Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The"Unserved" Guests..

When I read about the JFI of the month,I badly wanted to contribute the event by posting a recipe as I try out more than a dozen recipes with tomatoes in it.
Since I don't have my camera to shoot the recipe picture,I made up my mind to post a nostalgic story linking TOMATOES.
...and here goes my entry to J.F.I Tomatoes hosted by R.P.
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This happened about 5 years ago when I was living with my inlaws.My parents in law were away for a couple of months to visit their daughter, living abroad and I was happily sharing the household responsibilities with my husband's grandma.One morning we received a call from one of her old family friends ,a Gujarathi couple,that they would be visiting us that evening.
Grandma briefed me about them,how good friends they were in their olden days,and how fondly they used to host lunch or dinner with an array of vegetarian dishes whenever she visited them.
As a matter of fact I promised grandma that I would happily prepare them a good spread dinner, as a courtesy to her old friends.
After having my evening cup of tea a l'll early,I indulged myself in sorting out the vegetables,cleaning an cutting them patiently,cooking carefully this time,aiming for perfection.
Our dinner table got ready by 7.30 that evening,with a wonderful spread of hot iddlies,sambhar,tomato and coconut chutnies,masala dosa(waiting to have been served hot),and chappathis with vegetable curry.
Our guests arrived,after about half an hour,a prestigious North Indian couple, undoubtedly conservative.Around the ages between 65 and 70,they had pleasant airs around them and had their warm smiles all around their faces even when they looked much tired after the day-long travel and temple visits.
They had a short conversation with us and were led to the table.
I started serving food,looking very proud when my grandma proclaimed,"she took all the pains to prepare the dinner for you,herself".They smiled at me again, pleasantly, as if expressing their gratitude.
When they were about to be served the side dishes,the gentle man looked at me questioningly ...asking,"....any TOMATO?...er.... in any of these dishes??"
I was taken aback a little,a sudden jolt that send me a spark making me realise within seconds...that YES.. I had tomatoes in almost all the side dishes..2 'IN' the sambhar,2-3 'IN' the vegetable curry,1 'IN' the masala;meant to go inside the dosa and lot more 'IN' the TOMATO chutney.My brain scanned the memory part of it within seconds and I replied my guests just with the phrase,"YES"...."except in coconut chutney".......
Now it was their turn for the reply,"Fine ma,no problem,we'll have one or two Iddlis with your coconut chutney as we are in a "FASTING" (a VRUTHAM in sanskrit),and are not supposed to take any TOMATO today!".
Well this made a quicker impact on me...much quicker than my brain scan...turning my face much drooping with disappointment." We are not that hungry either as we were travelling the whole day,so don't bother,we are contented with iddlies",their consoling words didn't help in any UPLIFTING on my face.
Even Granma seemed to be a little worried,but tactfully hiding it she went on serving them with their limited choices and took care of them, finely finishing them with "hot pepper milk" and "hill bananas".
The guests looked satisfied when they bid good bye...but indeed leaving behind their hostess ....totally unsatisfied!.
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3 had something to say:

Foodlovers said...

hi Bharathi
You will not belive but i too had a same experience when i was in Bangalore...
Your way of writting is really good... would love to come back soon...

Food Lovers

bee said...

thaks for sharing this, bharathy. i'm sure they appreciated your efforts even if they couldn't taste them.

Mallugirl said...

i just read this.. sorry for u but couldn't help smiling.Our food is deeply immersed in tomatoes.:)