I went to a party recently. A party by a bunch of expats ecstatic about leaving the country, for good. (Now that’s something to throw a party for given that you are in Malaysia.) But the reason doesn’t matter actually, as long as you get free food cooked with ghee (read as fat), booze(more fat) and unending supply of kachoris, pakodas and samosas (Did I tell you oil is great for protecting your stomach, pancreas and the intestines from punches and blows? It magically transforms into layers of flesh and withstands sibling rivalry very well).
Ask people for a treat of a mere popsicle any time during their stay, the answer would be a list of all possible excuses which none of the listeners can ever buy into. But they do this free fat-spreading service with great interest as the last good deed before leaving the country.
Doesn’t bother me much though because the reverence I give to the food wins hands down as the reason for attending a farewell – for the dead or alive. As a kid there were many aftermath-funeral prayers I attended without even knowing the deceased which boasts of sumptuous food believed to send off the soul happily – I don’t know if the departed soul was happy or not but mine sure was.
No, I definitely ain’t the starve-the-whole-day-for-the-evening’s-party-invite or the party barging kind or the buffet line breaker who follows the scent of burgers, bhel puris and basundhis right to the kitchen unless it is a birthday party of my friend’s uncles’ (mother’s brother’s) son’s daughter ,all of whom I have never met; or spoken with; or even heard of.
Neither am I binge-like-you-haven’t-eaten-for-days and eat-all-you-can kind except in the monthly get-togethers thrown by people leaving the project/account (mmm yummy vada pavs) or the occasional eat-outs/treats – paid by others or celebrating birthdays – of friends and strangers at workplace (ooo that death by chocolate cake and the fruit tart). Ask my ABN friends – at least Richard and Sailesh will vouch for this.
My experiments have taught me that – Food is a great ice-breaker, a conversation starter but the aftermath bill that the host receives ends their acquaintance with me then and there. But Hey, people like me don’t let the food go waste, thank us!
Ah, the Weddings- I can withstand any number of pesky relatives, the Oh-child-you-have-grown-so-big-in-2-days aunties, the do-you-remember-me-we-met-when-you-were-6-months-old uncles, the high-time-you-got-married (when you are single) and the high-time-you-give-your-parents-toys-to-play-with i.e. grandchildren (when you are married) grannies, and the my-grandson-is-also-in-a-IT-company-earns-50k grandpas : just for and only for the food.
And I love India for this. We celebrate every occasion with 50 different types of food. As with the Tulu community, Annadaan is the greatest form of charity. Am one of the countless beneficiaries of the mouth-watering Saaru (Toamato or Lemon and Lentil soup), the tangy Kusumbri (pulses salad), the undefinable Meneskaai (Sweet+Sour+Spicy+Bitter – all in 1 gravy), the healthy tumbili (ground spicy greens – like spinach, mint in yoghurt), at least 5 different varieties of sweetmeats (like Jamun, Halwa, Coconut Burfi, Sugar Cashews, Jalebi, Mysorepa, etc.), the smooth and soft Holige (kinda sweet stuffed chapathi) , the out of the world payasa (kheer – Sago/ vermicelli/ legumes in milk) and my all time favourite the divine Cuckoo Rasayana (Mango Milk shake made from ripe mangoes, jaggery and coconut milk – all healthy you see). Not to miss the usual – dosas, sambhars, chutneys, parathas, pickles, pooris, et al.
But this doesn’t mean am only an Indian food fanatic. I am totally against food racism! When it comes to eating out I absolutely love Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and any cuisine that offers me a tasty vegetarian option. My tummy adores all the cheese burst pizzas, the veggie delights, the tofu chowmeins, the burritos, the risottos, the ricottas, the fetas, the Tapas’, the Dim-Sums, the lasagnes, the Malaysian Paos – you name it, I will eat it.
So, do not miss my funeral by any chance, I will pre-set the menu in my will!
Getting back to the parties where we first started, apart from the food I find everything else about it boring – music : usually too loud, dance : which am pathetic at, gossips : yawn, girly talks on handbags and footwear – wake me up when you are done, guys version of tragedies of a marriage – Bitch please, am snoring already. Though it is called bitching, feminine gender, I see guys doing this more than girls. Girls never get to finish talking about jewellery and apparel to get to the bitching part.
So until food is served I just have one thing to do – check out on girls and try to hook the best one up, with my husband.