Food

Some more, please?

His business draws 200 to 300 customers every evening, which reportedly include mainstream film stars, TV serial actors and businessmen. “Among my regulars are those who drive around in a Jaguar, BMW and Benz,” says S. Ramajeyam, better known as Thatha Mor.

He sells them buttermilk. Yes, you heard me right, it is buttermilk. He has no shop to sell it from, and goes to the Thiruvanmiyur-Kotivakkam beach, where crowds assemble, drawn by the tangy taste of his buttermilk ( mor in Tamil). People are believed to even call and book a glass of buttermilk from Thatha Mor.

 I ask him what could be special about buttermilk, which is made at every home, a question many others have put to him.  He smiles. “The seasoning is the speciality and what goes into the seasoning is my secret!” He tells me the process, but keeps the secret.

Every day, he buys 30 litres of full cream milk to prepare fresh buttermilk. Add-ons such as fresh-cut mangoes and spicy boondhi give the buttermilk, sold at Rs. 15 a cup, its special taste and aroma.

A native of Kuripungulam in Thoothukudi district, Thatha Mor (52), had earlier found it difficult to make ends meet working as a watchman. He became a street hawker, selling pongal and tea. The enterprise failed.  

Later, a few acquaintances suggested he sell cold buttermilk in scorching Chennai. He took up the suggestion and began to sell buttermilk at the beaches from 2002. Until 2011, the business did not seem very profitable. His popularity was slowly growing, though. In the last three years, he has been pleasantly overwhelmed by the huge demand for his buttermilk.

A sole breadwinner, he is now able to support his family of three – wife R. Pameela (42) and their sons, Karthikeyan (16) and Dhavasanasi (13). He also sells Masala paal for which he buys milk separately. On an average, he makes Rs. 20,000 per month.

Over weekends, his cell phone buzzes with constant calls and orders from his customers, which is when his family steps in and lends a helping hand.  “It is very hectic and, at my age, stressful. But hard work pays and I’m ready to go to any extent to ensure the quality of the mor and the masala paal I serve my customers,” says Thatha Mor.

He covers Thiruvanmiyur beach from 9.30 p.m. to 12.00 a.m. and continues his business on East Coast Road near Kotivakkam till 3.30 a.m.

Thatha Mor can be contacted at 9566231674.  

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 10:32:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Food/some-more-please/article6016629.ece

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