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Laddus For The Wedding

by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore,India)

In India we used to have restrictions sometimes on bringing things from one state to another, particularly to a state where there was an acute shortage of the said item. These could be liquor, rice, petrol or even onions. This was mainly to prevent blackmarketeering.

Ramu’s sister’s wedding had been fixed to take place in Bangalore. As the eldest daughter- in- law of the family, I was expected to be there two months earlier to help out with the shopping and other preparations. At that time, there was a serious drought of ‘Besan’ in Karnataka. But the laddus made of besan were de rigeur for a South Indian wedding. So, my mother-in-law had asked me to bring 10 Kg of besan with me from Delhi.

As there was a sort of rationing in Delhi also, I had managed to accumulate about 7 kgs of the precious besan by the time I left Delhi for Bangalore.


Leaving my elder two kids with my husband, I boarded the train with my six month old baby boy and 7 Kgs of the contraband besan apart from the bulky luggage comprising of sarees and some items of the bridal trousseau.

When I entered the compartment, the ladies’ cabin had just one more occupant who was disembarking the next morning. So, I was alone practically for the rest of the journey. I noticed that the next cubicle was occupied by three single men.


Next day, after my co passenger departed, apprehending all sorts of crimes in Indian Penal Code likely to be committed on me, I locked myself in the ladies’ cabin, without my venturing out even to the toilet.

By next day, the three men (who happened to be Air Force Officers), intrigued by my peculiar nomenclature as posted on the sheet pasted outside the compartment __ Mrs. Squadron Leader, made overtures when the door was left ajar by the dining car attendant. Once I got to know that they were our own Air force boys, my interaction with them improved and I gained enough confidence to leave the baby with them and visit the toilet!

When I reached the Bangalore City Station, the boys helped me to get down with the luggage and the baby. But my son, who would normally sulk and nurse his grievances in silence, set up a BIG howl. There I was worrying as to how to keep him engaged on the train, cooped as I was for three whole days and here he was putting up a tantrum and refusing to leave the train !

This tantrum though unnerved me, distressed me and embarrassed me in the beginning proved to be a blessing in disguise.

The Octroi fellow presented himself and caught hold of me as I was a bit late in disembarking. He wanted to check my luggage for the contraband item if any and I was carrying 7 Kgs of besan!

Putting up an aggressive air, I shouted at him. Arriving at one’s own state empowers one mysteriously. Raising my voice above my baby’s bawl, I told him in Kannada, “What sort of an official are you? Can’t you see the baby crying? Instead of helping a lady with a baby, you are insisting on opening my luggage? I am all alone. Don’t bother me with all these rules. Let me go”

The Inspector faced with the unexpected barrage accompanied by the child’s incessant crying, was cowed down and he let me go.

Having CLEARED the Octroi, I triumphantly walked out of the station and met my brother-in –law who was waiting outside to receive me.

AND WE HAD LADDOOS IN THE WEDDING.

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Mar 20, 2011
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Thanks
by: vimala ramu

Thank you,Eva for your encouraging words. Probably you have heard that I have already compiled my writings into 3 books. I find that within no time 50 more blogs are getting ready.But my publisher Prof Lal of Writer's workshop,kolkata is no more unfortunately. As someone commented, publishing my blogs must have killed him!!!

Feb 25, 2011
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Laddus for the wedding.
by: Anonymous

I just read your piece on smuggled besan and wedding laddus. A good way to throw a nosey inspector off the track. These days officials are made of sterner stuff. "If you don't want me to inspect your luggage, cough out at least 25 bucks," he would have said.
You have a load of amusing stories.Perhaps someday you'll compile them into a book.
Eva

Feb 22, 2011
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delay
by: vimala ramu

Sorry for the late response, Geeta. After the early comments, normally I don't go back to the site. It is flattering to know that you are finding qualities in me good enough to emulate.

Feb 19, 2011
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Enjoyed........
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

I have so much to learn from you............Resourcefulness, presence of mind, courage, camouflage........list is endless. But at the moment just enjoyed reading this piece thoroughly.......Sorry for the late response though!

Jan 31, 2011
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thanks
by: vimala ramu

Thank you Pankaja for doffing your hats off to me.

Jan 31, 2011
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Hands off to you!
by: Nuggehallipankaja

You are a courageous resourceful person!

Jan 30, 2011
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Thanks
by: vimala ramu

Thank you Sneha.

Jan 30, 2011
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tasty
by: vimala ramu

Yes, Isabel. It is a tasty sweet indeed like all other Indian sweets.Made properly it can last quite a few days too. Wish I could send you some.

Jan 30, 2011
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saved... not by the bell but---
by: isabel



Saved not by the bell but of your quick wit and presence of mind. =)


This story made me curious how does Ladoo taste like? Googled it and found out that it's made with garbanzos flour, clarified butter, spices, sugar and milk. It must be delicious!
I would like to attend a wedding of this kind one day...

Jan 30, 2011
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Laddus for the wedding
by: Sneha

Well done !

Jan 30, 2011
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Penalty
by: vimala ramu

Yes, India has gone through different stages of shortages though people make such a hullabaloo about onions now.
Well, as for the penalty,I wouldn't have minded paying it. I was not taking it for selling in the blackmarket. It was for personal use. But just imagine me with an open suitcase, open holdall and what not with a baby crying at the top of his voice and trying to convince the octroi fellow.As offence is the best part of defence, I had to take the easy (illegal?!) way.

Jan 30, 2011
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WOMAN POWER
by: vimala ramu

Yes, one should know when to turn on the tears or to make use of someone else's tears. Thank you Seetharam for reading my story.

Jan 30, 2011
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womanpower
by: vimala ramu

Yes, one should know when to turn on the tears or when to make use of someone else's tears!!!

Jan 30, 2011
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The strength a woman !
by: Seetharam

The inspector must have been a very much married man !

Jan 30, 2011
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Enjoyed
by: Sonal

Never knew about such restrictions in India. What'd have been the penalty (other than being deprived of laddoos) had your 7 kgs of besan been detected by the octroi officer?
Enjoyed reading this blog.

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