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Sep 18, 2022 / By Tarun Agarwal / in Ecommerce , Electronic
It was back in early nineties, I used to be 6 or 7 when I helped my father with his “AATA Chakki” (Flour Mill) in my small ancestral village in Rajasthan, less than a km away from Haryana Border.
After my school, I spent most of the time in mill, which was adjacent to my home with a small entrance from rear side of it. When there was a power cut (usually longer than power supply duration). I completed my homework sitting in middle of sacks filled with wheat or BAJRA (millet). And then there was plenty of time to play “Kaanch goli” in front of the mill or using the traditional weighing scale for a swing.
Once the power returned, we didn't waste a minute to pull up the lever to start the motor which was connected via a wide belt to the grinding machine (Chakki with two large stones), here is the photo. I used to fill up the metal canister with the grain from the heavy sacks, put them on the ramp near the mill and empty in the top barrel. I still wonder, How, a boy with hardly 20 Kgs of weight used to pick a 25-30 Kg canister all by his own and all day. May be that was because I kept on chewing the wheat and millet all day and then strength came from practice. I'm not sure If could bring a medal in weightlifting if I was aware or if we didn't have to think only about putting food on the table somehow.
While I cherish the work I did then, I'm happy to have strong foundation and I'm happy to help my little hands contributed to my family eat, all that is not rosy, I lost my elder sister to the same flour mill. It was winters and she was passing through the mill. Her shawl was caught by the Belt between Mill Machine and motor. Within seconds she was strangled. My memories of her, being very pretty and a very caring sister, would never fade away. :( Your little Brother Miss you Laxmi Didi :(
But we could no way blame the machinery and could hardly halt it. We had some responsibility to feed (not literally) an area of 20 odd kilometers. People from nearby 3-4 villages used to carry sacks filled up with wheat mostly on Oxcart, Tractor Trolley, bicycle or carrying by their own on shoulder in the process, it used to be nothing less than an administrative office.
Everyone wanted the Flour before others jumping the queue and we, the father son duo with some Neighbours help, tried to run the machine as long as possible day and night to keep up with the demand.
Why It wouldn't be, it wasn't about the Fiber Intake, but about the main component of all Meals in North Indian States, ROTI (Chapati)!!
I'm not sure when the packed Flour bags appeared in market, But I wasn't aware of it until I moved to a metro city and until 2005, I always thought everywhere there were such flour mills and that was the only source of getting Flour. in fact, until I left my small hometown, I wasn't even aware that somebody can also eat something else other than ROTI SABZI (chapati with vegetable), RICE was cooked in our home twice or thrice a year out of which white boiled rice was a rarity.
If the packed “AASHIRVAD AATA” was already not a surprise, which I didn't like much initially because of quantity of Choker that dependent upon the flour thickness. Metro city had in bag more surprises, When I saw a small AATAMAKER FLOUR MILL at somebody's home. It was a mini replica of what we had in our village in nineties.
It had everything, the barrel, the grinding stones, the levers to control flour thickness and one change, it had no separate motor with a belt, but the motor was fitted in a compact body. Brings back horror memory, thankfully it'd not harm a kid. I do not have a photo of that I saw in 2007-08 but here is the one very similar to that: -
This one was the very basic of what I saw more of the variant later with me moving through variety of social circles. knowing this machine for 30 odd years now, I can surely count on some technical aspects which one do we need to go for. But first,
I'll be very honest when My mother insisted on buying one some 5 years back, I was annoyed and thought she only wanted one because she does it all the time for the things somebody else in her friend circle (not only about this but any other thing). and the second part, I assumed there is going to be noise every now and then. barring some instances when I wanted a longer sleep than that of being disturbed by the machine noise, I am happier having variety of food that My mother has subjected me to. for me, it is variety of grain she has made part of our food and nothing can match “that” taste.