Notes

అట్టేసర అన్నము

అట్టేసర అన్నము  – attesara annam

Did you know that the majority of villagers in India cooking rice drain it before serving? They cook 1 cup of rice with not 2 but 4-5 cups water. Bring to a boil and eventually remove from the stove.

1:2 or 1:2.5 (for old rice) ratio is very much a gas-stove practice, easy for those who can turn a stove down to simmer.  Or who use a pressure cooker.  But apart from practical considerations, over generations people have grown accustomed to vArchina annamu, or strained rice. Ganji, or starch, is a breakfast drink. Strained rice is soggier than the fluffy stuff known as అట్టేసర అన్నము or attesara annam.

The first time we made rice in the haybox to demonstrate in Appalagraharamu village, the women tasted it and said it was like ‘biriyani annamu.” No one drains biriyani because the seasonings and vegetables are cooked right along with the rice. Biriyani is a delicacy not usually made in villages, maybe because the fire stoves cannot handle this precision cooking (even 5 minutes late and the dish is burnt).

The haybox, however, turns out perfect fluffy “jasmine-like” rice (మల్లెపూవు లాంటి అన్నము) without any risk of burning, whether you remove the rice 40 minutes or 8 hours later. Put the rice in the morning, return for lunch to piping hot rice. Take the box with you to work, let it cook en route. Do other work while the rice cooks, you dont have to be around to turn it off! With such a great sales pitch, how could we go wrong? Plus this is more nutritious and saves energy! Saves time, too!

Some village households have taken readily to the haybox and were actually excited about having అట్టేసర అన్నము  without needing to have a gas stove or pressure cooker. And it is catching on. It cooks with <50% of the fuel and pays for itself in a few months.

But many families are reluctant to change the way they cook rice. Some report that they do not like అట్టేసర అన్నము, or fear it is not healthy. “వేడి చేస్తుంది” they add. [It heats the body.]

Imagine someone told you they had a better way to make pasta. Rather than drowning the stuff in water, pour just enough so that it is fully absorbed. Would you do it?

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Letter to Editor

Sold down the river

re: Decades Later, Toxic Sludge Torments Bhopal

Published: New York Times, July 7, 2008

Dear Editor,
What the Chairman of DOW means by “the appropriate investment climate” is a climate in which corporations are not held liable, and in case of disaster, exemplary punishment would be meted to residents for the crime of living near a factory. Survivors of all other such tragedies would be dismissed, “if Bhopalis couldn’t get justce after 23 years struggle, what hope for you?” Even today in corporate law conferences, people audibly shrug off Bhopal “That happened in 1984 …” they say, as if expecting that any survivors must be dead by now. With no liability for the corporation, the path is clear for more such investments, irresponsible industries and escape routes ready in advance.

This is not the first time that matters of justice have been subordinate to concerns for foreign investment in India. In the Narmada Judgment (2000), the Supreme Court of India placed the security of foreign investment over the fundamental rights of its own citizens. This is fancy language for saying that Indians, or “third-world” Indians can be sold down the river by their first-world compatriots. If we buy this and call it democracy, we are indeed living in Orwellian 1984. The only way out is to remember that We All Live in Bhopal.

Aravinda Pillalamarri

well the limit is 150 words. here is the short version sent to NY Times:

Dear Editor,

By “appropriate investment climate,” DOW Chairman means, a climate in which corporations are never liable. In case of disaster, exemplary punishment would be meted to residents for the crime of living near the factory. Complaints would be dismissed, “Bhopalis couldn’t get justice, what hope for you?” Today in corporate law conferences, people loudly shrug off Bhopal “That was 1984 …” they say, as if any survivors must be dead. With no corporate liability, the path is clear for more investments, industries and escape routes ready in advance.

This is not the first time that matters of justice have been subordinate to concerns for foreign investment in India. Gujarat argued for this in the Narmada case (2000). This is fancy language for saying that Indians, or “third-world” Indians can be sold down the river by their first-world compatriots. If we buy this and call it democracy, we are indeed living in Orwellian 1984.

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