‘Paati avlo famous aayitanga, pa,’ they snort once I ask for instructions to Kamalaathal’s store. ‘Vaanga saami,’ she calls out as I enter. Her store is the transformed entrance of her house in Vadivelampalayam (Coimbatore), a two-kilometre journey from the Siruvani Foremost Highway.
Kamalathaal (nobody is certain how previous she is, however the estimate is round 90) has been promoting these idlis for 30 years. She doesn’t lose sleep over making a revenue, she says, and is more than pleased with what she earns, alongside together with her relations who’re each day wage earners. “I am doing well. People love it here, and eat to their heart’s content. What more can I ask for?” she smiles.
When requested if she faces flak from close by eateries for her value of ₹1 per idli, she firmly responds, “It is my choice, I will sell them at the price I want to. I am not going to budge for anyone.” Kamalaathaal sells 500 idlis a day. And she or he doesn’t take a vacation, not even on festivals. Whereas she makes the idlis, her grandson’s spouse ladles out sizzling bondas — every costing ₹2.50 — on the opposite facet of the home.
Each seven minutes or so, a recent batch emerges. Scorching and fluffy idlis are scooped out and served with a tangy tomato chutney and a spicy vegetable sambar. She affectionately enquires whether or not I just like the idlis and smiles once I inform her I do. Pointing to a gang of boys devouring idlis, she says they’re her favorite prospects. An aged gentleman enters and, on discovering no house, tells paati that he’ll return later. In the mean time, the boys troop out arguing about who ate probably the most.
Kamalathaal does the lion’s share of the work herself; whether or not it’s shopping for the rice from the native ration store, grinding the batter for her idlis, pouring it into the mould and serving them to her prospects. She grinds the chutney on the aatukal or grinding stone. Her day begins at 5 am, and her first prospects begin coming in by 6. If they aren’t consuming there, they convey tiffin packing containers to replenish. She winds up round midday.
The new idlis, served on plantain leaves, preserve coming until I protest. She asks if I would like extra chutney or sambar, which I’m urged to assist myself to. As I go away, slightly woman arrives, with an enormous vessel and a glass for chutney. She leaves with a smile, rigorously balancing her household’s breakfast, all taken care of with simply ₹30.