KANHANGAD: Kanathil colony, atop a hill in Kodom-Belur panchayat, had an air of festivity. The 42 families from Mavilan tribe in the settlement have joined hands to prepare the biggest feast of their lives.
Around 1 pm, as the convoy of Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar crested the hill, the young girls and elderly women broke into Mangalamkali, the traditional song and dance of Mavilan tribe.
Keeping in line with BJP president Amit Shah’s initiative to connect with the grassroots, the minister had skipped the multi-course lunch at the Central University of Kerala to have his midday meal at the hut of Ramakrishnan K, a resident of the colony and a party worker.
In the ramshackle hut, Javadekar sat cross-legged on the floor plastered with cow dung paste. As the cameras started rolling and flashing, the banana leaf in front of him was filled with more than 10 dishes.
Thoran made of moringa leaves, jackfruit seed, jackfruit, koombu (banana blossom), banana, and jackfruit papadam, tapioca, sambar, achar, the list was on.
“I always like traditional Kerala food. But this spread is original. You will never get it in hotels,” Javadekar said, smacking his lips.
Rohini Raghavan, a former member of the panchayat, said the residents were so poor that these were all they could afford.