Rasam of Pudukulam
In the Pudukottai principality, there was a person named Seshaiya Shastri who was the Diwan. I have already written about him in the article titled Ayyanar.He is the one who rebuilt the Pudukottai Ayyanar Temple!
An eminent scholar! He is a skilled administrator too!
The people of Pudukottai still remember stories of all his feats.
During my walk from Bhuvaneshwari temple to Pudukulam yesterday in Pudukottai, I recollected an interesting event from Seshayya Sasthri's life..
Once, there was a cook in the palace. Shastri, who was the authority, was questioning him about his skills.
“What can you cook?”
The chef proudly said, “Even if a thousand people come at the same time, I will cater them with delicious recipes.”
“That’s all right; do you know how to make rasam?” said Dewan.
The cook took this as an insult.
“I am the one who can make so many delicacies! Are you asking me if I know how to make a simple item like rasam?” he said.
Diwan said, “Yes, that is the right question. If Rasam is prepared in the right way, its smell, quality, taste, and spiciness will be wonderful. Therefore, if one has prepared Rasam properly, it means that he can make other items as well.”
“I’ll make a wonderful, delicious Rasam” said the cook.
“You can cook for ten people at home! Can you make rasam with the same taste and flavor in a place where thousands of people eat?” Asked the Diwan.
The cook is now even more furious!
At that time, the big pond named Pudukulam was famous for drinking water in Pudukottai.
“Why do you limit it to about a thousand people? If you can do as I say and buy the ingredients in the right quantity as I ask, I will make this Pudukulam pond full of delicious rasam,” he said boldly.
Divan shows no surprise!! He was ready for that. “Oh! Is that so? Let’s see that too. What should be done from my side?” he asked.
The pond needs to be cleaned, so pump it out.. You should prohibit anyone from entering the pond for two weeks.. You have to buy the stuff I’m asking about. If you do that, I will prepare the rasam in Pudukulam.”
Seshaiya Shastri immediately accepted and ordered the pond to be emptied.
He bought the quantity of dal, salt, tamarind, chillies, asofoetdia, etc. as told by the cook.
The cook added them to the pond, as per his calculations. Slowly, he pumped in the water to fill the pond based on his measurements.
Even on a normal day in Pudukottai, the sun will scorch you. I couldn’t walk for five minutes, even in the month of August. So hot!
During the episode, it was a splendid summer. The rasam was heated well by the sun for some time.
Then he took the rasam from it and gave it to the Diwan.
Dewan also tasted it. Amazing flavour! He praised the chef profusely and gifted a gold thoda (bangle) for the cook’s hand, which made the remarkable rasam.
This incident came to mind when I saw the gigantic size of the new pool!
Immediately, there was awe!What kind of skilled artist would one be if one could prepare a rasam in such a large pond?
The Diwan who brought out his talent by challenging such a person—what kind of administrator would he have been?
Will we see more of such talent and management skills again? The question arose in my mind!.