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Coimbatotre-based G Thavalingam, among the many previous couple of sellers of jow mittai in Tamil Nadu, on the thrill of constructing sweet for a residing

Coimbatotre-based G Thavalingam, among the many previous couple of sellers of jow mittai in Tamil Nadu, on the thrill of constructing sweet for a residing

Each day at midday, G Thavalingam catches a bus to Karumbukkadai after a meal of rice, rasam, and poriyal. He carries with him treasured cargo: freshly-made jow mittai wrapped in plastic paper, mounted on a bamboo pole that he balances on his shoulder. On the prime of the pole sits a doll with cymbals for palms. Thavalingam walks to his common spot within the neighbourhood, and tugs at a rope on the pole that brings the cymbals collectively: ‘Clang, clang, clang’. And the youngsters would come working.

This has been his routine for 3 many years: he not often takes a time without work. Once I met the 55-year-old 10 years in the past at his Puliakulam home, jow mittai had its sheen intact: one may nonetheless discover males promoting them avenue to avenue throughout Tamil Nadu. However they’re turning into rarer and rarer. Which is why I went in search of the person one morning.

Right this moment, after two years of unpredictability as a result of pandemic, throughout which a number of males who offered the sweet have both retired or moved on to different jobs, Thavalingam continues to do what he does greatest. Enterprise has picked up over the previous few months and he’s a cheerful man.

Thavalingam, shows how jow mittai is made. He adds lemon juice to sugar syrup and lets the concoction boil till he attains a certain consistency. He then pulls the resulting semi solid by hand and adds food colour

Thavalingam, exhibits how jow mittai is made. He provides lemon juice to sugar syrup and lets the concoction boil until he attains a sure consistency. He then pulls the ensuing semi strong by hand and provides meals color
| Photograph Credit score: Siva Saravanan S

“That is one thing I do know effectively,” he says, lighting the range to put an aluminum container with a combination of 1.25 kilograms of sugar, two tumblers of water, and the juice of two lemons. He’ll let it boil until it attains a gooey consistency: this could take wherever between 20 to half-hour. “I’m from a household of farmers. We nonetheless maintain some land at Usilampatti close to Madurai,” he says. However lack of rains, mixed with a number of different elements, pushed him to search for different alternatives to earn a residing.

“That is how I ended up in Coimbatore after I was 18,” he says, stirring the watery sugar syrup. His brother was promoting the sweet then and Thavalingam took after him. “There have been 50 individuals who made jow mittai within the metropolis, some 20 years in the past,” he says. Right this moment, solely a handful exist.

Jow mittai, Thavalingam says, has its origins in Mumbai. “The late Kannuchamy, additionally from my hometown, was the primary one to study the craft in Coimbatore,” he explains. “He was legendary for the intricate methods through which he formed the sweet. I’ve heard that he may make grand chariots and camels.” The person taught a number of others; most jow mittai makers within the metropolis observe Kannuchamny’s strategies.

Thavalingam crafts his candy into various shapes. Here, he has made a watch

Thavalingam crafts his sweet into numerous shapes. Right here, he has made a watch
| Photograph Credit score: Siva Saravanan S

 “This isn’t a simple job,” he says, including: “I’m on my toes all day.” However he enjoys the method: he will get to breathe within the candy odor of sugar syrup each morning, interacts with youngsters, and munches on his sweet on and off.

The molten mass is now able to be pulled by hand. Thavalingam suggestions it onto a plate and lets it cool. He then stretches it in repeated motions, pulling it like elastic, till it turns into a pearl-white rubbery mass.   

“The opposite day, I noticed jow mittai squares in plastic wrappers offered at a store,” he says, reasonably amused. He did cease to surprise if it was the tip of the street for individuals like him. However when he tried it, his fears had been allayed. “It was machine-made and was fairly exhausting. A bit was offered for ₹35.” His mittai will survive for now.


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