One of the many memories that I have of my summers with my grandmother, back home in Kochi, was the ubiquitous sound of the horn that Ouseph had fitted onto his cycle when he pedaled his way over to houses to sell fish. He would describe the fish, all of course fresh, gossip a little and of course cuss the political system. This was almost a ritual.
In the meantime my grandmother would have bought the fish and would head out to the waterfront that nestled in the backyard to clean the fish or would ask the help to do it. The discarded silver scales shone like shards of glass. The cat that pretended to be my granmother’s pet would amble in, in the hope of getting a few bones.
The fish as far as I remember was always cooked in an earthen vessel, the mann chatty or a baked mud pot—Mann/Mannu literarily meaning mud. A round-bottomed and a wide-mouth vessel and the bottom sat very snugly on the wood stove. If we saw the mann chatty on the wood stove we never asked what was for lunch. It had to be the fish curry.