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E-Pao! EI - In search of Brown rice

In search of Brown rice

By: echaandam *


A month back I was reading a beauty column in (where else?), the Times of India.

She said many things but what caught my attention came near the fag end of the article.

She said she made it a point to make it her kind of rice --the brown rice. I said to myself why not mine also?

Next morning I went out in search of brown rice.

Actually, I had to meet a friend also and I got into the first rice mill along the way to my friend's office. Apparently severally women worked in the mill-not a male was to be seen.

I approached the lady who is farthest off the running machines which were giving off tremendous noise.

Luckily, I could also find some milled rice near her. After checking out several sacks I pointed to the sack which contained what appeared to me what you called the brown rice.

She shook her head and said it was 'chamang' and it's not for human consumption.

I took a fistful, had a good look and said they sure looked like good rice.

She said they would not cook.

Well, that's puzzling to me. I had in my fist what seemed to be perfectly good rice but she said they would not cook. Why? I asked-"Why?"

She explained that the kinds of rice need to go into two further machines for making them human-ready.

I wanted to shout -"Whoa! I have the brown rice!! No further milling, please".

Of course, I didn't shout. After fidgeting with the rice in the sack for some moments I casually asked-"What's the price?"

"Rs 13.00 a kg", she said.

By now I was perfectly willing to gamble 130 bucks to see why would not my brown rice cook. So, I said-"Give me 10 kgs of this".

C'mon, she had that bewildered look in her face! She stammered, cleared her throat and said that she was perfectly willing to sell me the rice but she again warned that it was not for human consumption and again emphasized that it would not cook.

I tried not to send out any sign of not heeding her good advice and said as politely as possible-"Please give me 10 kgs".

Suddenly, she played forgetful-"Oh! That was all sold out. You have to come next morning to get your 10 kgs".

I walked out of the mill. Abruptly.

Now, it was the day after. (By now you would be well aware that I could absorb only that much of customer service in a single day. Enough for a day!)

Again, it was a rice mill near another of my friend's place.

This time also all mill hands appeared to be women. One happened to be a lady who ran a tea stall near my friend's place-apparently she was out of her own business.

I could only barely uttered 'chamang'when she said-"Oh! Laigi oiramtare-you must be needing it for some religiously ceremony, right?"

I grabbed my golden chance and said-"Yes, yes".

"How many kgs? I'll give you for Rs 12 a kg".

That's how I got my first 10 kgs of brown rice!

I went out again for another 10 kgs this afternoon.

The same mill. The same lady.

She was smiling and said-"Another 10 kgs? But why would need 'chamang' of all things?"

She took the money for the 10 kgs, had a mischievous grin and said-"We know it's for making 'hamei'!!"

Well, for the uneducated 'hamei' is the ferment ting agent for making rice beer!

Chamang, laigi, hamei. That's the story of brown rice!!

Postscript: White rice costs you Rs 15 a kg. Not considering all the vitamins and minerals not polished off from my brown rice, what a bargain I had got, let's say, notwithstanding the little adventures!


echaandam writes for the first time to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at this Blog echaandam.blogspot.com
This article was webcasted on April 23rd, 2006

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