When in kitchen I am like a fish out of water. I know to make tea and Maggi. A strong self sustenance model right there. I am not much of a foodie. I think I got this from my dad. He’s not much of a foodie himself. Our philosophy towards food is more on the lines of “Udaram Bharanum”. Serve my dad karele ki sabzi or something exotic like Afgani Nargishi Shahi Korma, ask him how it was “I am Stuffed!!! Fulll!!!!!!” that the response you’ll get. His review is more quantitative than qualitative in nature.
My cousin sister fell in love with a Gujarati guy and wanted to marry him. My uncle was against it, so she came to my dad for help. Dad met this guy, his family; he was assured that they were nice people. So he told my cousin that if her dad doesn’t marry her to this guy he would. Suddenly and almost instantaneously my mom, my dad and I were elevated to be “The People” to impress for the grooms family.
It was a wonderful wedding ceremony. A beautiful mix of Maharashtrian and Gujarati traditions and customs. I learned a lot about Gujarati culture from this whole affair. There is a common myth that Garba is played during Navratri. That’s false, cause just a day before the wedding I got a call from the groom saying “Garbo night che.”. Gujaratis need smallest reason of happiness and to from a circle and start Garba. Coming back to the wedding, the food was amazing. A wide assortment of Gujarati delicacies were at offer. There was dhoklas, patra, khaman. There was ofcourse Undio. Then there were some trick items as well. It looked exactly like a normal papad but they called it chora fail. Then there was another item which also looked exactly like a papad but it was called Mathari.
Now I don’t like to waste food. I eat everything that’s been served to me, whether I like it or not. But the problem was here there was nothing that I didn’t like. I kept eating and the servers kept serving some more. I was almost done with my lunch when the grooms Mamaji came along with a few of the grooms cousins. They had a big bowl filled with Gulab Jamuns with them. Mamaji kept forcing “Ek Gulab Jam to Chalse!!”. I had already had a dozen puris, shrikhand ,rabid, patra and dhokla, everything. Still I just couldn’t resist the temptation of that one more gulab jamun being offered. Now of course it was the grooms mamaji how could I say no to him, it would be so disrespectful and all. So I nodded ok for one more. The moment I said I’ll have one more, Mamaji and all the cousins standing next to him pulled out a spoon and served gulab jamuns one each. Now I had five gulab jamuns to finish. I took a deep breath, stared at my plate for a while and dug in. I somehow managed to have three more gulab jamun. To say it like my dad does I was Stuffed!!! But I didn’t like the prospect of having to leave something on the plate. I was absolutely full now. My eyes were bulging out of their sockets. I held the forth one in my hand and stared to breath heavily. I needed moral support. I looked around; all of the great Marathas from my side had already surrendered, conceded defeat and left. I was the last bastion standing. My will to accomplish this herculean task was dwindling. That’s when the grooms dad saw me, he approached me from behind and tapped on my shoulder and said “Revade beta, if u finish this they will bring some more.” I had given up, I could eat no more. I just slouched back in my chair and exhaled a sigh of relief. I closed my eyes, for the next 15 minutes as I just sat there.
There have been very few times in my life when I have felt food on my plate and this was one of those times. So if there was any learning from all this, it was don’t under estimate the power of fafdas and dhoklas. I have a Gujarati friends wedding coming up. I have already started conditioning my body for it. I will be fasting for a few days before the wedding and then a few days after as well.