Weddings have become in-person events once again, and like how! The Man from Madras Musings is flooded with invites, and he sometimes looks back at the last two years with nostalgia. Those were simpler times when all you had to do was to promise to join the event virtually and then forget all about it. Now it is back to driving miles to mark your presence and ingest the undigestible. But to MMM’s good lady, also known as She Who Must Be Obeyed, these invites are more like sacred mandates and so she believes firmly in attending. And MMM who is like the little lamb, follows her to all these places, after registering a mild bleat in protest.
And so it was that MMM and good lady went to attend a wedding where the mightiest of the land were present. On an aside, MMM and good lady drove in just after Risen Son and Rising Son. And MMM could not help noticing that while leader senior did not have a light shining on his face in his vehicle, junior had one shining bright as he went along. But then senior has already risen while junior is rising and so presumably needs the additional light. Mater dei on whom may there be peace, and who had the light shining on her wherever she went, whether to office and back, to party office and back or to less savoury places and back, would have understood.
But MMM has digressed. Having waved his hand at bride and groom for the queues were serpentine and long, MMM went to the dining room. The catering was by the children of Six Taste Dancing God, the maestro having long departed, leaving his descendants to carry on with the ladle and the wok. MMM has always had a soft corner for the old man’s cooking and it being more than two years since he had tasted those signature dishes, he went in with his mouth watering. But these are times when every business desires to go international and so it was with the children of Six Taste Dancing God. MMM’s heart sank when he saw sections devoted to Lebanese, Chinese, Continental and North Indian dishes with good old South Indian, which was Six Taste Dancing God’s metier, being relegated to a corner. Somehow, MMM could not bear the idea of accepting Ravioli from the same man who had once served rasam. The same goes for his Manchurian or Hummus.
MMM therefore stuck to the straight and narrow, contenting himself with the old fare. But even that had slid by several notches. It was clear that the old team of cooks were no longer in office and the dishes had been made by hands from up north, people who tend to pronounce sambar as saaambrrr, rasam as ras and who would pack up and leave if you asked them to say potato in Tamil.
MMM however did notice that several others intrepidly tried the Lebanese, the Chinese and the Continental and came back with reports of how bad it all was. In MMM’s humble view it is best that Lebanese cuisine is left to the Lebanese, the Chinese to the Chinese (no correct that, Chinese food made in China tastes awful) and the Continental to those on the Continent. And the children of the Six Taste Dancing God need to aim to perfect the six traditional South Indian flavours and not run after six foreign cuisines.
My book, Chennai, A Biography is available for purchase on this link
aaru suvai has become arai (half) suvai!
I had a great time reading this Wodehousian classic loaded with harmless humour. Sadly, being a far-away NRI not exactly conversant with the Tamil Nadu times and politics, the allegorical references to the risen sun and the rising son were not clear but Mater Dei, I think, I get! And the Six Taste Dancing God is a complete stranger to me😄, is it by any chance அறு சுவை நடராசர்?
And on the international cooking you have hit the nail on the head. Every time I visit Chennai I get introduced to a “foreign” eaterie and I have always come out with a scowl on my face and a far far lighter wallet. I will take Woodlands on R K Salai any day😂
Loved reading this post. I was wondering what this six taste dancing God was till I read the earlier comment.
The risen son is basking in limelight currently, after the not-so-dear Departed Dad of the Rising Sun Clan, with the rising son already being readied to take over reigns, with the state being reduced to its current state, even bringing back nostalgic memories of the times of Mater Dei. She did order the arrest of the Holy Seer during the festival of lights, for reasons best known to her and it was an act as ungodly as any, for which she no doubt would have paid her Karma. Even that seems to pale to the present.
We now live in times where the Rising Sun clan seems to be working over-time to make the sun-set for Abodes of the Holy Gods, unless it is an abode that shows a positive sign in large or displays the Moon reduced to less than a quarter. If it is an Abode of the incarnation with three English letters and frequented by those wearing the sacred thread, it is a prime target. While on one side the take over – only for its destruction, of holy abodes is in full swing, there is an unholy exercise of changing everything inside the abode being played out, as if Clan and Cronies of the Rising Sun are divinely ordained – like Akhenaten of the Egyptian Pharophs, to make sweeping changes at their whim – Centuries old traditions and established practices of prayers, hymns and who would lead or conduct them, all being changed. The unworthies, blissfully unaware of what is the essence of a faith, are attempting to make radical changes to suit their hair-brained theories. This, for a group who have rationalism and atheism as its core principle and are supposed to be providing good governance, not attacking holy Abodes or selling alcohol to shore up govt revenue. Surely, Karma will payback to the corrupted big-time, even as the affected population are not just muted but some even applauding and incapable of checking the Clan and their cronies.
Meanwhile, those in the Holy Abodes seem to have struck back gently, by denying even small delights – first by confining the populance to home and later, when they can venture out, by reducing culinary delights to nostalgia of the past or shall we say, pasta.
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