A Place Called Ooty

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Early last week I spent a few nights in the rural Tamil Nadu town of Ooty. There’s a horse racetrack in the town center and quiet villages in the surrounding hills. In a very small village called Pudumundo, I noticed this shop owner at his roadside stall.


Nagrash came to Ooty from his home in Karnataka in the early 1970’s to work in a hotel. He met his wife here and stayed. Now, he and his son Ramesh are building a restaurant onto their shop and a second room for the family now that Ramesh’s family, his wife and two children, all live with the grandparents. Below is Pudumundo village.


The family grows vegetables behind the shop. Nagrash is up at 3 a.m. and finishes all of the day’s cooking (he serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner), cow milking, and other morning chores by 7 when villagers start arriving for tea and breakfast, which is usually a cup of chai and one or two dal vadas: see below, these are chickpeas blended with curry leaves, onion, green chilies, and mustard seeds, flattened into cakes, and fried like hash browns.


Later, Ramesh will take over running the stall while his father sleeps off a good portion of the afternoon.

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