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Onashamsakal!

August 24, 2010

Firstly, I wish you all a very happy Onam! The most important festival in my life followed closely by Christmas, Easter and Ramzan purely for the food!

This is also incidentally, the fifth Onam that I have not spent at home; right from 2006. This means that I have got to do something about it soon. Five whole years, I have missed grandma’s Onam Sadya. Not good!

I still remember that Onam in 2006; it was painful. No one in Mumbai even knew or cared that it was Onam and we (me, Mr. HPU, Mr. FR) had a small party to make up for it. That year our Onam Sadya consisted of a whole lot of Tandoori chicken. I have to say that it was actually a very good substitute.

This year 2010, thanks to the great “Malayalee Association of Northern California”, MANCA as they call themselves, I had a wonderful Onam Sadya this Saturday.

The avial, the payasam and our brown rice (which I had after a long time) was heavenly!

I also thought that I had seen everything under the Sun when it comes to Onam. I have seen drunken revelry, fights, contests etc but this Onam; I saw something that I never thought I would see.

I saw a Punjabi eat the Onam Sadya on a paper banana leaf, with a small plastic spoon! It was fantastic!

This impossible stunt was pulled off by my roommate Mr. SK who had come along with us for the Onam Sadya. I mean, eating the Onam Sadya with your hand is difficult enough. You have got to careful to not let any of the Sambar or Pulisheri flow down your shirt or drip onto your pants but eating with a spoon is crazily difficult.

Even a few sahippus and madamas in the other table were eating with their hands but Mr. SK wanted a spoon! Thanks to this little stunt of his, we were the center of attraction.

As soon as we were served everything, Mr. SK said, “A, I actually want a spoon.

I tried my best to convince him to eat with his hand but he just would not listen.

But it is tradition”, I tried telling him. I thought that line sounded convincing and succinct enough but nope, Mr. SK still wanted a spoon.

And so, I had to ask one of the MANCA members for a spoon.

I said, “Chechi, this guy wants a spoon.

But where is he from?” she asked.

I said, “Vadakkanannae”. (He is a Northie)

And suddenly, the lady started speaking in Hindi; very loudly as a matter of fact! But she failed to realize that Hindi, just like every other language in this planet is guided by its own set of grammatical rules.

It soon became apparent to us that it was:

  1. Her attempt to brush up her Hindi skills!
  2. Her attempt to convince Mr. SK to eat with his hands!

But she failed miserably on both counts. Mr. SK still wanted a spoon at the end of her lecture.

And so he got his spoon. The others by that time had stopped eating and were merely observing Mr. SK in his spirited attempt; some even cheered him on. It was also his first meal on a banana leaf, so it was all the more fun. He tried his best of regulate the flow of liquid on the banana leaf with his spoon but the poor bloke was fighting against the tide!

I have seen people battle against strong river currents in white water rafting; I have seen kayakers battle it out with the elements in the sea but their efforts paled in comparison to Mr. SK. Let me just say that he did a whole lot of “paddling” and “sculling” on the banana leaf with his small spoon, desperately trying to maintain a delicate balance; ensuring that the food remains on the leaf and ensuring that the wind does not blow it off. He was also limited by the fact that he had only two hands to use.

Eventually, he ended up eating a lot of rice and sambar with pappadam. He did not take a liking to any of the other stuff!!! I pity him for his taste! He also “drank” the sambar in a cup like it was some sort of soup.

On the whole, it was a wonderful meal. Thank you MANCA for helping me to grasp on to a few things I believe in; an Onam Sadya being one of them. My only grouse is that they had timed the Onam Sadya at 5 PM in the evening. At 5, it is too late for lunch and too early for dinner!

Happy Onam to you all once again!

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 3:27 am

    FIRST!!! 😀 😀
    OG: yeah machi!

  2. August 24, 2010 3:34 am

    /*At 5, it is too late for lunch and too early for dinner!*/

    For food lovers, is time is important??? We have finish when and where it is available machi 😀 😀
    OG: time is important machi! for eating a lot 😛 to get ready to eat at 5 PM, I had to skip lunch! 😛
    OMG.. eating from banana leaf is heights.. surely an attempt’s result which will go down as disaster.. and it went 😀 😀
    OG: haha 😛

  3. Swaram permalink
    August 24, 2010 5:15 am

    Sigh! I soo want to eat Sadya nw 😦 Y r so many ppl talking/writing abt it 😦
    OG: becoz it is absolutely awesome!
    Happy Onam to u and SK too 😉
    OG: to you too !

  4. August 24, 2010 6:15 am

    Substituted Sadya food with Tandoori Chicken?
    See, i have been trying to tell mom to substitute my sadya with noodles or something, never worked so far…
    OG: u fake mallu!
    And no one in mumbai knew or cared it was Onam?!!!
    YOu were obviously not in the right circles 😛 or u didn’t have right contacts?
    OG: well, now I know better :mrgreen:
    Chechi tried to talk in hinsi and convince ur punjabi friend?
    I dunno who to be more sorry for…chechi or him!!
    OG: def. us 😛 😛 it went like “keral mein khaane ka style aisa hota hai” followed by extreme hands motions!
    he did a whole lot of “paddling” and “sculling” on the banana leaf with his small spoon, desperately trying to maintain a delicate balance;

    😆 ROFL!!! Apparently Mr. SK was afloat on the leaf himself, eh?
    OG: I think so 😛
    He did not take a liking to any of the other stuff!!! I pity him for his taste!
    Get lost u devil!! 😛 to each his own taste, u coconut lover!!! 👿
    OG: podi podi!
    WHat did he do with payasam? that must have been a Kodak Moment!!!

    At a sadya in a relative’s place, they had my fav payasam…ada pradaman..
    and it was served on the leaf of course… and i had it dripping down my wrist, elbow..and i was steadily working towards not wasting a single drop, and my uncle asks me, “molukku spoon veno?”

    mom retorts with some embarrassment, “madhi aaku mole… inni chennu kayi kazhugi vaa…”

    OG: you always were like this? right……………… 😛
    🙄

    Happy Onam to you too! Hope you next sadya is at home!! Maybe served by Ms. Z?
    *pats herself on bringing the link here* 😈 :mrgreen:

    Hugs!!!!
    OG: again! podi podi!

    • August 24, 2010 6:22 am

      The ending was classic, sis!!! 😆 😆

      And no one in mumbai knew or cared it was Onam?!!!
      YOu were obviously not in the right circles or u didn’t have right contacts?

      U took the words right out of my mouth! 😀 😀

    • August 24, 2010 6:23 am

      /*“molukku spoon veno?”*/

      ROFL 😆 you are saved by your mom 😀 😀 else it would have been a funny sight 😀 😀

      and ur mom’s reply is classic Crafty 😀 😀

    • August 24, 2010 6:34 am

      and it was served on the leaf of course… and i had it dripping down my wrist, elbow..and i was steadily working towards not wasting a single drop,

      U dont want to know the vision that came before my eyes imagining this scene!!! 🙄 :mrgreen:

  5. August 24, 2010 6:18 am

    Onam sadya at 5pm??? 😐 Sheesh!! Kills the whole idea of it!!!
    OG: satyam!
    I’ve heard of ppl drinking moru or rasam from a cup but sambar?? 🙄 never mind…sigh…

    LOL! 😀 Will you actually believe it? My grandmother spent her childhood days in Singapore coz my great-grandfather was working with the military around World War II time. As a reminder of those days, she STILL eats her payasam off a banana leaf with a spoon claiming she’s comfy with that!!!! 😀 😀 😀 It’s a classic sight and we have caught it on video year after year !!! :mrgreen:
    OG: ok madama :mrgreen: lemme guess. was he in the Nair brigade?
    Happy Onam dey! 🙂
    OG: same to you!

    • August 24, 2010 6:24 am

      As for substituting tandoori chicken with onam sadya…. 🙄
      No comments! 🙄
      OG: well, we had to eat something 😛

      • August 24, 2010 6:26 am

        yeah.. me too don’t know how one can call that a substituition 🙄 :Roll: by OG does 😛 😛
        OG: reply my reply above 😛

    • August 24, 2010 6:25 am

      Is time is important for having food?? 🙄 🙄 We can be more hungry and can munch more 😀 😀
      OG: the timing of a sadya is very important machu! it is supposed to be for lunch and then sleep!

      • August 24, 2010 6:27 am

        Sadya is a whole meal !!! Its the proper heavy lunch to polish off before dropping to a nice long nap! Thats the idea !! 😀 😀 😀
        OG: great!

        • August 24, 2010 6:29 am

          see.. lets start sleeping by evening 6 and then we can woke up next day morning.. is any more proper sleep is needed???? 😀 😀 😀

        • August 24, 2010 6:30 am

          Why sleep by 6???? I need my yummy dinner and late-night snack also!!! 😛 😛 :mrgreen:

  6. August 24, 2010 7:39 am

    Ahhh, lucky you ! Because of a few deaths in both families, there was no onam this time for us, and so no pookkalams and sadya ! But I ended up losing a lot of money for buying ‘ona kodi’ because of the stupid concept called ‘first onam’ ! adinu maathram oru kuravum illa !! Hmmpphhh !!!
    OG: enjoy madi!! hahaha
    Glad you enjoyed it there in MANCA ! (nice name :D)
    OG: I did 😛
    and species like SK do exist. I have a few ‘jaada’ friends who eats dosa with spoon and fork when they go to some hi-fi hotels !! I pity those fools ! 😀
    OG: satyam aliya, jaada thendis!!!!!!!! a Salim K would have said it 😛

  7. August 24, 2010 8:34 am

    LOL! Wish u a very happy Onam (belated). Your encounters with your roomies are exactly like Three men in a boat. Have I mentioned that earlier??
    OG: Thanks and u have mentioned it so many times before!!!!!! so many times!

  8. August 24, 2010 12:05 pm

    No Onam sadya for me… and more than anything I miss the rice 😦
    Sambar does not taste the same with great basmati rice!
    OG: haha 😛 basmati rice???? kollam!

  9. August 24, 2010 1:34 pm

    Happy Onam OG !!! 🙂
    OG: same to u!
    Thank God, you got to eat some Onam Sadya this year…its damn good na…even I’ve had it. 🙂 Of course, we too make aviyal at home.
    OG: great!!!!!!!!!!!
    And eating on the banana leaf is an art, which needs a lot of practise and refining the techniques…ask me, the expert – to drink payasam from the leaf, the expert way to eat rasam rice and how to mix and match the dishes. Oh, I love those meals….
    OG: hahaha 😛 Kalayana saapadu is still one of my favs 😛 go there for the first pandhi and the last as well 😉
    Get married OG…you might get Onam Sadya next year, atleast. 🙂
    OG: ya ya!
    You and your frnd Mr.SK – ROFL attempt with spoon !!! 😆

  10. August 25, 2010 6:05 pm

    #%^%^#^$ You could have put an announcement of this sadya, the time and place way before no? I have not had one since 6 or 8 years 😥 Next year if the husband is a little saner and sticks to this job I will be there at 3 sharp to eat all the food.

    Ohh you have to deal with only one SK type…sobs! Am surrounded with two boys in my own house who looks at em in disgust when I try to use my natural god gifted spoon to eat 😥

    ROFL at the way you described SK’s episode 😛 I so wish the chechi should have told him about the Kerala tradition of coming to a sadya in lungi or mundu?? :mrgreen:

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