This is called a korana in Odia. Koriba, the verb, would roughly translate to grating. So, a korana, theoretically, can grate anything. But, in practice, it is a single purpose tool – grating coconuts. I am not claiming this is an Odia innovation, but I am sure non-coastal folks would rarely have seen it.
Once you know how to use it, it looks deceptively easy to handle. When you don’t, you call it what we call all things we don’t understand – art. In my growing up years, this was such a challenge that this is all I wanted to know once grown up.
You see, it is not easy. You got to keep one foot on the wooden platform, you got to hold the coconut at an angle so that you can grate it in circles, you need to grate fine enough but not get too close to the shell.
The grated coconut should be white, any red scraping from the shell is frowned upon.
More than a centimetre of coconut left on the shell is frowned upon.
Taking too much time to grate while jaggery boils is frowned upon.
Grating in strings and not in fine powder is frowned upon.
Not washing the shell and dropping the husk on the coconut is frowned upon.
So, this is a very adult task. A few kids who could do it were seen as precocious. No wonder, while most adults would run to their mummies for encouragement, I would great a coconut for that sense of achievement and sense of consolation about one’s own abilities.