Of Wedding Feasts – Scenario 2

Weddings are awesome except for the Jumping Jacks and Jills, wedding feasts are not at least not any more.  I remember eating at a wedding feast in Kaaraikudi the wedding took place in one of those massive Chettiar houses. It is probably the best wedding feast I have ever been to. So many kinds of paniyarams, adai, potato, egg plant, okra and so many of those awesome dishes that chettinad has to offer. (In fact I hate these restaurants in Chennai which call themselves Chettinad when all they do is add a lot of chilly in the food) The persons serving would actually come to you and ask you if you would like a serving and if you refuse they would try and persuade you to give it a shot. This way it ensures that you eat what you really want and you don’t end up wasting food. All said and done let’s see what Scenario 2 has in store for us. If you have not read Scenario 1, please do so here.

Scenario 2

So the wedding is over and you have dodged all those tricky questions people asked you and you are on your way to the dining hall. There is a saying in Tamil “Pandhikku mundhanum” (Be first at the wedding feast) being there first will ensure that you don’t have to wait and that the items that have been prepared are still hot/warm, the payasam still thick and you get a nice clean place to sit and eat. If you did not rush to the dining hall after the thali tying has finished then you will have to wait for a while till probably a kind relative or friend joins you in the quest for a seat. So finally you have been seated (so what if there is payasam, water and random bits of food spilt on the floor or if the plantain leaf from the previous round has not been cleared you got a seat didn’t you? You are such a fighter!)

So there you are eating while you are trying to dodge all the random bits of food that is being thrown on your leaf and you suddenly realize that while you were concentrating on what was happening in front, a group of people have sneaked in behind you and they are watching your plantain leaf just like an eagle eyes a rat. No! they are not going to eat your food they are waiting for you to finish the food on your leaf. These guys/girls put you in an absolute pressure situation. But never let them do it to you. If there are people standing behind always ALWAYS ask for second helpings of all the items you liked. Maybe even a third helping. You can ask for a huge serving of rice make space in the middle for the sambar and dunk the potato pieces in the sambar and try to see if you can find it.

Well you can’t be sitting there for ever so you will want to leave sometime. But remember to go jostle with the crowd at the beeda stall and get betel stains on your clothes. Whatever you do Always remember to collect your thamboolam pai.

I did call it manjai pai in my last post but people are creative these days and you get so many colours but the items remain the same, Coconut to be used for next morning’s chutney (that is if you don’t have another wedding to attend) and betel leaf for the oldies in the house.

What is the most weird thing you have seen happen at a wedding feast? I think people rushing to be first at the dining hall is extremely weird it is like they were not there for the wedding but just for the wedding feast.

I have another wedding to attend this week so hopefully there will be an inspiration for scenario 3. 🙂


Of Wedding Feasts – Scenario 1

Every once so often I get invited to a wedding where I simply can’t refuse to eat.

Weddings are complicated affairs so much is expected of you and there will be people whom you have never met in your life jumping out of nowhere calling you by name and then proceed to ask you if you recognize them. At this point if I’ve not figured out who the person is I blurt out some random name, most people get offended, correct me and then proceed to do this to another person.

But I will tell you what is more complicated than the wedding, it is the wedding feast.

Scenario 1

The wedding is between 9am and 10:30am and you have landed there at about 10am. You are recieved very warmly and then escorted directly to the dining area while you are asked “tiffin saaptingala?” You are seated in the dining hall and there are just a handful of people eating and you can’t escape once the escort has turned his/her back. You have to eat and they will send out everything possible from the kitchen. Idly, Vada, Pongal, Dosai, Oothapam, Poori, Parota (Dei, it is morning breakfast da how much variety can one eat.) If you as much as refuse something then someone will stand next to you while saying “Saar nalla sapudanga saar.” (Dei, I already had breakfast in my house).

Breakfast over and you are hurrying to catch the thali tying, you don’t want to miss that do  you? So the ceremony is over and then you meet all those Jumping Jacks and Jills who come at you with all kinds of questions. Next you have to stand in a queue to meet and greet the couple and you are finally through with everything by around 12 noon and you should be on your way to whatever it is you do when you are not attending weddings. You are leaving and the Chithappa or worse still the parents of the bride or groom catch you leaving without having lunch. OMG! now it is back to a crowded dining hall. Since it is crowded you can try and exit the building through the kitchen walk around and exit the compound without being detected. But remember if you are not carrying the yellow bag with coconut, betel leaves (Dying actually) and betel nuts you could get caught.

The other option is that you sit for lunch even though your 2nd jumbo breakfast is still in your body till nose level. If you thought the breakfast was jumbo well then you probably would not have words for the number of items they dump on your plantain leaf for lunch.

Here is a sample course…

Lay out plantain leaf

Pour water on plantain leaf to clean it – (I am sure capable of pouring water on my  plantain leaf and clean it well.)

  1. Rasamalai/rasagulla in small plastic cup
  2. Mysorepak – Why two sweets you may ask? A sweet should accompany a sweet according to vaasthu no wait i think it is in the kalacharam.
  3. Chappati with Mushroom Gravy and Paneer Butter Masala
  4. Vegetable Biriyani
  5. White Rice Dumped on the leaf.
  6. Paruppu for small portion of rice with 2 spoons of ghee
  7. Sambar poured on top of the mountain of rice.
  8. Kootu
  9. Cauliflower/Mushroom/Babycorn dish
  10. Poriyal
  11. Cutlet
  12. Thugayal
  13. Appalam
  14. Pappadam
  15. Rasam
  16. Buttermilk/Curd
  17. Payasam
  18. Ice Cream

The number of dishes that are served (18 in this case) should add up to 9. 9 is the sacred number. The more number of dishes served in multiples of 9 show the wealth and social standing of the person. – Raja the Caterer and Numerologist

And the best part about all this these dishes are served in quick succession. You hardly have time to say no to the dishes. Also you should eat quickly because there are other people standing behind you and staring at you eat while they are waiting their turn. Sometimes you might hear waterfalls behind you.

Most people eventually leave a lot of the food on the leaf because they just cannot eat it before the pandhi is up. What a waste!

So once you have finished all this you can leave after getting your manja pai (Yellow bag). Never, NEVER refuse the yellow bag it is considered as the ultimate insult to the host. You can even refuse to eat.

This is brings us to the end of Scenario 1. Hope you mentally enjoyed the feast. I will be back with more. Scenarios I mean. 🙂