Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A satisfying repast…

It’s Friday evening and as a chilly fall day winds to a close, the party room at our apartment complex is abuzz with chatter of animated voices and the shrieks of kids playing. Amid the general din, wafting through the air is the unmistakable aromatic smell of spicy Indian food. Only the unseasonably nippy air outsides serves to remind us how faraway we are from our moorings. For its potluck time and almost everyone from our onsite team has gathered together. To the uninitiated the idea of a potluck is simple enough; everyone comes to the party with their own dish they have chosen earlier using a draw. The result is that everyone gets to taste an assortment of dishes; for the dishes themselves are as varied as regions of India we all come from. The simple but wholesome vegetarian fare of the north and west of our country contrast with the spicy dishes of the south and the savory desserts of the east serve as a perfect denouement to our gastronomical journey across India.

Of course with so many people around can a session of freewheeling conversation (or adda as we bongs call it) be far behind? Things start of slowly with appetizers like Dahi Vada and succulent Kebab’s paired with tangy chutney providing perfect food for thought. The pace is picked up when recent happenings in the Indian political landscape gets spiced up over a flavorful curry dish and that delectable biryani complements perfectly any esoteric discussion on the origin of the mathematical value of pi.

But of course it’s not just about the food; it’s a time to catch up with friends and family, to let your hair down after a frenzied week full of meetings and deadlines; its something we all look forward to. Adding to the fun (and the decibel level), are impromptu sessions of dumb-charades or antakshari or that occasional game of bingo.

As we pack up for the night the words of Shashi Tharoor ring true:

If America is famously a ‘melting-pot’, then to me India is a thali, a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next, but they belong together on the same plate, and they complement each other in making the meal a satisfying repast

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