A lot of people have asked about some of the Indian terms and dishes mentioned in Monsoon Memories… so here it is, the official Monsoon Memories glossary!
You can also see the pictures to go with the words over at my Pinterest board – CLICK HERE!
- Ab: Grandfather
- Bab: Father
- Bai: Used to address older/married women, as a way of showing respect.
- Beti: Hindi word for daughter.
- Mai: Mother/ Grandmother
- Peon: An unskilled labourer, caretaker, odd jobs man.
- Voni/Voniye : Sister-In-Law
Cashew: The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɐˈʒu]), which itself is derived from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. Originally native to Northeastern Brazil, it is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew apples and nuts.
Churmuri: Popular street food. Consists of puffed rice mixed with onions, chillies, spices, peanuts, coriander and anything else you fancy
Dal Makhani: (“Lentil rich sauce”) This is a staple food originating from the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. The primary ingredients in dal makhani are whole black lentils (urad) and red kidney beans (rajma), rather than red lentils (masoor).
Golibhajis: Small rounds of dough made from maida (all-purpose flour) and yogurt, deep fried in oil. Usually served with coconut chutney.
Gulab Jamun: This tasty dessert is an Indian version of warm donuts floating in warm sweet syrup. Served as a dessert, this is a staple in most parts of India.
Idlis: A traditional breakfast in South Indian households. Idli is savoury cake of South India and is very popular throughout India. The cakes are usually two to three inches in diameter and are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice. The fermentation process breaks down the starches so that they are more readily metabolized by the body.
Jaggery: is a traditional uncentrifuged sugar. It is a concentrated product of date, cane juice, orpalm sap without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color.
Jackfruit: Enormous and prickly on the outside, jackfruit looks somewhat like durian (though jackfruit is usually even larger). Once a jackfruit is cracked open, what you will find inside are pods or “bulbs”. Often referred to as the seeds, these bulbs are a kind of fleshy covering for the true seeds or pits, which are round and dark like chestnuts. The fleshy part (the “bulb”) can be eaten as is, or cut up and cooked.
Kokkisam: Rice cookies- Part of Kuswar, the sweetmeats made especially at Christmas.
Koliloli: Rice flour infused with coconut milk, the batter fried on an earthen pan over firewood, to imbue it with a smoky flavour.
Kuswar: This is a term often used to mention a set of unique Christmas goodies which are part of the cuisine of the Mangalorean Catholic community of Karnataka, India. There are as many as 22 different traditional recipes that form this distinct flavour of Christmas celebration in Mangalore.
Laddoos/Laddus: A ball-shaped sweet popular in Indian Subcontinent and served at just about any special occasion in India.
Nevris: Crescent shaped sweet puffs- another Kuswar favourite.
Paan: A stimulating, psychoactive preparation of betel leaf combined with areca nut and/or cured tobacco. Paan is chewed and finally spat out or swallowed. Paan has many variations.
Podis: Slices of green plantain(banana)/ sweet potato/ potato/cauliflower dipped in gram flour(chick pea flour) paste and deep fried.
Pork Bafat: Traditional Manglorean pork curry spiced with bafat powder (a mix of powdered chilli and other spices), onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies, tamarind and vinegar.
Potato Bondas: Mashed potatoes, replete with onions, green chillies, coriander and mint leaves, fashioned into little balls, dipped in gram flour paste and deep fried to make a lovely, filling snack.
Puri Bhaji: (sometimes spelled poori bhaji) is an Indian dish made up of puri and aloo bhaji. The puris are made up of flat rounds of flour which are deep fried, served with a spiced potato dish which could be dry or curried.
Sannas: Spongy steamed savoury rice cakes, popularly made in Goa and Mangalore, India. Sannas are extremely popular amongst the Konkani diaspora of Karnataka and Kerala. They are similar to Idlis, the difference being that while making sannas, the ground rice is spiked with coconut milk before steaming.
Tamarind: The tamarind tree produces edible, pod-like fruit which are used extensively in cuisines around the world. They have a tangy taste and can be used instead of lemon/lime.
Thali (meaning “plate”) is an Indian and Nepalese meal made up of a selection of various dishes.
Bindi: A bindi or a pottu/bottu (in Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam) is a forehead decoration worn in South Asia (particularly India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Mauritius) and Southeast Asia. Traditionally it is a bright dot of red colour applied in the centre of the forehead close to the eyebrows, but it can also consist of a sign or piece of jewellery worn at this location.
Chappals/ Bata Chappals: A pair of sandals, usually of leather, worn in India. Bata is a shoe franchise in India and its chappals are legendary.
Churidars: Tightly fitting trousers worn by both men and women in South Asia. Churidars are a variant of the common salwar pants. Salwars are cut wide at the top and narrow at the ankle.
Lehenga or Ghagra is a form of skirt which is long, embroidered and pleated. It is worn as the bottom portion of a Gagra choli. It is secured at the waist and leaves the lower back and midriff bare.
Dupatta is a long, multi-purpose scarf that is essential to many South Asian women’s suits and matches the woman’s garments.
Kajal: (Kohl) is an ancient eye cosmetic, traditionally made by grinding galena (lead sulfide) and other ingredients. It is widely used in South Asia, the Middle East,North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of West Africa to darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes.
Lungi: Also known as a sarong, is a traditional garment worn around the waist in Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the Horn of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. It is particularly popular in regions where the heat and humidity create an unpleasant climate for trousers.
Mundu: A garment worn around the waist in Kerala, the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, and also in Maldives. This garment is closely related to the Dhoti, Sarong, and Lungi. In South Kanara, a district of Karnataka state, the Tulu speaking folk and Beary community also wear the mundu. It is normally woven in cotton and coloured white or cream
Pallu: The loose end of a sari.
Salwar/Salwar Kameez: (Also spelled shalwar kameez, shalvar kameez, or shalwar qameez). A traditional dress worn by both women and men in South Asia and specially Pakistan and India. Shalwar or salwar are loose pajama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the ankle. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic.
Expressions used in the book
‘Amma, Enadru Kodi’- Kannada Script- ‘Mother, please give something.’
‘Amma, Enu thinnilla, Enadru Kodi’ – Kannada Script- ‘Mother, I haven’t eaten anything. Please give something.’
‘Ayyo, Devare’- Kannada Script- ‘Oh God!’
‘Meri Sapnon Ki Rani Kab Ayegi Thu’- A famous Hindi Film song- ‘Queen of my dreams, when will you come?’
‘Right, Poi.’- Tulu mixed with English- ‘Right, let’s go!’
Aata: is a classical folk art of South Canara ( including Mangalore and Udupi districts of Karnataka). It means ‘play’ in Kannada and Tulu. Traditionally, these plays go on all through the night. The stage is normally put up on paddy fields and people watch from among the fields. My short story, Ugly Sister Shoorpanakha describes Aatas in greater detail.
Aboli: is a species of flowering plant in the family Acanthaceae, native to southern India and Sri Lanka. The tiny flowers are often strung together into strands, sometimes along with white jasmine flowers and therefore in great demand for making garlands which are offered to temple deities or used to adorn women’s hair.
Bandh: Originally a Hindi word meaning “closed”, Bandh is a form of protest used by political activists in South Asian countries such as India and Nepal. During a bandh, a political party or a community declares a general strike. A Bharat bandh is a call for a bandh across India, and a bandh can also be called for an individual state or municipality.
Bhajans: A Bhajan is any type of devotional song.
Bharathnatyam: This is a classical Indian dance form which is popular and nurtured in South India.
Pictured: A Bharathnatyam dancer in traditional costume.
Crocin: Paracetamol. Marketed as Crocin by GlaxoSmithKline and widely available over the counter in India.
Ghats: In the context of ‘Monsoon Memories’, Ghats refers to the winding road between Bangalore and Mangalore that, despite being part of the National Highway is single carriageway.
Godrej Wardrobe: A make of wardrobe that is popular in India.
Gulli Danda: (Gilli-Danda) is an amateur sport played in the rural areas and small towns all over India and Pakistan. The game is played with two sticks: a large one called a danda, which is used to hit a smaller one, the gilli.
Gulmohar: is a species of flowering plant noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. ‘Gul’ means ‘Flower’ and ‘Mohr’ is ‘coin or stamp’. Also ‘Mor’ means ‘Peacock’ which seems to be most close to physical appearance and beauty of this tree
Lagori: (meaning seven stones) is a game played by two teams in an unlimited area. A member of one team (the seekers) throws a soft ball at a pile of stones to knock them over. Then the seekers try to restore the pile of stones while the opposing team (the hitters) throws the ball at them. If the ball touches a seeker, he is out and his team continues without him. But a team member can always safeguard himself by touching the opposite team member before the ball hits him.
Tawa: Frying Pan, used to fry dosas etc.