Quintessentially Malayali, the thorth is simple, sans fuss, low-key as hell but bloody effective. It’s our gamcha. An intrinsic part of our persona. It’s so important to us that we don’t give it much thought at all.
Sometime ago, there was this video clip that went viral in God’s Own, a quirky ode which showed how versatile this piece of loosely- woven fabric is. There was the usual roster: as headgear fashioned into a sort of turban; for mopping a sweaty forehead, wiping a child’s running nose, draping over the shoulders like a mini-dupatta over the other ubiquitous Kerala catch-all outfit, the nightie; quickly mopping up sudden liquid messes; giving the hot tava (frying pan) a quick wipedown before ladling dosa batter onto it; draping over one’s torso in bed in the absence of a top-sheet; swiping unmentionable parts of your body quickly when you think nobody’s watching, though this last is a purely male activity, I assure you.
The thorth and me? I recently put it to good use while visiting the thermal spa pools of Budapest’s (Hungary) bathhouses. I use it for plopping my curls. I use it for straining wine when my muslin bag isn’t to be found. I often let my bread dough rise under a damp clean thorth.