Everybody knows the meaning of 'halwa' in Hindi. But in Tamil, it has another sarcastic meaning also - 'to cheat'. For example, I say, 'ennakku halwa koduthittan' means, someone has cheated me (meeti churi chubana). Now imagine someone giving you 'halwa' while buying the real halwa!!! Tirunelveli halwa is very famous all over the country. All South Indians would vouch for it. During our trip, Tirunelveli was our last place of sightseeing. We visited Nellaiappar Temple while keeping our ears and eyes wide open after the horrific experience at Suseendram.The temple there is so beautiful and breathtaking.
After worshipping the deities there, we went around looking for a reliable shop from where we can buy the famous Tirunelveli halwa. Most of them directed us to a particular shop which was nearby (I'm forgetting the name of the shop). So we went there and the shopkeeper gave us 3 or 4 varieties of halwa to taste. We selected the ones we wanted to buy and ordered 7 kgs of halwa in all. We could not see the box/vessel in which the halwa was kept but the weighing machine was out for us to see. The packet in which he put the halwa was also not transparent. At that time we didn't have any doubt about the quality as we had already tasted it or about the quantity as we could see the weighing machine per se. It was all packed nicely in attractive gift boxes. All of us went home happily with the satisfaction of buying authentic Tirunelveli halwa.
Next day, after reaching home we took out the halwa to distribute to others. Oh my goodness! What I saw gave me a shock. I could not believe my eyes. While the authentic one we tasted literally melted in our mouths, this one tasted like rubber - neither we could swallow it nor spit it but could only keep chewing it! It was so different in taste, look, colour and texture. At first I thought maybe that's just the box I kept with me but when I asked my sister and one of our friends, I realised that the entire 7 kgs was fake halwa. Everyone realised what a fool we became at these cheaters' hand. I have travelled to many places and done a lot of shopping also. But this kind of cheating never happened with me. The lesson learnt is.... beware the 'halwa givers' of Tirunelveli!