Atul and Petul were two sisters who lived on the outskirts of a village . Their parents died when they were very young, so they had to fend for their lives by themselves. During the day they would go to the nearby village and beg for food and return to their hut by night to sleep. One day an old lady gave them an idali * to eat. Both the sisters loved it so much that they decided to prepare it by themselves. They gathered all the ingredients. Soaked the lentils in the afternoon, and ground it sitting on the stone grinder. In the night they mixed the ground lentils with rice powder and kept it for fermentation. Everything was done as per the old lady’s instructions.
Next morning they got up early, with the thought of eating hot idalis. But Oh! No! There was no wood to light the stove! The sisters grabbed a machete and a rope and rushed to the nearby jungle to gather dry wood. “Chop! Chop! Chop!” Atul started chopping the wood from a tree. A dugout close to the tree was the home of a tiger. He heard the loud noise of wood chopping and crawled out. “ Whose that? Who is chopping off the trees?” roared the tiger. Atul and Petul froze in fear. A huge angry tiger was looming over them bearing his big fangs.
Atul, gathered her wits and replied ” O Brother! We are preparing idalis. We need some fire wood to steam them.” “Did you say idalis?”. the tiger asked .” Then you can take the wood but keep some idalis for me.” He ordered. “ Oh sure, Brother tiger! Come for lunch, idalis would be ready by then”. Promised the girls.
Atul and Petul came home and steamed the idalis. The aroma of steamed idalis made them very hungry. “ Let me try one” said Atul and opened the piping hot streamer. “ Hmmm…. “ she ate one, and then one more, and more. Soon both the sisters together finished off the pot full of idalis. Once they realized that there were no idalis left for the tiger, they got scarred. Atul hid in a large clay pot in the corner and Petul covered herself with a sack and hid near the grinding stone. Meantime, tiger woke up with the smell of steamed idalis. He stretched himself and was all ready to feast on idalis. As he approached the hut of two sisters, he roared “ Where are you girls? Bring those idalis out! I am famished!”
There was no reply from the hut. The tiger walked into hut and in the kitchen he saw the empty pot, and realized he was taken for a ride. He roared in anger “You wicked girls! You tricked me and ate all the idalis ? Now I am going to eat you both”. Atul, who was hiding in the pot, started shaking in fear and the tiger noticed the shaking pot and came to know the girls were hiding inside the pot. He grabbed the pot in his jaws and started walking back to the jungle. Atul knew her days are numbered. Soon she would be killed by the tiger. And all of a sudden there was a loud sound …. “Thooooooooo”.
Tiger heard the strange sound and thought a hunter has come in the jungle to kill him. He dropped the pot and ran for his life. Atul slowly came out of the pot and after making sure that tiger had gone away, ran back home. She then described to her sister how the tiger ran away dropping the pot.
“ But sister what was that sound that scarred the tiger? “ Asked Petul. “ Oh no dear sister.” Atul said in hushed voice,” I had eaten too many idalis and my stomach was upset with indigestion. Out of fear I let out a very loud fart and that’s what scared the tiger.” The sisters could not stop laughing and they laughed their hearts out.
*Idali or Idaly-are a type of savory rice cake, originating from the Indian subcontinent and popular as breakfast dish in southern India . The cakes are made by steaming a batter made of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice.(Wikipedia)
Story by : Maya Kharangate
Image source: wikipedia