Thursday, September 10, 2015

An adventures Drink..............

Majority of the Sri Lankans are Buddhist. In Buddhism use of any form of liquor or drugs considers has a sin. But large percentages of Sinhalese Buddhist are not following this at all. We have several kind of local liquor, but toddy consider as the most local natural product. Even this is a small country we have mainly three different kind of toddy depending on the area. Coastal area of the southern part of the country has coconut toddy.
 Jaffna and north province they have palmairha toddy. Central hills highlands and Sabaragamuwa area they have Kithul Toddy. Toddy making is an art; everyone can’t make Toddy just because you have a coconut tree in your garden.

Today is the sap from palm, Palmyra, or coconut trees used as a beverage and sometimes as an alternative to yeast to foment rice flour. To collect the sap, the flower bud is cut at the tip before it blossoms and an earthen pot is hung to collect it. This traditional method of collecting toddy is slowly becoming a rare scene largely due to government restrictions and non- availability of skilled hands to actually do the job.
If you are a coconut Toddy fan I recommend you to go to Payagala, which is few kilometers away from Katutura town. Toddy in Sinhalese term known as “RA”
There is a place called “Raa cantima”.(the toddy Cafeteria”” where they sold fresh toddy, just brought down the coconut trees. The sweet extract tasted deliciously good but also gave an instant intoxicating feeling.
The traditional toddy tapper strapped around his waist the tools of his trade. The most important is the ‘labu katey’ this could be a clay pot or now a day’s plastic pot, a round container which is used to collect the toddy. A small wooden box holds his implements. Most important among these are the tapper (thalanaya), a wooden stick or  a bone of a cow resembling rounded hammer with which pounds the flower, and very sharp  knife which is used to cut the coconut flower. The box holding his tools and the labu katey are secured to the waist by a broad band tied around the sarong, thus leaving the s hands free to climb. Also hanging from the waist is a coil of rope. With this simple equipment the toddy tapper is ready to start on his hazardous job.
All the Toddy tappers in India,Sri lanka,they are using this requirements,but In Sri lanka we have our own way of doing certain things, Well it is not about how we making toddy, it’s about how we climb trees.
But what fascinated is the way the Sri Lankan toddy tappers went about with their work. Coconut trees are high and far apart. If one tapper has to cover over 10 trees, it is very hard for him to scale the trees repeatedly. To avoid the hassle and to save time, they have evolved a quick but a risky method of transferring themselves from one tree to another without actually climbing down. This Know as in Sinhalese “ATHURE YANAWA”.
They tie strong three-stranded ropes made out of coconut fiber (coir). When the tapper finishes one tree, he races to the other adjacent tree placing his feet on the unsteady rope and a separate rope to hold him from falling.
 They rely on the speed as it minimizes losing the balance and accidentally falling down to the ground. It was a breath-taking event for me to see the toddy tapper cross-crossing the trees on the flimsy ropes just like a circus trapeze artist, but without a safety net below.
Apparently there have been unfortunate events in many cases where they have slipped and fallen down to the ground either to their death or to permanent injury. Unfortunately, even today, toddy tappers in Sri Lanka are some of the poorest people, relying heavily on the income they get from selling their toddy. Taking this big risk is a small price they pay to feed their families.
Well Life is also like a tight rope to walk carefully. A slightest mistake will caused falling us from the rope.

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