Saturday, June 21, 2014

STAINLESS STEEL IN THE KITCHEN MADE THE TRADITIONAL KALAAIWALA IDLE. .


                                                                             


STAINLESS STEEL   IN THE KITCHEN  MADE  THE TRADITIONAL  KALAAIWALA OR KALAAIGOR   IDLE.  .

Kalaaigor or Kalaaiwala  was an important part of kashmiri society . He would either be seen in his   shop and at times  hawking around residential areas  in villages and cities . The hawking kalaaiwala or  Kalaaigor would come with a bag that had charcoal, shining white TIN metal  coils , Ammonium chloride which people in Kashmir called Navsaadhar  and the airing Bellows ( Daman Bastaa  in kashmiri )  for igniting and airing charcoal . Sometimes  the Airing Bellows were replaced by a small machine type Fan with handle .
The hawking  kalaaigor or kalaaiwala was generally a kashmiri  ,however  During summers , one could see  some  Kalaaiwalas from Plains visiting  various Localities in srinagar city  crying …
           “PAANDE KALI KARA LO ”
This hawking kalaaiwala or  kalaaigor  would dig earth to create a small pit and put charcoal in it. Thereafter he would connect the pipe of  the airing bellows  with this pit so as to  fan air  to the charcoal. The mini furnace for tinning was thus ready . Now he would heat the surface of the Pot to be tinned  , sprinkle some ammonium chloride which created a  deep white smoke and  then immediately  he would rub the  shining Tin coil over the pot . The tin metal would melt and then he would spread this shining tin over the entire surface of the pot by a cloth held in  his hand .After this , the tinned  pot was put in a  tub or bucket  full of water to cool . The sudden contact of the hot utensil with the water created a shrill and sharp sound .That was tinning . I  would myself carry brass utensils  to the spot where the Hawking  Kalaaiwala  or kalaaigor would sit in our Mohalla for tinning utensils . It was amusing to see a kalaaiwala or kalaaigor at work.

 A kalaaigor or kalaaiwala was sought after by  Pandits and Muslims for tinning Brass and copper utensils respectively . Traditionally, copper or brass kitchen utensils were lined with tin, to prevent the minerals from migrating to the cooked food or  to prevent acidic foods reacting with copper or brass that could  prove harmful. These  utensils needed a kalai or retinning job every third  month.

I talked to a kalaaiwala or kalaaigor in Srinagar last year who informed me as under

“ Jenab this stainless  steel and the pressure cooker in the kitchen   has killed us. Now people have jugs , cups , glasses , pots , plates and almost all the kitchen items made from stainless steel. Copper utensils in the kitchen are rarely seen now . Business prospects are drying up day by day. This art has lost the charm. Yes we get these Samovars  and  Traamis ,  Deechvaaris  and Deghs  now . These are being mostly used in   marriage functions   .For us that old   business is over. “

 During my posting at  Amritsar , i visited almost entire Punjab including interior villages.  I was surprised to  observe that the Traditional Kalaaiwala had  disappeared from Punjab .My landlord  in Amritsar    told me ..

" Hunn te Koyee Labdhaa hi Nahin ji . Na te O paande hain te na kissi kol innaa time hegaa .  or  now no Kalaaiwala is seen around . Neither do we have those utensils nor do we have that time now."

( Autar Mota 21.06.2014 )


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