Sombu (Mutka in Hindi) is a utensil used for storing water. It is made up of mud/brass/plastic/aluminum or even stainless steel. The brass Sombu is the most common utensil used in many Indian households in the early years of the post Independence era. I remember seeing my grandparents using this brass vessel. Now a days the sombu has almost faded away from common usage. This post will in no case, help the sombu manufacturers to start a mass production of sombus. But this post will definitely enlighten everyone of the different uses of Sombu.
Sombu - The water vessel
This is the basic use of a sombu. But do not under estimate sombu because of this. This is just the beginning. The Sombu has various other uses too.
Sombu - Peek a Poo
In India, before the advent of the "Toilet system", the green pastures were used by men and women for excretory purpose. The water filled sombu is always taken along for the rear end cleaning process. Thus water from the sombu is used for both drinking as well as cleaning
Sombu - Hit or Miss
The consumption of beetle leaf is very high in India. Sombu is used for the spitting of chewed pawn. Hence Sombu, not only provides, it receives too
Sombu - The decision maker
80 % of India's population comprise of villagers. If there is any dispute in a village the panchayat leader (Naattaamai) resolves the dispute between the villagers. The Naattaamai usually delivers his judgement by sitting under a Bodhi/ Banyan Tree. A sombu is always placed on his left side. If he has the habit of chewing beetle leaf, he will use the sombu as a Hit or Miss object. If not the sombu gives him moral support to pass the judgement.
Sombu - The Sauna Belt
Every woman would aspire to have a perfect figure. The Kareenas and the Deepikas of India have even touched the size zero mark. The market is flooded with all sorts of devices that help women to attain the perfect figure. Most of my friends wear sauna belts underneath their clothes (Do not ask me, how I know it) to have a perfect figure. But many do not know that the sombu is used by women to attain the perfect shape too. A bigger form of Sombu (Kudam in Tamil) is used by women to carry water from well. The water filled kudam is placed on the hips and is carried. This exercise gives a perfect sand-timer shaped figure to women who practice it. This form of exercise is slowly fading away from practice.
Sombu - The Hair conditioner
Some women even had the habit of carrying the Kudam (big sombu) on their heads. It is believed that such an action prevented hair loss and strengthens the hair. It was also used as a curing medicinal form for sinusitis. In the souther state of Tamilnadu, a dance form called Karagaatam is very famous. In this dance form, a kudam is placed on top of the head of the dancer and the dancer balances the kudam without any other support.
Boil some water and pour it in the sombu, add a tea spoon of vaporub. Place your face on top of the sombu and cover your head with a towel. If you have blocked nose, you will feel alright in seconds. If you have a head ache, your head ache will flee. If you have blackheads on your face, they will disappear. Now a days to remove blackheads, one has to shell out 200 bucks in a beauty parlour.
Sombu - The iron Box
With ever increasing power cuts in India, it is very tough to rely on the power supply to iron your clothes using an electric iron box. The brass sombu had been my friend during my college days as an iron box. All I had to do was boil some water and pour it in the sombu and then use it as an iron box to iron my clothes. Believe me! Cotton shirts will become crisp like a paper. No one knew the secret of my crisp cotton shirts back in college. Now you all know it.
If you know any more uses of the brass vessel, please add it in the comments section