?
    I think the Maami is very sweet to lift the embargo and let the little ones visit.

    • your g.g.f lived in chennai…?
      it’s in the genes then. no wonder you can relate to my blog which bollywoodly bereft …

      maami may have been sweet, but why did she monitor swing speed, huh?

  3. When I was a kid, I hated Aattukkal-batter idlis with a passion and thought that home ground Ellu-Molagapodi was uncool as compared to the store-bought version – feel such regret now that both of those are a rarity 😦

    The photos bring back a whole lot of memories – especially of Oonjal handles coming off during extreme speed competitions – and folks thudding into sofas, modas and even Kal-Thoongal to *ouch* results

  4. TOTALLY awesome.

    This reminds me of my dad’s ancestral home in Kutch. It had a massive centuries old tree in the middle of the courtyard.
    2001 earthquake. Everything dissolved into Earth, incl. the huge swing in the front room.

  5. I was a pro in making aattukal idli and dosa batter. I was 7-8 when I started doing it by myself till I was 12-13 when we got our grinder. Used to make paruppu vadai, appam too in aatukal. Was so eager to help my mom in that age that I would volunteer to make these.

  6. The kind of old old old house where all the doors are perfectly aligned so that if they were all open at the same time you would have a view right through to the kollapakkam? My thatha-patti’s house in Abhiramapuram is like that…

    • why was it like that?
      our apartments are like mazes in comparison…
      and the puzhakadai /washing machine area in my flat in KL is near the front of the house

      • I was told (when I asked the exact same question as a kid) that the doorways were all lined up to facilitate an easy exit for any lost evil spirits that entered the house accidentally. This could be true, or it could not – I was famous for being the most easily led dupe in the history of my family (both sides). And my uncles didnt help by telling me all the tall tales they could think up.

  7. Ah the washing stone and aatukkal! Were part of my parents’ recently demolished home. The builder had promised to retain them and restore them in newly landscaped surroundings. Doubt it would happen though…couldn’t spot them in the construction site when I visited recently 😦 Aattukkal, I haven’t used. But the washing stone was a favourite haunt 🙂 Brought back lovely memories, thanks MiM!

    The tree is Badam perhaps?

  8. Ah the grinding stone idlis .. love love love them …. along with hand ground coconut chutney … totally awesome !!
    Washing stone … have never seen any washing machine match up to hand washed / sun dried crisp clothes.
    btw, my parents home still have both of these intact … though idlis are not hand ground any more.

  9. Why is it “aattukkal”? Enga oorla it was “ural” (for the one with the central hole for idli/dosa batter) and “ammi” (for the flat one that was used to make chutneys/grind spices).

    • “Aattukkal” – for Maavai Aattum Kal – Tanjore/Trichy folks typically use this

      “Kalloral” = Kallu Ural – Lit. stone grinder – Kanchi/Mayavaram folks use this term

      Ammi is the term for the flat one – haven’t heard any other term for this 🙂

  10. Pingback: Nostalgia series – A different taste « Sweet Somethings

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