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Puliyogare should be the symbol of love

Picture courtesy - Nikhil Narayan (
In the not so distant future, there'll be a tamil movie that will tell of a love quadrangle. The title track of the the movie is tentatively titled ‘enga irunthai puliyogare’ (where were you puliyogare?), where all the concerned parties dance in a tamil movie hot spot like Mauritius. The dialogue that precedes the song will be something like this:

Girl: 'Nambalode kadhal compare pannuna, yedeke compare pannuve'? (what would you compare our love to?)

Boy: 'En amma ode puliyogare ke' (my mother’s puliyogare)
Girl (looking terribly flustered): 'Puliyogare ka'? (to puliyogare?)

Cut to song

Love has many symbols, most of which lack any sense of practicality. Observation, an unbridled love for puliyogare and connecting the dots has led to a eureka moment - puliyogare is the new symbol of love. As you observe the rigmarole of any romantic relationship, you will see this correlation play out in all its glory. 

Puliyogare is prepared by mixing rice and tamarind paste (known as pulikachal). Like any relationship, if you get the mix wrong, the shit hits the fan. A little less tamarind powder and it will end up like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. A little too much tamarind powder and it will end up like all of Paris Hilton’s marriages. So you get the mix right, which in relationship terms, translates to chemistry. This is half of a reasonably good relationship.

But there is more to puliyogare than meets the eye. Authentic puliyogare contains red chilli and ground nuts. Red chilli lends to the flavoring and is the metaphor for temptation. Many people have different interpretations of red chilli – flirting, mistresses, affairs. They may either cause one to realize the value of the relationship or surrender to temptation. For instance, Hugh Hefner surrendered to red chilli and hasn't looked back since.

Groundnuts are the fun bits. If you observe, some people seek out only the groundnuts while eating puliyogare. Most movies feature only the groundnut parts. Boy meets girl. Girl says no. Song and dance happens. Girl changes her mind. Boy changes his mind. Both sets of parents don't change their minds. By the time everyone is on the same page, two and half hours are over and everybody is forced to change their minds. And the boy and girl smile as the credits role. But in love as in puliyogare, the groundnuts run out sooner rather than later. And what you’re left with is the puliyogare. If the mix is right, you'll get through the not so fun bits too. 

Some days the tamarind paste will be more, some days it will be less. Some days there’ll be more groundnuts, some days there’ll be less. Some days the red chilli will add to the flavor, some days the red chilli won’t have any flavor at all. But wisdom suggests that if the basic mix is right, there is no storm that can't be weathered.

Roses, chocolates, proposing to someone by writing their name on the sky, memorising Shakespere lines – all have been force fed to all those in search of love. While others believe in candle light dinners, where you can’t see what the fuck you’re eating and sweet nothings are whispered to each other in such hushed tones that your second standard teacher will be proud that you finally learned to talk softly, you know better. Next time you undertake such lofty expeditions, carry a box of puliyogare and two spoons with you. It’s what relationship counselors shout out from the top of their lungs to couples – that all relationships should be a win – win. 

Think of it, now you can have your puliyogare and eat it too. If that isn't win-win, nothing else is. 


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