‘Rice water is the suspension of starch obtained by draining boiled rice or by boiling rice until it completely dissolves into the water.’
Rice water, yes its our own ‘Kanji vellam’. Its our life drops, linked with the love of our dear ones. Kanji vellam has some etched images in every Keralites mind.
‘Uppitta Kanjivellam’ is a must for our mild diseases. My father who is an adamant fan of Kanji always tell me about the nutrition of kanji and its suppliments. In my mind it has the firmness of my father’s hand and coolness of his smile. I like to drink this with some salt in it. Whenever I refuses to drink this water without any sweet or spicy taste he makes it more acceptable with few drops of ‘Pulissery’ or ‘Rasam’. Life had changed a lot and now I insist my children to drink this precious water during sick days and I have to search Web to convince its nutritious benefits.
‘Mole ithiri Kanjivellam’ the most familiar tone of my childhood memories. Its thanka ammoomma who was the helping hand of my mother. After lot of works she will come to the kitchen door and asked for a large bowl of Kanji vellam. I will watch their with great eagerness to see the way she drink the water with great respect and relief. This water remembers me the labourious days of ‘Thanka ammomma’ .
Its our practice to starch cotton clothes with this water. It has the shades of lines and lines of cotton sarees spread across the neighbouring yard. During rainy days clothes drained in Kanjivellam will have a bad smell. Still munching my mother’s rules for clothes in these water. We have to remove the ‘Kanji pada’ first and then remove any rice remained in the vessel. Still I am continuing the practice with my cotton churidars.
I had read lot of stories related with this kanjivellam in Malayalam literature. Some books also make some images in our mind. An autobiography written by Sri Mannathu Padmanabhan he had described the Kanjivellam and countable number or rice in it. He had got this during his journey towards to make educational institutions for his society. In my mind I consider this water with great devotion given energy to a great man with great aspirations.
My grand mother was also a great devotee of kanji vellam. She had topped up this ‘Kadumanga curry’ or ‘Uppumanga vellam’ or some butter milk. She had told me about its importance in summer days for those in working under the scorching sun.