Friday, May 13, 2011
Roots of medicine
A shop in Velachery that sells some exotic things. Things that the city dweller needs because he hasn't yet left the village behind him. Things that assure her that her newborn is getting the best of nature. Things that only a "nattu marundhu kadai" can provide.
No, it does not - and should not - translate as "country medicine shop". That's missing the entire point. Like many other phrases, "naatu marundhu kadai" defies neat translation, because of the need for deeper understanding of tradition and culture. These are not really "country", but more like "non-city"; and "marundhu" here is not really medicine, but the ingredients - seeds, fruits, accessories - that are needed for making some traditional recipes. Recipes that are used for "health tonics"..... well, that's the best way of describing "kashayams", isn't it, although "lehyam" is beyond me for now!