Wednesday, October 26, 2011



It is a normal beleif that we, the Tamils, were writing on Palmyra palm leaves with a stylus called elzuththaaNi.
We also had other writing materials.
We used ink.
Which means that we had other types of paper-like materials. 
Logically thinking, we deduce that if there is ink, there has to be a surface for using it. Writing, drawing, sketching, etc. 
You cant draw a map on a palm leaf, can you?
Unless you miniaturise it or make it a thumbnail sketch. Then you will have use a magnifying glass.
And this of course would raise another question - Did the Tamils have magnifying glass?

Ok then, let us see about the ink business.

 Young Kadukkaay and Maasikkaay - 5 parts
 AnnabEthi - 2 parts
 Kaasik katti - 1 part
 Gum from the Neem(VEppamaram) 
 mixed with 
 Gum from ViLaamaram - 1/2 part

 Powder them in a mortar with a pestle.
 Keep in a small kuduvai(container)
 Add sufficient hot water when necessary and use it. 

 Let us see about the other writing materials.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011



In a chat session, one friend - Malaysian asked why they say 'single tea'.
I thought some of you might wonder about this.

There is a custom which is followed in India regarding buying a drink of tea.

Long ago, the monetary system of India was rather complicated. 12 pais make 1 anna; 16 anna make one rupee. 

About 50 years ago, this system was done away with and replaced by the decimal coinage - 100 pais = 1 rupee. 

There were numerous small tea stalls. They are there even today. These were for the poor people. The stall was stocked with cheap bun, crakers, murukku, titbits,snack, cigarettes, cheroot, cheap vaiety of bananas, etc.
Although called tea stall, they also sold milk and coffee. But to a much lesser scale. 
Tea was sold as a standard measure. They always used a standard sized small glass. Tea was served upto three quarters of this glass.

The cost was 1 anna. 
A single anna for a single measure. 
So this was called the 'Single Tea'.

Later on, the word, 'Single' would mean a small measure of tea. 

In North India, they called it 'Chotta Chai' or just 'Chotta'. 

        After the anna vanished the single tea was standardised for 10 paisas. 
        Now a single tea costs around one rupee of more.

There were also bigger glasses which cost more.

But the poor man's drink was and is a 'single' with a dried bun.
People were generally poor in those days. 
So they would order single chaayaa or tea and then say 'one by two'. 
The tea stall owner would divide this single tea into two halves and pour into two glasses.