Thus flowed the toddy or ‘white water’ across Telangana villages, during the COVID-19 lockdown

Daring the warmth, we got down to Telangana’s Siddipet district for a style of the season’s recent palm toddy. People of the district declare that they’ve zero COVID-19 instances, crediting authorities for effectively quarantining those that returned to their houses when the all India lockdown was introduced in March. The toddy tappers nonetheless, jokingly declare it’s the magic of their ‘white water.’

‘White water’ is the locally-coined time period for palm toddy (kallu) as a result of the toddy tappers really feel something with an English identify sells higher. As we drive previous Siddipet city and method the villages, we see palm bushes with pots hanging from the prime. Despite the blazing solar, the greenery round the space is soothing.

We skip the toddy tappers at the entrance street to Ankerapalli village, 15 kilometers from Siddipet city, as a result of it’s crowded. About 10 automobiles are parked exterior the shacks, a sign that toddy is in demand regardless of the challenges of social distancing. With lockdown eased in Telangana permitting inter-district journey in Green zones, travellers taking the NH 365B are making pit stops for a fast drink.

Heart of plam fruit called ‘munjal’ in Telugu

Heart of plam fruit referred to as ‘munjal’ in Telugu
| Photo Credit:
Prabalika M Borah

Inside the village, the solely sound is the tap-tap echo of males climbing and descending palm bushes with toddy. The sound is created when the tapper strikes the harness tied to his waist. Made of rubber and excessive responsibility plastic ropes the harness is used as a device to steadiness from the tree. The toddy tappers refuse to shake palms with guests. “You might not be infected, I might be. When health experts say we must maintain distance let’s always do it. It is for our safety,” says 45-year-old Raju, coming down from the tree after felling a couple of bunches of toddy fruit (munjal) for us to be served. The gelatinous, comfortable fruit is simple to eat. It is full of mildly candy water paying homage to tender coconut.

Akhil Goud, a toddy tapper in Siddipet, Telangana

Akhil Goud, a toddy tapper in Siddipet, Telangana
| Photo Credit:
Prabalika M Borah

Akhil Goud, one other toddy tapper arrives on a two-wheeler, from the deal with of which hold two pots of palm toddy frothing at the brim, harvested a couple of minutes in the past. He palms every of us a leaf of the palash tree (moduga in Telugu) and provides a fast demonstration on maintain it, and drink from it. As we drink, he pours the toddy steadily, tailoring his pours to the pace at which every of us drinks.

To use ‘moduga’ leaf as receptacles, one should maintain each ends of the leaf with the index and thumb of every hand, bringing it nearer to resemble a small cup. The leaf is the greatest various if you happen to favor to not drink from a bottle. The toddy is good, indicating that it’s recent. The longer it stays in the pot and warmth, the extra it’s going to ferment, creating an fringe of sourness together with a heady kick.

Kallu replaces whisky this yr

Sight of Palm trees from a distant in Siddipet, Telangana

Sight of Palm bushes from a distant in Siddipet, Telangana
| Photo Credit:
Prabalika M Borah

“During the lockdown with ‘hard-liquor’ shops shut, we were the heroes; people thronged our village for toddy but we had to maintain distance and sell. So we only sold them when they handed us bottles,” says Akhil.

He provides, “In the village, our entry and exit points were closed, so we didn’t have outsiders coming in. We stay here, eat our own produce and only sell toddy. Since our district is COVID-19 free, we feel safe.”

Are they promoting to individuals exterior their district? “Only at the toddy huts. We do not allow too many people from outside into our village. The demand for toddy has gone up with people opting to have fresh, natural foods. It is a good thing for us and for consumers as well. As long as toddy is natural and unadulterated, there is nothing to fear,” he smiles.

In pre-pandemic days, the village had a gradual stream of vacationers who would go to for toddy picnics. “There are a few good home cooks here, so they engage them for a simple meal of country chicken with rice or chapati,” says 42-year-old farmer Chintakaya Ravi.

As we sip our toddy appreciatively, a person approaches, carrying a bag. Akhil introduces him to us as Kanakaya. He opens the bag to disclose a bowl of spicy natu-kodi (nation hen) curry and chapatis that he has introduced us for lunch. We calm down for a memorable meal, set to the rythm of the tappers going about their work. In the background a brilliant muster of peacocks scream.

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