Illustrations of this Oota Story, by the Baale Mane Girls
This Oota Story is founded on the Telugu belief that people should not ask for salt at night or else bad luck will befall the home.
It dates back to the time when there was no electricity, and when whole families used to eat together in the principal room of the house sitting around a candle. In these times, the candle was the only means of lighting, hence it was placed in the middle of the circle.
This is where the anecdote starts:
In Telugu, the word for salt is “uppu”. However, in our folk tale, older people lose their teeth due to their age. So, when they say “uppu”, it becomes pronounced as “uffu”, because of the gaps in their teeth.
Thus, when the family was sitting all together around the candle at night, eating their dinner, if the older one asked for salt, or “uffu”, the light would be extinguished by their exhalation. When this happened, the whole family would lose the light they were eating with.
Hence, the belief was created that people should not ask for salt after dusk or else risk the family losing the candlelight, bringing bad luck to the household.
Folk Tale & Images collected by Morgane F, Oota Volunteer