They say time is an eraser and I agree often with exceptions as this one case where time seems to be carving the memories and associated images right into indelible caricatures.

Cut to somewhere in the wastelands of the Frontier, circa 1999.

As I lay tucked deep into my sleeping bag in the snow-clad bunker, my helper presenting himself before me with my regular dosage of corrected coffee, I was silently being reminded of the incident and the faces involved in getting me hooked onto corrected coffee for life.

Everyday morning my helper would wake up in the wee small hours of the morning, line up several bottle-caps full of horse rum to be emptied into steaming cups of black coffee, to be served to the officers lot in turns. Of course, this was strictly following the order of seniority right from the Commanding Officer down to the Lieutenant who just joined the battalion recently i.e me ! Gentlemen who are served with this stuff would sniff this amalgamation several times for its aroma before slowly sending it down their throat cherishing its enhanced flavor.

Soon this close to divine stuff and the associated rituals of its blending spread from our battalion to the neighboring battalion and beyond, along with its inventors tag on it engraved as a successful remedy to beat the persistent chill. It so happened one day that Division Commander was passing by our battalion and was magnanimous enough to give his consent to spend a little time to interact with the lesser mortals of the battalion.

So, as I was shaking hands with the General, and my Commanding Officer muttering my name for the purpose of general introduction, the General gestured at the Colonel, my CO, not to proceed any further and beamed at me with “Oh ! so, then this is the  Jose  who came up with corrected coffee”.

In return I just nodded my head in acceptance to up keep the decorum of the forum which required answers preferably in mono syllables. But through out my tenure there in the battalion rarely did anyone knew that it was my childhood buddy CT who kindled in me the imagination to use alcohol in daily supplies.

Flash back to the wastelands, between the school entrance and the football fields, circa 1988.

The Hunt
It is a moonlit night around two decades ago, when CT, strongly supported by the likes of me swoops on a poor rooster caged in the campus bus driver’s residential quarters ( the C-type quarters). With required stealth and swiftness, its neck is grabbed before it could send out its signature sound ‘KOK’ and the same surgically plucked off its body with great dexterity and a hell lot of blood . Like any good commando operation, things were pretty much planned in advance and hence the cooking site was catered with utensils, articles required for lighting fire and condiments – except the unavoidable aqua. But as they say, invention is mothered by necessity, and   on that historic night, the ring leader CT let the world know that stolen roosters taste best when cooked in ‘Nadan Kallu’.

I am proud to say, that I have used this magic liquid of different varieties, grades and volumes from dash to dip on many consumables like barbeques , grills and sizzlers including an exotic mix presumably called  Babushk  which is actually a hand-me-down from JohnsonBabushk was  another “invention”  that the Army thankfully has adopted, from Johnson ( just one year senior to our batch), and he was generous to share the classified secret with a fellow Kazhak, while we were presumably doing engineering degree course together in Pune.

Jump Cut to the Frontier.

So when the general finally rose to depart, he asked me,  Jose, (that’s my name in the Army), should we term it an invention or a discovery?
I said “Sir, a  discovery ! A discovery, because it was already there, in existence before”.

Pradeep CT, Thanks!

19 Responses

  1. Lee
    why dont you share some of your below the surface antiques?
    like.. chasing a shark back to its den on a sub..
    or may be to Russia if thats the way you like it more…
    any way ive got a video for you which i shall try and upload soon.
    its a mallu song but a russian song
    or may be i am not sure if its a russian song but a mallu song.

  2. Yes guys,
    Lets get together and chronicle every aspect of our school life bit by bit.
    Sajith, you being in ONGC should take lead in fuelling it. 😀

  3. Hope the kozhi guys remember that we caught an extra one and kept it in a cardboard box. We wrapped tape around its beak, didn’t we?
    We cooked kozhi and kappa in the same vessel. There was one fire wood party which arranged sufficient wood & brasso and one kappa party too. My God, we were managing events on a grand scale even then…!

    1. I think the hapless creature with its legs tied and beak taped was kept on the terrace over the bathroom corridor(that favorite obstacle of ours which we we used to clear with consummate ease during our endless escapades) and was lying there all day long in the hot sun waiting for the butchers.

  4. Vijay
    My take on this is that, in school we were living together as a cozy bunch of brats.
    So things were done not in an individual capacities, but as a batch.
    Its like, things that CT did, you did too.
    For eg; CT also feels thirsty, you drink water, you feel the pressure on bladder, CT goes to the corner, CT goes to the corner and you wash, you wash and ……….. yes, on a second thoughts, we need to stop it at some level.
    But kozhi kathas and all are ofcourse common treasures.

    (i wanted to add some smileys here like the ones used by biju…. but then i cant….;art challenged….; more smileys please)

    1. I swear to God that example went way past over my head..But as far as Smileys go, Major, here you go 🙂 😀

      1. It went over mine too:) But Prince do you remember the days in Patel as 7th std? Baiju, You,Jude, Tharian, Peter,Vasanth, myself. Can’t remember others. The nicknames and how we all got slapped and punished for weeks together cos we gave 9th std guys nicknames 🙂

  5. @ Vijay..”Maybe as I didn’t drink or smoke those days I did not venture along with you guys.”..LOL..Anticipatory bail, machax? 🙂

  6. Prince,

    So well written!!! I really wish I was part of all those escapades. Maybe as I didn’t drink or smoke those days I did not venture along with you guys.(I was caught in 8th std for smoking with MK, Vasanth and quite a few). The slaps I got from Binu Varghese and Flowerson killed most of my interest in drinking or smooking in school:) But only if we could rewind back the times, I would ve been right in the middle of all those kozhi kathas:))))

  7. “With required stealth and swiftness, its neck is grabbed before it could send out its signature sound ‘KOK’ and the same surgically plucked off its body with great dexterity” – LOL
    This is a sheer palak’kadan’ show of dexterity and expertise. I fondly remember my “Kaaku” uncle who used to demonstrate this to please the taste buds of us little badmaash(s) with a generous spread of grated coconut (which too was plucked with equal show of skill and swiftness

  8. dear ct,
    you forgot to fwd the damsels’ name who were interested in the story or should i collect it from gosh?

    promy’s swish swish knife i remember; it was an automatic penknife.
    he wanted to sort out many people using that, but all with a bend of mind to help out people in distress.

    he is still the same even now,

    you think of him and he is there at hand giving out ways to solve your problems.

    thanks for the comment
    convey my regards to folks at home

  9. CT, was that a “set-square”? I remember something on those lines.. And Gosh’s technological and domain expertise on the Water heater that doubled up for the Kappa Puzhukku!:D..I need to share that.

    1. Biju, It was a broken piece of a plastic ruler acting as an insulator for the rusty razor blades- one of the finest contraptions for a water heater!!!!. Any guesses for the origin of those delicious, mouth watering Kappa? From the backyard of Panicker saaar. By that time he had shut shop as HM, Tagore house. And remember how we tied the safety fuse with a thick wire so that it wont easily blow up till the kappa is done…To HELL with SAFETY !!!

      1. Machax, I was just trying to recall the ‘Special Forces weapon’ used for Kozhi Sacrifices.. One early morning, I recall hearing muttered curses, back at the House, and a mention about having to use set squares to cut the meat. Prince now has cleared the air. Regarding the Kappa chronicles, you can expect one soon..dedicated to Gosh..:)

  10. Yes MS!
    Let us stop playing ostrich regarding our childhood days. it was simply great since it was lived by us. None other than by us individually and collectively with no corrupted interference from the elders, peers and preachers.
    Let’s make a collective effort to chronicle each aspect of it, without being apologetic.
    We were bloody good and rocking.
    Pl contribute and thanks for the support.

  11. Dear, this is just great! I thought of this story quoted at another occasion. Ajay Gosh was there with me at NSS Engg college Palakkad, and on a tour he shared this story with our batch mates and even girls started to tell about this kozhy story…. imagine girls calling and asking “what is this kozhy story”?
    Do you remember Promy’ s knife?

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