Most of the stuff written here is in someway or the other related to Loyola School, Trivandum, as the page name suggests. I don’t know whether to classify it as a personal blog. But then 13/18th of my life was spent at Loyola School. So in a way, yes, it is.
This post has been in my mind since AGES. The story takes us one. Two.. hmm.four years back. Ah yes! Tenth standard. Woo!! first public exam year. SCARY year! Fear of the subject, the new teacher and of seeing that tuitions were in fashion, prompted seventeen of us from 10th Loyola to enrol for Chemistry tuitions at Manorama ma’ams classes. She lived quite near the school. Now this teacher, had taught for a long time at Loyola (I Don’t know how long, Can anyone post?) and now after leaving the place had been teaching in Holy Angels ISC for around six years. Wow, she’s old.
Mrs. Manorama Philip (You sure do get many eyebrows rising names when you convert for marriage: D) is without doubt the most complete LADY I know. Perfect language and regal bearing combined with the best of manners made her a gem in the list of the clichéd “old generation” of Loyola’s teaching staff. She, I hear , was the one who had to work hard to make the students of eighth forget what Mr. V.C. Jacob had taught them in 7th.(“Mole is a short form of molecule”)
All our ‘just’ seniors had highly recommended her classes in addition to what we do at school. And they were right. All seventeen of us agree that everything we scored for chemistry exams in tenth we owed her- right down to the last quarter. Of course it would have been a greater favour if she had taken both batches combined. (There was another batch full of HAC girls l) 😀
So every evening we would stay back after school and play half an hour of football after which we would slowly start the lazy walk to her house, which was very often not necessary because GSRTC(Ganesh Sangeeth’s Road Transport Corporation- A Toyota Qualis) had enough space for all seventeen kids- packed denser than they do fish at the Konnamara market. All of us, sweaty and smelly would walk in and hear an earful of “cleanliness” dialogues. Though it was one place we rocked up- noisy I guess- she was one teacher who could make everyone sit quiet –feeling real guilty- with just a silent look. I have seen the same in just one other- Mrs. Radha Nair.
And there were two specimens from the female kind in that class. Fortune, or rather misfortune picked them out of the “ladies” class and placed them here. One of them was from STRS, and the other from SV. I’d rather not mention names: D. But we, being the bastards we were, obviously had other names for them. And would a bunch of snobbish hooligans miss an opportunity to make the smallest comment? I wonder if they enjoyed those classes as much as we did.
This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Mr. Philip. (As I don’t know his first name). Guess he was a nice guy- had a passion for gardening and yes animals.
He kept piranhas in his fish tank and fed it raw beef. UGH.
The couple were as nice to us as anyone could be to this batch of uncivilised barbarians. She used to make payasams and stuff whenever the occasion called for it and all of us were given test doses- and a lot of doses for our heavyweight champ Ganesh.
Among those titbits was the home-made red wine she served during Christmas.
She also took the time to write down the recipe behind my chemistry note. But it was next year when i finally decided to give it a try. And try I did, though I made my own changes in the concentrations of the ingredients: D, resulting in some really potent stuff which made all the drinkers go “oooof”.
I made seven bottles of the “stuff”. And one I took to class and our batch shared it. One I gave to Prabhu sir who took it to the gent’s staffroom and one to the ladies staffroom. The stuff was supposedly too strong and our lady teachers declined the offer. Prabhu sir made off with that bottle too: D. (He asked me if I had added whiskey to it- such was the strength).
The next day our beloved vice principal, Fr. Joseph Eddassery comes to class and called me out to ask “nee innale staffroom il wine koduthu enu kettu. Sheri anno ? “
Me (a bit tensed) : “Yes, Fr.”
VP “Enthada enikku korachu tharathe.. adutha thavana kondu varanam”
The next evening we headed off to math class near Nanancode to one Usha Teacher. And I took another two bottles to that place. Now here we were five of us(Counting the 142 kilo Ganesh as one) – Me, Ashik, Vineeth, Ganesh, George and three girls from HAC. Was a rather small place. And we offered them the drink which on their declination we decided to finish off. Now I had already arrived after taken a large quantity of the stuff at home. And gobbling down most of the rest of it here gave me a very nauseated feeling. I excused myself and went home. Vineeth reportedly had to escort me because I was walking in circles. I swear I wasn’t 😀
Anyways, that incident got kind off well known. With Ganesh going over the edge for the fun of it and yelling at the teacher “Di ushee… pickle edukkedi”
A guy Chris present at the place then, and now in my college has made sure that most guys in my college are aware of my cooking prowess. And of course one of those HAC girls is also here. Don’t know what happened to the other two.
Mrs. Manorama Philip was a great teacher. What she taught me are STILL the only stuff I know in chemistry. And everyone who tasted this stuff had repeatedly asked me to make it again and also for the recipe. So finally, here it is….
Red grapes – 1 KG
Sugar – 1 KG
Boiled, cooled and
kept for a day) – 2 liters (800 x3 bottles – pepsi bottles)
Wheat – 100 grams (The more you use the more fizz you get)
Yeast – 2-3 teaspoons
Wash the grapes to perfect cleanliness. (Yeast doesn’t do so well with bacterial presence). Put them into a clean container- preferably one of those bharanis.
Use the bottom on a steel glass to crush the grapes. No need to worry about the branches and stuff in the bunch. Everything goes in. DO NOT use your hands. Add the sugar, yeast and pour in the water.
Crush the wheat in a grinder or mixer and add to the vessel. Now mix really well with a spoon- NO HANDS please
Cover the vessel and wrap it up in cloth. Make sure its air tight and leave it in a cool dry place. NO FREEZERS.
Twenty four hours later, take it out, stir it with a clean spoon and wrap it back up as it was. Repeat this every day for eleven days. You will observe the colour of the liquid changing and the peculiar smell of fermentation.
Now keep it unmoved for a minimum of 20 days. The more the merrier actually. There are people who keep it for months.
After that is done. Take it out and filter it through a dense cloth- Preferably nylon. Bottle it and keep it in the freezer for a day. You will fine that the fine particles called wine dust settles down at the bottom. Though said to be a healthy substance it destroys the taste of the drink. Decant it off and bottle the wine again.
Think of me, think of her, thank her, pray for me, and enjoy.
Cheers- bon appetite: D
To get White wine, you may use peeled red grapes or simply white grapes.
I strictly am against any of you starting any drinking habits. Don’t blame it on me.