Of piggybacks and a sack of salt


If you are an aunt or uncle, a grandma or grandpa, an older cousin or a mom or dad to young kids, you must have, at some point in time, belonged to the Piggyback Club.

I still remember being given piggyback rides by my Dad and Uncle.  Mad spins in the living room, and a gentle drop from Dad’s shoulders to the soft couch!

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Courtesy – http://www.canstockphoto.com

And it was never enough!  Where I grew up, we called this ‘Uppu Mootai’, which translates to ‘Sack of Salt.’

During my childhood, along with the small convenience stores – which sold just about everything under the sun – street hawkers were quite popular too.

They hawked their goods in different sing-song voices. I remember the man who sold ‘greens’, who had this cackling voice. We could set our clocks by his loud voice, he was so punctual.

Then we had the vegetable seller, who had a push cart that was loaded to the brim with colourful and healthy veggies.

Then again, there was the man who sold salt. He usually came once in a fortnight, and had a deep but loud voice, which said, “Uppu, Uppu”, meaning salt, salt. He called out with no modulation at all. The periods of silence between each of his shouts was precise. Uppu, uppu..pause pause pause..Uppu, uppu.

The salt man usually carried the salt in a gunny bag that was slung on his back.

When children were given piggyback rides, the adults carrying them probably looked like  ‘salt sellers’.

The name has stuck. Even today people use the name Uppu Mootai for piggybacking.