Avakaaya Dandakam

A poetic tribute in Telugu

Sujatha Ratnala
2 min readMay 10, 2023

Was delighted to see this video shared by my mother. A dandakam-styled light parody, and poetic tribute to the epicurean aavakaaya.. Avakaaya is the king among pickles. The word aavakaaya comes from aava and kaaya, which literally means ‘uncooked raw vegetable kaaya, that has been pickled with mustard powder aava’. And the word for pickles in Telugu is ooragaya.. ‘that raw vegetable kaaya which has been oozing oora with spices and oil’..

Writing this translation for a dear foodie friend of mine.

If you are a foodie and love pickles, welcome to this post. Enjoy the visuals, the poetry, and the lightmeaning.. I really don’t know who the author or the singer is. It is certain that her heart prides and swells in the divinity of cooking.


Shri Mahavishnu having basked in my mind.. the uppu, kaara and ava podi having been mixed.. having taken the blessings of LakshmiNarayana.. having excited the taste buds of the manavaas.. having mixed with the oils.. walks this celebrity of the households..

O mother.. you shine in the households of telugus.. you got glory to the telugus.. you are the dear one for the telugus.. I cannot forget you a single day..

The king among the pickles.. you verily are the sister to maagaya, and the co-sister to menthikaaya.. you are the mother among all pickles made with veggies.

Aha what a ruchi! a bite of mudda-pappu daal-rice with steaming rice and ghee.. and a side of aavakaaya.. ain’t it Brahma’s adbuta creation?

That festive spread on the banana leaf.. is just zilch without a serving of aavakaaya..

You are festivity to the eye.. And every grain of anna delish in this heavenly combo of uragaaya anna..

There is no Telugu home with you O amma.. There is no trupti that matches your taste O amma..

The day may be blazing and the tongue may be burning.. The mouth sighs assu ussu and yet this dil maange more, and craves your naamams, and delights in the taste O amma..

Dosa, pesarattu, dibba rotti you pair with.. and present heaven in this world.. And as I relish each morsel, have an easy darshan of all the Gods of the Universe O amma..

O amma.. May you bless every household with good health, stability, peace.. Namaste..



Sujatha Ratnala

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Patterns, Science, Linguistics, Sanskrit et al..