Aaddukkal [Circular grinding stone]- An outdated custom of Tamils

ஆட்டுக்கல் Aaddukkal(circular grinding stone) is most popular in ancient times and had its own values. In a contrast it had become an outdated element in our lives. This grinding stone is formed of stone and used to grind the flour for vada, idly, thosai into mixture form.

It has got different shapes as circle and square. Grains can be grinded with water in this grinding stone. It has two parts grinding stone as mortar and a grinding pestle. The grinding stone has a deeper hole in the central part to fill with grain to be pounded or mixture. The pestle has a smaller part on the one edge as to hold the pestle tightly and a fatter part on the opposite side to grind. This grinding stone is now out of vision. But in many restaurants 3 stone or 2 stone typed grinding mortars can be seen at present. Most popular Hotels use the black stone grinders to enrich the taste of their hotels. In comparably electric grinder made vadas are less in taste than grinding stone made vadas.

Sharing own experience on grinding in a grinding stone

Grinding on a grinding is an art. First and foremost we have to clean the grinding stone and wash it thoroughly with water. My mother used to wear saree at home. She lifts her saree up to her knee and sits down near the grinding stone. There is a custom in the villages if a housewife sits to grind grains neighboring maidens come to pull to grinded grain into the grinding hole.

Generally not only the rice or grains grinded in a grinding stone but also the gossips too. Ongoing rumors and the important matters which take place in the village will be the topic for gossiping. If none of the neighbors come to help my mother that will be my turn to help her. It is not easy to pull the grinding grains inside the hole. If I miss my concentration my fingers will be scratched in between the grinding stone and the pestle. Sometimes my eagerness of listening the stories from my mother I get scolded of scratching my fingers. Usually grinding occurs in the evening before the sun set. It is not that easy to grind rice. If it takes beyond 6 in the evening it will be mosquito bites as for sure. So my mother hastens herself to finish grinding before the sunset. While my mother is grinding and sweating at the same time her forehead hair in front her face. Then I help my mother not only with grinding but also with adjusting and setting her saree falls when any male visitors come in or scratching her itching back of sweating by a comb.

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