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Recently, I bought a choppu set (miniature kitchen utensils) for a friend's daughter. Delightedly, she ran to her room to start playing. After a while, she came back to us, looking puzzled. "Amma, what's this?" she asked, holding up a kal-ural (grinding stone). "It's something you use to grind mavu for idli," my friend explained. "But how?" the little girl demanded.
My grandmother was perhaps the most practical woman I knew. I used to visit her house once a year when I was a child, the home where my mother and her siblings grew up. It was in a small town, with fe...