Fiction Fragment: In which Kantha gives her Muesli

She wonders how careful she has to be. Three years in some foreign land isn’t a long time. But some habits change. The body becomes more vulnerable to dust. Though, in her memory, pollen in India never really disturbed her. But more than matters of immunity, she has these sudden panic attacks. What if her friends catch a tiny glint of an foreign accent. Ten years back, if you had an American accent, people assumed you were rich enough to travel, and that you caught an accent on a transit flight via New York. Now, they think you work in a call centre.

At home, her parents have left for work. Kantha, the wrinkled maid asks her what she wants for breakfast. For three days, everyone thought she’d be homesick for idlis and dosais. So that’s what she ate. But her tongue’s yearnings have changed. She prefers muesli. She tells Kantha she wants muesli. Kantha wonders why Pushpavalli wants mooku-shaliMooku-shali (Tamil): Snot/ Phelgm .

She explains that it’s just that crumbling thing in the box to be added with milk. Kantha, brimming with love for the girl who has come back after three years, adds boiling hot milk. Pushpavalli stares at the soggy mess. Unable to explain that it’s cold milk she wanted, she attempts forcing the hot soggy concoction down her throat. Suddenly, mooku-shali is the right word for it.


This entry was posted in Poetry and Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Fiction Fragment: In which Kantha gives her Muesli

  1. Nilu says:

    I can see the shali on my screen. Vividness is not always a virtue.


  2. firstrain says:

    omg! omg! omg! I was just staring at the packet of muesli on my kitchen shelf yesterday and thinking that I quite like this and wondering whether I will get the same kind back home or not! OMG!


  3. Primalsoup says:

    Hah, and you are allegedly suffering from a Writer’s Block!!

    I used to always call the Sitafal/ Custard Apple Mooku-Shali Pazham and took immense pleasure in letting people know that just as they bit into one.


  4. mr bojangles says:

    and thats how N got her mues!


  5. LOL :).. isnt this what you had to go through when you came here? :p


  6. Hari says:

    Personal Experience?


  7. ammani says:

    Hilarious! I have had soggy cornflakes on several occasions when I was in India. And now, the very thought is revolting.


  8. megha says:

    My mum cannot understand my love for oatmeal. She would harp on about how I could eat something which looked like cooked cat-sick. And now this post brings about stunning images of cat-sick and mooku-shali in a bowl. Thanks a ton, Neha.


  9. Naren says:

    Reminds me of a kindergarten chum called Mooku-shali Ramanarayanan – used to keep licking Mooku-shali!


  10. DoZ says:

    After a week of idli and dosa, on the flight back I was almost close to tears when I was given a ‘continental’ breakfast… Ah the joys of a stale croissant šŸ™‚ Good post!


  11. Nilu says:


    It’s dosaI. Now, say that again.


  12. Uma says:

    Yuck I refuse to read a story on mooku bloody shalli. Anyway, are you sure mookushalli also translates as phelgm?


  13. dipali says:

    Glad to have you back, Neha. Enjoyed the muesli!


  14. Paras says:


    I’m blog-crawling tonight. Might drop by again soon. šŸ˜€


  15. Divya says:

    Only post featuring mooku-shali & idli in the breakfast menu… hilarious!


  16. Ravages says:

    Thou hath dareth to sully the name of mine brand. Thou shalt be taken to court!


  17. km says:


    (@Nilu: It’s “Dosai” only for those living south of Karnataka :))


  18. Nilu says:

    DoZ does. Well, did.


  19. Srikanth says:

    Interesting one…

    [Now, they think you work in a call centre]
    Very true… Particularly if you look younger.


  20. mumbaigirl says:

    yuck, yuck, yuck.


  21. Ambar says:

    Dose in Karnataka, Dosa to its east!


  22. Shripriya says:

    Eww… I already hate oats (not muesli) – the texture and consistency, the taste, everything. And now when I force myself to eat it, I will think of mooku-shali. YUCK!!!


  23. rishabh says:

    haha! well written.


  24. kavi says:

    Lovely ! Well written !