But not so fast! The guests had arrived and like any good host, all of us were expected to 'mix and mingle'. At first, I stuck to my cousin clan, but after many a bulb moment, I realized that they were no longer taking notice of what I said or laughing at my jokes, which I agree were mokkai, but then, come on, so were theirs! Anyway, I decided not to sulk and proceeded to 'mix and mingle' as Amma had suggested. It was again a difficult task, given that I had to be careful not to trip over my pattu paavadai and at the same time, pretend to know everybody I met. Almost everybody I met asked me Ormayundo ee mukham? which roughly translates to 'Do you remember this face?' (This was also a popular 'punch dialogue' from a popular Malayalam movie at that time) 'Errr, oh hahaha, yes yes of course I do!' would be my standard answer.
After what seemed like an era, it was time for lunch! Nom nom time! My favorite time! And the food was absolutely scrumdiddlyumptious. The menu was Indo-Chinese. So we had Roti and Paneer Butter Masala; Fried Rice and Cauliflower Manchurian. I thought the latter was representative of real Chinese cuisine till I came to Singapore! It was in one of those epiphanies that I realized how much we have 'Indianized' Chinese cuisine- right from Schezwan Fried Rice with molaga to 'Gopi Manchurian'. Aaah, but I digress. Anyway, that day we also had thayir sadham with aavakai pickle and vanilla ice cream with gulab jamun for dessert. Apart from the yumminess factor of the spread, I noticed the cleanliness factor of the serving team. No wonder these caterers were so famous! The team was decked in crisp starched uniforms, complete with hairnets and plastic gloves. Epitome of professionalism. My my, I was impressed indeed!
Having eaten my fill, I decided to wander around. I caught Appa helping himself to the forbidden ice cream and dutifully reported it to Amma. It was at that moment that I noticed the gentleman serving the food. His hairnet was in place. His plastic gloves used to serve the food were also there. No problems at all. Except he was delicately scratching his ears, with the gloves fully in place! I thought of the Cauliflower Manchurian I had eaten with gusto just a little while ago. Gulp.
Appa had visited my blog a few days ago, and he told me that my blog should cater to a wide range of readers. So, in the hope that my blog does get attention all across the globe (a snide inner voice says, Yeah right!), here's a translation of some of the regional words I've used in this post.
Appa and Amma is what I call Dad and Mom respectively.
Bhakti refers to devotion, usually in a spiritual context.
Appams and Payasam are absolutely delicious sweets, mostly prepared for special occasions.
Valiacha is a Malayalam term for Uncle.
A bhajan is a prayer, that takes the form of a song.
A bulb moment is when you get embarrassed or made fun of. I've had plenty of these moments in my life.
Mokkai, in this context, refers to something boring, uninteresting or useless. In other words, a poor joke.
Pattu paavadai is a traditional long skirt (that usually threatens to trip you over) and blouse, made of silk, worn on festivals and special occasions.
Molaga refers to chilly/pepper which is a must have ingredient in Sambhar, but I doubt, if it's the same in Schezwan Fried Rice.
Thayir Sadham in this case refers to its actual meaning- curd rice. However, it could also be used to refer to someone who is boring/uninteresting.
Aavakai is a form of mango that tastes its best in pickles, which in turn taste their best with the above mentioned thayir sadham.
I swear on my pinky finger that the above incident is true.