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My maiden visit to USA – Chapter 07


Sitting in a corner, sipping and talking.
Pushpalatha came to our seat pushing the cart of drinks and BB asked me what I would like to have, ”wine or whiskey?”
“SambAram , oru peria tumblerle ” I replied showing her, the size of the tumbler I would prefer, completely forgetting my daughter’s instruction that no brass tumblers would be provided in the aircraft and I should not drink the liquid made available in glass or porcelain containers keeping them inches above mouth.
“Sambaram, verum sambaram” I repeated, sliding my shoulder with Ammalu’s, to ensure that I am not an unworthy brahmin, she thinks of..
“Just plain sambaram or pepper- flavored ?” asked BB and her smile revealed that she knew that I was not a teetotaler.
“I will arrange sambaram for you,” Pushpa offered to help, “I have a sealed yogurt bottle and I know how to make the liquid you prefer.”
“Give the outdated oldie any outdated stuff, but give me liquids, I will make my cocktail” BB said.
“Ha, ha, my dear Big Bun, your alcohol is outdated. The Vedas talk about an equivalent to that but was ignorant of SambAram.
“Vainatheya somam, pibha somam, pibhathu vruthraha,
Somam dhanasya somino mahyam dadathu somini.”
“Who told you Soma juice was equivalent to alcohol?” BB questioned me.
I pulled out a book from my shoulder bag and read from a book:
“Soma, in ancient India, an unidentified plant the juice of which was a fundamental offering of the Vedic sacrifices. The stalks of the plant were pressed between stones, and the juice was filtered through sheep’s wool and then mixed with water and milk. After it was offered as a libation to the gods, the remainder of the soma was consumed by the priests and the sacrificer. It was highly valued for its exhilarating, probably hallucinogenic, effect”
See the last sentence ends with, ‘probably hallucinogenic effect'”
“You are confusing Soma with Sura. It was not wine or alcohol, though fermentation may have been used in processing it” BB argued.” Soma was not intoxicating”
“Though immortalizing it was!”
“Immortalizing?” She asked.
I pulled out from my bag another notebook and read:
“a ápāma sómam amŕtā abhūmâganma jyótir ávidāma devân
c kíṃ nūnám asmân kṛṇavad árātiḥ kím u dhūrtír amṛta mártyasya”
We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered.
Now what may foeman’s malice do to harm us? What, O Immortal, mortal man’s deception?
“That thought was the result of hallucination” BB argued.
“Madam, your cocktail is ready” Pushpa placed the tray with the beverage on BB’s table and remarked with a twinkle,”additional glass is there for uncle. Cocktail should always be shared”
“Pushpa, so you decided that I should give her company, after hearing our argument?” I asked her.
“Yes, uncle. My uncle too talks incessantly on ancient wisdom, pulls out a paper sheet now and then from his bag and reads loud ”
“And gives company to women, like Perias?” Ammalu.
“No madam. He sits in a corner, sips and talks”
“Sips and talks alone?” Asked Ammalu again.
“Yes, madam, alone”
“He is a gentleman!” Commented Ammalu.
“He is, madam” confirmed Pushpa.
“‘Why do you look at my face ? Eppidiyo ponkol -do whatever you want” Ammalu expressed her helplessness.
Pushpa’s cocktail was fantastic.
To continue
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